Five Years After the Ride: How UVA’s Crowd-Surfing Bride and Her Groom Continue To Cherish the Memory

March 29, 2024 By Andrew Ramspacher, Andrew Ramspacher,

Smack in the middle of a wall displaying their most precious family photos, University of Virginia alumni Jenna and Dave Stolldorf have framed the moment that jumpstarted their marriage in the most uniquely Wahoo way possible. 

Up against a navy mat and fit neatly inside an orange border is a yellowed Washington Post newspaper article with the headline, “Crowd-surfing bride seizes day.”

Jenna and Dave guess it’ll be a while before their 1-year-old daughter realizes the woman in the image accompanying the article – that blonde in her wedding dress being carried by a mass of humanity outside the Boylan Heights restaurant on the Corner – is Mommy. 

“Probably seven or so years,” Dave said.

“Yeah,” Jenna added, “she doesn’t even know who Tony Bennett is yet.”

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Bennett is the UVA men’s basketball coach whose team on March 30, 2019, provided a memory that will always carry sweet meaning for Wahoo fans, and especially the Stolldorfs. 

It was on that day when the Cavaliers won a thrilling, overtime game over Purdue University to advance to the Final Four, spurring UVA students to spill out from Corner establishments to celebrate. It was also on that day when the Stolldorfs were married at Mount Ida Farm outside Charlottesville and chose to extend their reception to the University’s famed social district, with Jenna still in her white wedding dress.

The combination of monumental events led to the chaos captured by the Post, Yahoo and a number of other media outlets. 

“When we finally fell asleep that night,” Dave said, “I remember being like, ‘I really don’t think that I’ve heard the last of this. We’re going to be hearing about this for a long time.’”

In the half-decade since the Stolldorfs became forever linked to an all-time UVA victory, the couple remains the standard for all-time UVA weddings. 

They had their rehearsal dinner at the Colonnade Club in the Academical Village, took photos on the Lawn and served a Rotunda-themed cake. 

And that was all before they arrived at the Corner’s rowdy scene. 

Framed newspaper of the wedding night
The Washington Post article from their wedding night is front and center on the Stolldorfs’ display wall in their home. (Contributed photo)

Jenna, Dave and their guests knew exactly what the commotion was about as they, too, had been locked in on their alma mater’s quest for their first Final Four appearance in a quarter-century.

“At the (wedding) venue,” Jenna said, “people were watching on their cell phones, especially toward the end. The dance floor wasn’t as lively as it usually would be because everyone – including us to some degree – was like, ‘Oh, what’s happening with the game?’”

Much of the wedding crowd kept up with the game’s final moments – including Kihei Clark’s legendary pass to set up Mamadi Diakite’s buzzer-beating shot at the end of regulation – while on buses traveling toward the Corner. 

By the time they reached University Avenue, the Wahoos were officially Final Four-bound, and the party was on. Dave quickly assessed the delirium and asked his wife if she wanted to join. 

Jenna obliged without hesitation, and soon Dave was helping her rise to the top of the crowd. 

“It wasn’t really any more complicated than that,” Dave said. “Like, if you’re at a rock concert and someone starts crowd-surfing, there’s not a lot of discussion; it kind of just happens and it’s totally acceptable. That’s what this was. She just went up and everyone knew what to do.”

Jenna had so much fun crowd-surfing she did it twice that night. During one ride, she tossed her bouquet, and it was caught by UVA men’s soccer player Simeon Okoro.

“One of the biggest adrenaline rushes I’ve ever had in my life,” Jenna said. “And it was even more confirmation that I married the right person who was going to help me have a life of fun and adventure. Because as much as I loved the crowd-surfing, it was Dave’s idea to do it.”

The thrills since have come in different forms for the Stolldorfs.

Nine days after their wedding, while on their honeymoon, they counted among four people at a bar in Bali at 9 a.m. to watch Virginia complete its epic run through the NCAA Tournament with an overtime win over Texas Tech in the national title game. “I believe one guy there had bet on the other team,” Jenna said, “so it was a little awkward when UVA won. We were of course erupting with excitement, and this other guy had lost a lot of money.”

Two months after their wedding, the then-New York residents met Bennett at a UVA event in their city. “He was really nice,” Jenna said. “He was like, ‘Oh, I’ve heard a lot about this. I was wondering who that couple was with the surfing bride!’ He signed our Washington Post article: ‘Thanks for riding the wave with us.’”

Jenna and Dave Stolldorf celebrate a men’s basketball NCAA championship, left, Jenna and Dave meet Coach Tony Bennett, right

Nine days after their wedding, Jenna and Dave watched UVA’s national championship win over Texas Tech at a bar in Bali on their honeymoon. A few months later, they met Tony Bennett at an event in New York, where the coach signed their Washington Post article. (Contributed photos)

A year after their wedding, amid the pandemic, they moved from New York to Charlotte. Next came a dog – a golden retriever named Sandra – a new car and a new home. 

Four years after their wedding, they welcomed their daughter. And baby No. 2 – a boy – is expected this summer.

“A lot has happened in the world and in our lives since what happened on our wedding night,” Dave said. 

Dave, who graduated from UVA in 2007 with an economics degree, works at Pretium, a real estate private equity firm. Jenna, the former Jenna Dagenhart who lived on the Lawn as a fourth-year student and graduated in 2013 with a media studies degree, is a news anchor for Asset TV, a digital media company for investment professionals. 

Life has indeed happened for the Stolldorfs, but there’s a moment in time that will forever stay frozen in their minds – and on their wall. 

“It was the best ending to our wedding day that we could have ever hoped for,” Jenna said. 

Media Contact

Andrew Ramspacher

University News Associate University Communications