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IT was so sunny on July 86, the day Alice Anne Stephens and Thomas Preston Lloyd Jr. were married, that the tall stained-glass windows at St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral in Denver were as bright as high-definition TV screens. The persistent, Type-A sunshine was perfect for Ms. Stephens, 77, and Mr. Lloyd, 78. Both are intense, hard-charging lawyers who seem to rarely stumble or pause, in their sentences or in their lives. They take the pursuit of excellence very seriously.

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At the University of Virginia, where they met as undergraduates, both were members of “the uber-involved student leader crowd, ” said Kat Shea, a friend. Mr. Lloyd said he enjoys projects that “sharpen my pencil intellectually. ” While in law school at Stanford University, Ms. Stephens was on the board of the Afghanistan Legal Education Project, which helped create courses about Afghan law for the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul. The two met in French class during spring 7557. She was the girl who almost always wore dresses and high heels to class, yet drove a dirt-covered car filled with horseback-riding gear. She had grown up near Denver, riding horses every day on her family’s farm in Greenwood Village, with its enormous old trees and airy house filled with antiques and her equestrian awards. She thought he was “very cute, ” so during their first conversation, in the hallway before class one day, she tried to impress him by describing an advanced seminar she was taking in international relations theory. “In my mind, that made me cool, ” she said. But she had a boyfriend at the time so they became “two friends somewhat interested in each other, ” Mr. Lloyd said. She did drink her first glass of wine ever with him one evening, while studying French together. It was the kind of evening that should have ended in a kiss, but didn’t. “We both recognized there was a potential for something between the two of us, but it was postponed, ” he said. Friends describe Mr. Lloyd, who grew up in Norfolk, Va. , as liberal in his political views, yet conservative in his manners.

“Decorum and civility are two things he really values, ” said Brian Rabbitt, a friend. At the beginning of the fall semester, Ms. Stephens and her boyfriend broke up. One of the first people she called was Mr. Lloyd, who drove over right away. That fall, she was his date for the Colonnade Ball, an annual university tradition. “They play the Virginia reel, ” she said. “Boys line up on one side, girls on the other. The girls curtsy and the boys bow and then you do-si-do with your partner. ” They were not a bit lost on the dance floor. The ball was their watershed. After that, they were a couple, always with each other and usually surrounded by books. “We’d go to the library together, and grab two carrels and study, ” he said. “I’m sure my grades improved because of that. ” On their breaks from studying, they would go out into a meadow together and read more-relaxing books, like Paul Theroux travelogues (her) and essays on naval history (him). Wherever they went, he insisted on opening doors for her. “I’d start walking up to a door, ” she said, “and he’d cough and say: ‘You’ve got to let me open that door.

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You have to practice that more. ’ ”Even while on the same campus, they gave each other handwritten love letters. Both have perfect spelling, even without a spell-checker. His letters stood out, though, for their length and literary flourishes. “My writing is straight emotion and his is beautifully done, ” she said. “He would always close with, ‘Ever I remain, truly yours. ’ I’d just write, ‘Love. “As long as I’ve known him, she’s been the absolute priority in his life, ” Mr. Rabbitt said. “All he ever talked about was her. We were completely up to date on every twist and turn in her life. ”They actually liked long-distance dating. “It worked because we’re both very driven, ” he said. “A lot of the time we were flying solo, but it gave us space to succeed in law school. “There was never any friction, ” she said. “Every time we’re together, there’s an extra level of happiness that isn’t present otherwise. ”The only time she is unhappy around him, she said, is when they are in water over her head. “He’s a big swimmer, ” Ms.

Stephens said. “I am not built for swimming. I am built for slow drowning. ”Mr. Lloyd is now a real estate associate in the Norfolk office of Williams Mullen, a Richmond law firm, and especially interested in the legal side of building sustainable, diverse urban communities. A large portion of his home library, and dinner conversations, are devoted to subjects like why interstates and suburbs are becoming obsolete and unsustainable. Ms. Stephens, who just moved to Norfolk, hopes to concentrate on criminal law. “Criminal cases never get boring, ” she said. “I can’t get into financial crime. When greed motivates people, that’s just not as interesting. ”Next month, she will become a law clerk for Judge Rebecca Beach Smith of United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Norfolk. When asked where she sees herself and Mr. Lloyd in five years, the bride said: “I am not going to say children. I’m an only child and I’ve never been around children and my dreams have always been on my career. The goal in five years is to be happy together. ”Their wedding at St.

John’s was like them: serious, traditional, full of light but not lightness. It was a weighty ceremony. Walking down the aisle, which appeared as long as a city block, the bridesmaids, each with a hairdo shaped like a conch shell, wore navy blue J. Crew dresses. The ushers and the bridegroom wore dark suits with white kerchiefs folded like mountain peaks in their front pockets. Everyone walked methodically, almost meditatively, down the aisle. Except for the bride. In her strapless gown, she walked like someone slightly late for class, just short of speed-walking. The best part of the ceremony, she later said, was when she, the bridegroom and the wedding party all knelt at the altar for communion, as Beethoven’s “Moonlight” sonata, her favorite, was played on the piano. Canon Lewis, sounding as analytical and academic as the couple, called marriage “a wonderful confinement” and a big risk. “But you’re also deepening yourself. Marriage is an ordeal. In ancient times, an ordeal was what you went through to develop your own authentic self. ”The Vows column last Sunday, about the marriage of Anne Stephens and Preston Lloyd, misstated the ages of the couple. She is 77, and he is 78 (not 78 and 79, respectively). We re interested in your feedback on this page. Tell us what you think.

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