Finding that forever person

Courtesy of Carissa Haslam | Carissa and Tanner Swales, both Duquesne grads, tied the knot July of 2021 at Hartwood Acres Stables.

by Capri Scarcelli | a&e editor

Feb. 10, 2022

From college sweethearts to newly weds, former Duke advertising manager Carissa Haslam and husband Tanner Swales settle into adult life in one another’s loving, supportive company.  

The couple met when Haslam needed a ride to a church event her freshman year of college, when Swales was a sophomore. According to Haslam, she Facebook-messaged Swales to ask if she and her friends could tag along, to which he said yes. 

She eventually got his number through FriendO, a quiz game that helps acquaintances get to know each other more. 

After a few months of texting one another, Swales took Haslam out for brunch at DeLuca’s in the Strip District, bought her a bouquet of flowers and asked her to be his girlfriend. The rest, of course, is history. 

Haslam and Swales dated for three and a half years before getting engaged on a Friday the 13th in 2021–Haslam’s final year at Duquesne. 

According to Haslam, she was nervous about whether the relationship would last throughout her college years with long-distance, but knew in her heart that she found her person.

“I was thinking to myself: this is actually happening, I think I found the one,” Haslam said. 

The couple’s magical wedding took place on July 17, 2021, at Hartwood Acres Stables. 

The day was not free from challenges, with rain muddying the stable grounds and puddling along tent entrances. 

However, the rain was a pleasant surprise for the couple, Haslam said, making the moment all the more romantic and memorable. 

With a barefoot bride twirling in the storm and umbrellas hiding shy smiles, the day made for perfect pictures and stories to tell down the road, according to Haslam. 

Haslam said that their wedding was a “huge gift” considering Covid-19 challenges last year. They were able to have 100 close family members and friends join their celebration. 

The guests enjoyed a food truck called Burgh Bites serving an array of Pittsburgh-themed sandwiches and appetizers. 

Married life for the couple hasn’t changed much of their lives besides living together, according to Haslam. 

Haslam works in communications and media in Pittsburgh and Swales is working toward becoming a counselor. The two enjoy hosting gatherings at their apartment in Pittsburgh to see their loved ones, but also enjoy relaxing together after a long day.

“My whole college life I was dreaming of the day I would have nothing to do after 5 p.m.” Haslam said. “For us, our favorite person is the other person. It’s been super great to start this new stage of my life with someone I love, and it makes my life more fun and happy.”

Whether it be cooking, chores or learning how to cohabit with a loved one, Haslam said the two are “learning so much together” as they grow together as a couple.

“One of the best parts of getting married young is that you don’t have your whole life together yet. It’s been super fun just figuring things out together, making mistakes together and just having the support of a spouse in this very chaotic season of life. It’s good and recommended,” Haslam said. 

For those thinking about their love lives this Valentine’s season, Haslam encourages people to focus on every relationship in their life – not just their significant other. 

“I love that there is a holiday about love, it’s a good reminder to focus on all of the relationships important to you and to grow from them,” Haslam said.