From Fairly Low Expectations, a Wonderful Surprise

From Fairly Low Expectations, a Wonderful Surprise

Ross Uhrich and Jessica Carter Altman, the daughter of Lynda Carter Altman, who played Wonder Woman in the 1970s, expected their first encounter to be brief. It wasn’t.

On a fall evening in 2017, Dr. Ross Martin Uhrich headed to a bar in Washington to meet a woman he had matched with on Bumble. He had low expectations. So low, in fact, that he put the ingredients for a chicken stew in his slow cooker and set a timer for two and a half hours. He planned to return home early, eat dinner, and go straight to bed — he had to be up at 4 a.m. for his surgical residency.

When he arrived at Barcelona Wine Bar, he saw Jessica Carter Altman and threw his plans out the window. “I just said I’m going to let the night take me where it’s going to take me,” Dr. Uhrich said.

Ms. Carter Altman had also expected a quick drink. She had just begun working as a litigation associate at the Washington office of the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and wanted to be well rested for her second day. But very quickly, it became clear to her that the man she was on a date with was special.

“We spent the first hour talking over water because we couldn’t stop talking long enough to look at a menu,” Ms. Carter Altman said.

Their next stop was Chicken + Whiskey, a speakeasy, and after that, they moved to the rooftop at Ms. Carter Altman’s apartment building near Logan Circle, where they shared a bottle of wine. Ms. Carter Altman, who had begun recording her first EP, “No Rules,” that year, wanted to know Dr. Uhrich’s taste in music, so she suggested he pick a song. He started playing “Bewitched” sung by Frank Sinatra, immediately earning Ms. Carter Altman’s stamp of approval, and they danced together under the nighttime sky. “I never wanted the date to end,” Ms. Carter Altman said.

Needless to say, that night, Dr. Uhrich’s stew burned. (And he called out sick from work the next day.)

Without discussing it, both Ms. Carter Altman and Dr. Uhrich decided they wouldn’t go on dates with any other people.

Soon enough, Ms. Carter Altman’s mother, Lynda Carter Altman, the actress best known for starring in the “Wonder Woman” TV series and film of the ’70s, got a call from her daughter. “She said, ‘Mom, I think I met someone that you and dad would actually like,’” she said.

Lynda Carter Altman, the actress who played “Wonder Woman” in the 1970s, received a call from her daughter shortly after the couple started dating. “Mom, I think I met someone you and dad would actually like,” she said.Jose Villa

She was right. From the get-go, Ms. Carter appreciated Dr. Uhrich’s sense of humor and how comfortably he responded to her teasing. She was also impressed by his accomplishments. “He’s a Renaissance man, and I’ve never seen anyone work harder,” she said.

Dr. Uhrich, 35, who grew up in Princeton, N.J, was a member of the crew team and a sketch comedy group while pursuing a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering at Yale . After joining the Navy in 2010, he received a doctoral degree in dental medicine from the University of Pennsylvania. In 2018, he completed an oral and maxillofacial residency at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. He went on to work as an attending oral and maxillofacial surgeon there from 2020 to 2022, and as a surgery consultant for Congress.

In 2022, Dr. Uhrich left the military as a lieutenant commander. The same year, he received an M.B.A. from the University of Virginia Darden School of Business.

He recently changed careers and is now a program manager for the Health Science Futures office at the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health, starting his role this past February.

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Ms. Carter Altman, 32, grew up in Potomac, Md., and has a bachelor’s degree in psychology, as well as a law degree from the University of Michigan. After working as a litigation associate at Gibson Dunn for several years, she quit in April 2020 to pursue a career in music full time. Her latest EP, “For You,” came out last fall, and her first independent alternative pop and pop rock album is due in fall 2023.

The couple, who matched on the dating app Bumble in 2017, both anticipated a brief first date. But the pair stayed out so late that Mr. Uhrich had to call out from work the next day.Jose Villa

Dr. Uhrich’s support of her during her career transition was hugely important for Ms. Carter Altman. “I’ve always been a believer that your partner should find every reason you can do something and not every reason you can’t,” she said.

Dr. Uhrich said he was “quite literally her biggest fan, and I’ll go wherever to watch her do her thing.”

About nine months after meeting Ms. Carter Altman, Dr. Uhrich moved to Norfolk, Va., to work for one year as the attending oral and maxillofacial surgeon aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Gerald R. Ford. During that year, he was also studying for the board certification exam.

“Every other week, we traveled to see one person or the other,” Dr. Uhrich said. “I would study en route or on the weekend. There were a thousand reasons we could have said this is too difficult. You just make the choice. I had an intuitive gut feeling of, I love her.”

When the pandemic began, Dr. Uhrich and Ms. Carter Altman were living separately, so they were unable to see each other as much as they wanted while Dr. Uhrich continued treating patients. In June 2020, they decided to move in together in Washington. Today, they split their time between Washington, New York and Nashville, where Ms. Carter Altman’s producer is based.

The couple chose the wedding venue as a nod to the bride’s father, Robert Altman, who died in February 2021. Mr. Altman asked Ms. Carter Altman some years ago, during a trip to Lake Como, whether she ever wanted to get married there or somewhere nearby. “We’ve clung to that idea ever since,” she said.Jose Villa

Over the course of their relationship, Ms. Carter Altman and Dr. Uhrich became close with each other’s families. When Ms. Carter Altman’s father, Robert Altman, died in February 2021 from complications of a medical procedure, Dr. Uhrich became an important support system for the family.

“He was there, holding us up, taking off work to help us manage those first few days,” Lynda Carter Altman said. “His strength of character was remarkable. I don’t know what we would have done without him during that time.”

Carolyn Uhrich, Dr. Uhrich’s mother, said that the challenges her son and Ms. Carter Altman have gone through together as a couple have built a deep, solid foundation for their future. “They have been through more as a young couple the past five years than most married people in their first five years of marriage,” she said. “It has strengthened their relationship, and it has made them learn in a real world way how to lean on each other.”

In June 2022, Ms. Carter Altman and Dr. Uhrich went on a four-week vacation in Europe, traveling through London, Venice, Mallorca, Spain, and other places.

One evening, in Montalcino, Italy, as Ms. Carter Altman was getting ready for dinner, she suggested that instead of going to a restaurant, they order in. “He was like, no, no, no, we should really go downstairs,” she said.

With an engagement ring in his pocket, Dr. Uhrich led the way to Castello del Drago to watch the sunset. It was hot and humid, and bugs were flying through the air. When Ms. Carter Altman brushed a fern, she thought it was a huge insect and screamed. One of her rings flew off her finger. By the time they reached the top of the castle, she assumed that if Dr. Uhrich had planned a secret proposal, he had already abandoned the idea.

“We’re holding each other, overlooking the Tuscan hillside as the sun is going down,” she said. “He’s giving me what I now know was the proposal speech.” But in the moment, she said she thought he was simply expressing his feelings.

170 guests joined the couple for the wedding celebration.Jose Villa

Finally, Dr. Uhrich stepped back and descended on one knee, and the meaning of the moment became clear to Ms. Carter Altman. She started crying, and Dr. Uhrich promptly joined her.

Afterward, they had dinner at Osteria La Canonica nearby. They didn’t tell anyone about the engagement until the next day. “We wanted to have it just be ours for a day,” Ms. Altman said.

They were legally married on May 13 at a courthouse in Annapolis, Md., by Laura S. Ripken, a Maryland appellate court judge, in front of their immediate family members. Afterward, they had dinner at Flamant, a restaurant in Annapolis. Many more guests — 170, to be specific — joined the couple for a wedding celebration on May 28 at Villa Balbiano in Ossuccio, a town on Lake Como, Italy. John Emerson, the former U.S. Ambassador to Germany and a close family friend, led the ceremony.

A friend of Ms. Carter Altman’s, Alison Miller, who designs couture veils for her company Monvieve, was Ms. Carter Altman’s bridal stylist (and created her veil). She introduced Ms. Carter Altman to the team at Jean Paul Gaultier, which designed haute couture looks for Ms. Altman: a corseted ivory A-line gown, and a silk corset with a silk charmeuse skirt. Ms. Carter also wore a Jean Paul Gaultier dress in indigo to the wedding. Dr. Uhrich wore a black Tom Ford tuxedo to the wedding and a midnight blue one to the reception.

Ms. Carter Altman walked down the aisle arm in arm with her brother, James Altman, to a string quartet arrangement of one of her songs, “Clumsy,” which she wrote about falling in love with Dr. Uhrich.

Dr. Uhrich’s mother, Carolyn Uhrich, said the challenges that her son and Ms. Carter Altman have faced helped them to form a strong foundation for their future. “They have been through more as a young couple the past five years than most married people in their first five years,” she said.Jose Villa

To honor Ms. Altman’s father, the bride had pieces of one of his shirts sewn inside of her dresses. The Jean Paul Gaultier designers used some of the leftover shirt fabric to make a pillow for Ms. Carter Altman’s and Dr. Uhrich’s wedding bands. During the cocktail hour, a jazz band played some of Mr. Altman’s favorite songs, including “So What,” by Miles Davis. “We wanted little nods to him that were thoughtful,” Ms. Carter Altman said.

Even the location of their wedding can be traced back to Mr. Altman. Several years ago, on a trip to Lake Como, Ms. Carter Altman and her father were strolling across the grounds of Villa d’Este, a hotel on the lake, and after seeing a bride on the grounds he asked her if she would ever want to get married there or somewhere nearby. When she returned to her room, Ms. Carter Altman relayed the conversation to Dr. Uhrich. “We’ve clung to that idea ever since,” Ms. Carter Altman said.

When May 28, 2023

Where Villa Balbiano, Ossuccio, Italy

La Dolce Vita Instead of serving a traditional wedding cake, the couple opted for a millefoglie, an Italian cake with flaky pastry layers and cream, from a local bakery called Pasticceria Ramperti.

Moving to the Beat A 15-piece orchestra played at the reception, and three opera singers from Milan performed between courses at dinner. “Music has always been such a big part of our relationship,” Ms. Carter Altman said.

Specialty Mixes One of the cocktails served at the wedding, “Morning Star,” came from the menu at Ms. Carter Altman’s and Dr. Uhrich’s favorite date spot in New York, Tiny’s & The Bar Upstairs. Another cocktail they served was named in honor of Dr. Uhrich’s profession: “Face Fixer.”