On the night of the Primetime Emmy Awards in September 2017, James Pearse Connelly was nominated for outstanding production design for his work on two shows: “Bill Nye Saves the World” and “The Voice”. He didn’t win for either. But Walter Wachter likes to say that Mr. Connelly has won something better in the end.
It was at the awards ceremony, held at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, where Mr. Connelly first met Mr. Wachter, the executive producer of the original series at Netflix. The two had a brief exchange after being contacted by Jonathan Mussman, Mr. Wachter’s boss at Netflix, who Mr. Connelly also knows.
Though their conversation was brief, Mr Wachter, dressed in white patent leather Oxford shoes and a matching white bow tie, made a lasting impression on Mr Connelly, who made a lasting impression. took his mother for a date that evening.
A few days later, Mr. Connelly sent a Facebook message to Mr. Mussman asking him about, as Mr. Connelly recalls, “the cute guy with the white bow and white shoes”. Mr. Mussman happened to be in a meeting with Mr. Wachter when the message arrived, and he showed it to him.
Mr Wachter then followed Mr Connelly on Instagram. Mr Connelly responded by sending Mr Wachter a direct message on the app. A week and a half later, they have their first date: sushi and sake in West Hollywood, Calif. They started chatting to the point where it took the server several times to get their order.
Mr Connelly said: “We went into the first date, with our hearts and minds open.
Both men grew up in New Jersey – Brother Connelly, 41, from Leonardo, and Brother Wachter, 32, from Mount Laurel – and moved to Los Angeles to work in television.
Mr. Connelly, a graduate of Rutgers University, is the eldest of two children, Brian Connelly, an architect, and Mary Ellen Connelly, an art teacher, who are divorced. A production designer, he won a Primetime Emmy Awards 2009 for his work at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards and, in 2011, founded his own production design company, JP Connelly, in Los Angeles.
In 2020, Mr. Connelly won a Daytime Emmy Award for his work on “The Kelly Clarkson Show”. He has also appeared on the HBO Max reality competition show “Craftopia,” as a guest judge in the first season and a resident judge in the second season.
Mr. Wachter, who travels with Wallie, is a graduate of Boston University and, before joining Netflix in 2016, served as an executive assistant to HBO’s vice president of production. He is the youngest of four sons of Walter Wachter, a civil engineer, and Catherine Wachter, a homemaker who passed away in April 2017.
At the time of their first date, Wachter was still reeling from the loss of his mother months earlier. Mr. Connelly recently came out of a difficult five-year relationship. Both men have dated enough in Hollywood to sense that someone cares about him because of where he works or who he knows.
That evening, when Mr. Connelly described his mother’s belief that love is giving without expecting anything in return, it resonated with Mr. Wachter.
“I knew immediately that I wanted to invest my time and energy into this,” Mr. Wachter said.
Since then, other early milestones in their relationship include a date at Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills, where they debated whether to post their first selfie together. (they did) and the day Mr. Wachter met Mr. Connelly’s French mastiff, Eleanor.
“We definitely had a certain communication magic, whether we were talking or texting,” Mr. Connelly said.
Soon Mr. Wachter began to stay at Mr. Connelly’s place more and more. By November 2017, without any real discussion, he had moved in. While they both want to have children, they have different views on marriage.
Mr. Connelly came of age at a time when same-sex marriage was not yet legal and he did not make it a priority. By the time Mr. Wachter appeared in 2008, he said, same-sex marriage seemed more likely – Massachusetts had legalized it years earlier and Connecticut did that year – and he wanted to have children within marriage framework.
Ultimately, Mr. Connelly understands Mr. Wachter’s point of view and in the coming years they will begin looking for an egg donor and a surrogate for a child, a process that is still ongoing.
As for the engagement, Mr Wachter said that while Mr Connelly “has been mulling the idea of marriage, he will not be the one to propose. He needs a push from me.”
Before the couple’s trip to Japan in late 2019, Mr. Wachter went shopping for a ring. On their third day there, as the couple were waiting for a boat to pick them up from their hotel on the Katsura River in Kyoto, Mr. Wachter fell to his knees, causing Mr. Connelly, who was preoccupied with creating sentences. story on Instagram, surprising him.
Being proposed was “a wonderful gift,” Mr. Connelly said. “I was blown away and super amazed at how emotional it was.”
Then he wanted to propose to Mr. Wachter. But epidemictook place shortly after their return from Japan, which delayed Mr. Connelly’s plans.
In July 2020, men drive to Northern California to Jenner, a small town on the Sonoma Coast. They later acquired another French bulldog, Rigby, who, along with Eleanor, joined them on the trip. (They got another one, the Honey Pie, after Eleanor died the following year.)
While Mr Wachter doubts a proposal will come, he doesn’t expect it to happen during a hike overlooking the ocean at sunset.
Lydia Smyth Garland, a friend of the two, said: “They were so in sync that they could see the entire conversation. “They’re the couple at the restaurant that people look at from afar and think, ‘Now it has to be.'”
The couple has a tradition of traveling every year to somewhere new to both of them; For their wedding, they decided to expand that tradition to include their friends and family, and chose a location in Banff Springs, Canada.
Although they started planning during the pandemic, they still optimistically chose January 2, 2021 as their wedding date. But in the coming months, it is clear that Covid will make that too difficult.
They postponed the event for almost a year, to December 19, 2021, at Fairmont Banff Springs. The day before Mr Connelly and Mr Wachter flew to Canada, they heard rumors that the country might close its borders because of the Omicron variant. Fortunately, they are still just rumors.
While the couple were preparing for the extra steps needed to travel internationally during the pandemic, they didn’t think about local regulations about legally holding a wedding in Canada until a few days. before the event, when Miss Garland, whom they had requested to do the ceremony. , mentioned it.
“We were so busy thinking about the rugs and the colors of the couches that we never thought about the legal part,” Mr. Connelly said. They move forward with their celebration and plan to legally get married in Los Angeles when they return.
Of the 120 people they invited to Banff Springs, because of the Omicron variant, only 65 vaccinated guests made it to the event. To the morning ceremony led by Miss Garland, the couple wore white coats, white shoes and no ties; for the evening reception, they changed into their midnight blue coats, made by Zegna.
“The self-imposed pressure on Mr Connelly to create an unforgettable backdrop for their celebration in Canada was enormous,” he said.
He did not disappoint.
“As soon as you walk into the room, you are transported to this winter wonderland,” said guest and friend Amanda Zucker.
The decor includes 30 evergreens and stumps from the province of Alberta, as well as sofas, pillows and custom lamps designed by Mr. Connelly upholstered and sewn in Toronto.
On January 22, they legalized their union at the Albertson Wedding Chapel in Los Angeles, with Miss Garland, ordained for the occasion by the Universal Church of Life, officially celebrating.
Before Mrs. Garland, the couple recited their own vows.
Mr Wachter said: “I dedicate my brain to visualizing with you what this life, our life, could be like and how we change ‘maybe’ to ‘may’.
“You are where I feel safe and inspired,” Mr. Connelly said. “I want to decorate our lives with rich textiles, flowers, stories and songs.”
On this day
When January 22, 2022
Where Albertson Wedding Chapel, Los Angeles, California.
Housework In addition to having Ms Garland as official, the couple also has her son, Philip Garland, 3, and daughter, Gwendolyn Garland, 2, as ring bearers.
Receptionist After their service at the chapel, Mr. Connelly and Mr. Wachter shared a celebratory dinner at République, a French-inspired restaurant in Los Angeles.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/18/style/walter-wachter-james-pearse-connelly-wedding.html Theirs is the beginning in Hollywood