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High School Sweethearts Together for Good


Kendall Anne Michaelis and Michael Joseph Harrell started out as high school sweethearts. They met and began dating in 2005 when he was a junior and she was a sophomore at Wheeler High School in Marietta, Ga. And like many high school sweethearts, Ms. Michaelis, 31, and Mr. Harrell, 32, were off again on again through college. Afterward, she headed for New York City, and he went the University of Georgia School of Law.

They spent a couple of years apart finding themselves. “We are fortunate to have had time to focus on who we are as individuals,” Ms. Michaelis said.

During that off-period, in their early 20s, they ran into each other at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in 2016. “Details are now blurry but we slowly started a long-distance relationship,” Ms. Michaelis said. “I was in Manhattan. He was in Florida.” Soon they were back together. This time for good.

“I have always wanted to be with Kendall more than anyone else in the world,” Mr. Harrell said. Ms. Michaelis said she, too, has always known.

In the summer of 2017, Mr. Harrell passed the bar exam in New York and Ms. Michaelis left Manhattan’s Lower East Side where she had been living to move to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, with Mr. Harrell. “That started what would be the first chapter in the rest of our adult relationship,” Ms. Michaelis said.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in consumer science from the University of Georgia and is an account executive at Square, a digital payments and financial technology company based in San Francisco. He has two bachelor’s degrees, in economics and in political science from Florida State University, and a law degree from the University of Georgia Law School. He is an associate counsel at BlockFi, a cryptocurrency services firm based in Jersey City, N.J.

Both were born and raised in Marietta, Ga. “We grew up in neighborhoods about a mile from each other,” Ms. Michaelis said. “Our parents both still live in the homes we grew up in.”

The couple now split their time between their warehouse loft apartment in Williamsburg and a home in Kerhonkson, N.Y. “Like many New Yorkers, we started looking for property outside the city,” Ms. Michaelis said. “It was a dream of ours to own a home together with land and space to decorate.”

Mr. Harrell proposed to Ms. Michaelis at the Watertower Bar at the Williamsburg Hotel on Sept. 12, 2019. After celebrating with drinks, they went to the Modern for dinner on the ground floor of the Museum of Modern Art.

“I was completely surprised,” she said. “A group of lovely hotel guests that spoke absolutely no English surprised us with champagne and ended up filming and taking pictures, which was the perfect way to have it recorded but still have an intimate moment,” Ms. Michaelis said.

Their original wedding date, Oct. 24, 2020, had to be postponed because of the pandemic. But, Ms. Michaelis said, “We were pumped for the new date: July 3, 2021. Fourth of July is Mikey’s favorite holiday. We always spend it with his family — fireworks, cocktails, everyone lets loose and is in a good mood. What’s not to love?”

The couple were married in the ballroom of the Williamsburg Hotel with 206 guests from all across the country. The groom’s father Bruce Harrell, who was ordained by the Universal Life Church for the occasion, officiated.

The reception was also held in the ballroom with an after-party in the hotel’s Library Room. Vivek Nandur, a longtime friend of the groom, was the D.J. The day after the wedding, the couple were joined by family and friends for a cruise down the East River aboard the Cornucopia Cruise Line yacht Princess, to watch the fireworks.

“Everything went so perfectly,” Ms. Michaelis said. “No one can prepare you for how great it is to have everyone you love in the same room.”


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