Ice Dancers Charlie White and Tanith Belbin Say 'I Do'
They’re used to crowds cheering their names. But when it came to their Saturday night wedding – which the couple confirmed exclusively to PEOPLE – Olympic ice dancers Charlie White and Tanith Belbin opted for a more subdued, elegant affair.
With White’s brother-in-law Todd Weishaus officiating, the pair, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, said their “I do’s” before 130 friends and family surrounded by greenery inside the enclosed glass Planterra Conservatory in West Bloomfield, not far from the suburban Detroit rink where they first met in 1998.
“She was the most beautiful girl at the rink,” says White, 27, who won the 2014 gold medal with skating partner Meryl Davis and then went on Dancing with the Stars. “I think probably every guy had a crush on her.”
Together since 2009, the couple celebrated their vows with a dinner of filet mignon and shrimp cremosi, followed by a three-tier vanilla cake layered with raspberry curd and vanilla buttercream.
Belbin, 30, wore an ivory strapless A-Line gown by Modern Trousseu, with a pink ombré skirt and sweetheart neckline. Her maid of honor was fellow retired ice dancer Lauren Fenft, with bridesmaids that included White’s three sisters and his skating partner Meryl Davis, all wearing “whatever dress they wanted in any shade of pink,” says the bride. “They are too unique to be dressed the same.”
White – joined by best man David Golden, a Chicago teacher and his best friend since first grade – wore a simple black tux by Ralph Lauren. For their rings, the pair picked a thin platinum band with pave diamonds for her, and a plain platinum band for him.
“It was not surprising when we went to go choose it that he chose that one and wasn’t interested in trying on any others,” says Belbin, a 2006 Olympic silver medalist with skating partner Benjamin Agosto, a guest at the ceremony. “He’s a traditional, classic guy.”
“Having been friends for so many years before we started dating, I had a really good idea the kind of guy Charlie was and the kind of companion he would be,” she says. “His commitment to make a difference in this world is so inspiring, and being around him just made me feel like I wanted to be the best version of myself as well. Being chosen by someone who you admire more than anyone else in this world, it’s just the luckiest feeling I can ever have.”
Retired from competitive skating after the 2010 season, Belbin – who was born in Montreal but competed for the U.S. thanks to dual citizenship – is now a skating analyst for NBC and a skating coach. She and White both just completed a Stars on Ice tour, and White continues to skate professionally and speak as an ambassador for the sport.
They got engaged during a vacation in Hawaii last year. “We were three to four hours into a pretty treacherous hike by the time we reached this beautiful waterfall,” she says. But the long climb had led to slips and scrapes, and spotting the pool of water, she says, “I had to go rinse out my wounds.”
That’s when White scampered to join her and began to kneel on the slippery rocks. “I was mostly worried for him not to fall in the water holding the ring,” she says, laughing. “I’d kind of been anticipating that he would propose soon, but I didn’t think it would be while I was covered in blood and mud.”
“It made it unique to us.”
While they’re both impeccably graceful on the ice, Belbin concedes that dancing off the ice is still something of a work in progress for the newlyweds.
“I am evidence of the fact that being a good ice dancer does not make you a good dancer,” she says.
“My main challenge whenever Charlie and I dance together is, in my [skating] partnership I had a tendency to lead, which is a big no-no with female dancers,” she says. “We have a tendency to kind of bump into each other when trying to take the lead. I have to practice letting him do that.”