The groom, 31, is an investment analyst at Marble Ridge Capital, a hedge fund in New York.
He is a son of Jody Jaffe of Glasgow, Va., and Charles E. Shepard of Reno, Nev. The groom’s mother is an author who wrote the three books in the Natalie Gold horse-show mystery series (Ballantine Books). She also raises horses on her Shenandoah Valley farm, and is a mosaic artist whose work was recently displayed at the Blue Phoenix Cafe in Lexington, Va. His father is on the board of the Menasha Corporation, a family-owned corrugated- and plastic-packaging manufacturer in Neenah, Wis. The groom’s parents were reporters at The Charlotte Observer in Charlotte, N.C., and on the team awarded the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for meritorious public service for the coverage of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker’s PTL Television ministry, of which the groom’s father was the lead investigative reporter.
The groom is also a stepson of Wendy Swallow and John Muncie.
Mr. Shepard and Ms. Distler met at a Yale football tailgate in 2008, but she had no memory of ever meeting him. A few months later after being set up on a blind date for a formal, his dance prowess left an impression on Ms. Distler, who studied at the School of American Ballet as a child. At one point he threw her up in the air, and dropped her. The next day Ms. Distler, a freshman, accidentally dialed his cellphone number and unknowingly left a message telling a friend about the “super cute junior” who had danced with her all night.