The Party’s Just Getting Started
Where John ’13 and Blaire Safir ’12 Tinkham go, the party follows.
It’s been that way for the couple, who married last summer, since their Colgate days, when they planned a joint Delta Upsilon-volleyball event honoring community members with breast cancer. John was on the DU social committee, and Blaire led planning efforts on behalf of the volleyball team. “I watched her operate and run the whole thing, and I was just like, ‘Wow, this girl really has it going on,’” John remembers. The 2011 event was a success, raising thousands of dollars for breast cancer research, thanks in part to the couple’s teamwork. It also rekindled John and Blaire’s romance, which had been briefly put on hold months earlier: “We got back together after the event and never looked back.”
Now habitual hosts, the two fall into an easy rhythm when they’re planning parties, a knack that’s stuck with them since that fateful night at DU. More recently, John and Blaire have hosted wine tastings, a murder mystery, and their close friends’ engagement party at their Chicago condo. “We have different talents that kind of feed into [hosting],” says Blaire, who spends her days as senior product manager at Hudl, a sports technology and analytics company. She likes to be organized, prepping the food ahead of time, always sure to cook enough to satiate the guests. John, who works as an investment banker, is an audiophile in his free time, always curating a playlist for the evening and setting up his many speakers.
Even throughout the pandemic, with stricter guidelines and a dose of resourcefulness, the Tinkhams were able to keep their party planning muscle strong: “I don’t know anyone else [who] could bring back Monopoly as a mildly entertaining quarantine activity,” Blaire said about John in her vows. “I’ll try to make new things more interesting than golf and driving a stick shift,” he vowed in turn.
John and Blaire first noticed each other in the Curtis Hall elevator in the summer of 2009. They were on campus early for preseason training as members of Colgate’s football and volleyball teams. “Little did I know, I had witnessed love at first sight — apparently this is a real thing,” said Josh Hasenberg ’13 during the wedding ceremony. (Josh was also in the elevator, and he served as the couple’s wedding officiant.) John and Blaire began their relationship later that year, and throughout their time together, they’ve weathered a short breakup and made it through a stretch of long distance while working and going to school in different cities. “I knew pretty early on that he was who I wanted to be with,” Blaire says.
Practical and intensely supportive of one another, the couple waited until John wrapped up business school before tying the knot. “We were really in tune to each other’s long-term goals,” Blaire reflects. They moved to Chicago so John could earn his MBA from Northwestern, a lifelong aspiration for the Evanston, Ill., native. Blaire concentrated on developing Hudl’s volleyball product and growing other aspects of the company.
Finally the time came, and the couple held their most important party on July 10, 2021, when vaccinations were prevalent and they felt safe hosting their guests. Tapping into their party planning know-how, Blaire and John collaborated with their wedding planner to create an elegant ceremony in Colgate’s Memorial Chapel. “We were pretty hands on with the wedding planning process,” John says.
In front of their friends, family, and 16-person, wedding party, on the chapel stage, they vowed to love one another forever. The Curtis Hall elevator was a 2- minute walk away.
John and Blaire’s top party planning tip: “Ask people to bring things that you think they are going to enjoy themselves,” John says. For example, if a guest is passionate about wine, ask them to bring a bottle. If they’re a baker, ask them to bring dessert.
On Their Day
When: July 10, 2021
Where: Colgate Memorial Chapel
Reception: Peaceful Pines B&B
The Dress: Custom Ines Di Santo gown
Soundtrack: Director of Music Dianne McDowell played the organ during the ceremony. The Metropolitan Players kept the tent bumping during the reception.
Wedding Bells: The couple rang the chapel bell 13 times following the ceremony, a Colgate tradition.