RIT and Friday the 13th play a huge role in the love story of Eric Ignatowski ’08 (new media interactive development) and Colleen Fitzgerald ’08 (fine arts studio).
Let’s start with RIT. They first met in person outside a residence hall. Eric proposed to Colleen on campus. Their wedding took place inside Ritter Arena.
Colleen, who grew up in the Rochester suburb of Greece, first met Eric, who is originally from Red Hook, N.Y., in a chat room in 2005. They talked online for months before Eric convinced Colleen, who had recently transferred to RIT, to step outside her residence hall and meet him in person.
“We clicked pretty well as friends,” Colleen said about their talk that night on a bench near The Commons.
The two bonded over Friday the 13th horror movies, watching all 11 out at the time together. But they never dated while they were students.
Colleen dated another student her entire time as an undergraduate. It wasn’t until 2008 that Eric swooped in—on Dec. 13, to be exact. “I was patient,” Eric said with a smile.
Nearly four years later on Friday, July 13, 2012, Eric proposed by sending Colleen on a scavenger hunt with 13 clues. The clues took her on a journey backward through their relationship, ending at the campus bench where they first talked in person.
When it came time to plan the wedding, Eric, who works at Paychex as a quality assurance specialist, and Colleen, an art therapist, were looking for a venue other than a church. Because it was winter, they needed a place where they could have both the wedding and reception inside.
Colleen’s mom suggested Ritter Arena for the ceremony because Eric is a huge hockey fan. (When he was selecting a college, he made sure to pick one where he could both watch hockey and play recreationally.)
They were married on Friday, Dec. 13, 2013, exactly five years after they met in person.
They had 45 minutes between hockey events for the ceremony, which was performed on red carpet runners on the ice. Their guests sat in the bleachers and ceremony participants were on the bench.
At the end when they kissed, the goal horn blew and guests surprised them by showering them with stuffed octopi, following a tradition of the Detroit Red Wings—Eric’s favorite team.
“Quite a few people asked, ‘Why are you getting married at a hockey rink,’” Eric said. “My favorite response was, ‘Well, I’m not very religious so a hockey rink is where I do most of my praying.’ That seems to satisfy them.”
Their guest book was a Friday the 13th poster and they cut their cake with a machete in honor of Friday the 13th character Jason. “We did a lot of things differently,” Colleen said. “It was a lot of fun.”