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Expats to Repats: The runaway wedding party

Tara and Ryan Erwin met in high school at Kenmore West. They were married in June 2002. Shortly thereafter, most of people in their 12-person wedding party moved away.

“It was like a mass exodus,” said Tara, 37, with a laugh. “We got married in our early twenties so a lot of our friends naturally needed to get out and experience life outside of Buffalo for grad school, jobs and other things. It was kind of sad.”

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For the Erwins, staying in Buffalo just felt like the right thing to do. They moved on with their lives, had children and established their careers. Tara is now a freelance writer and a marketing communications consultant, and Ryan runs his own IT company.  They live in Williamsville with their three boys, Declan, Aidan and Colin.

The good news is, six of the people who were in their wedding party and left all those years ago have found their way home again.

[Expats to Repats: Couple’s culinary vision brings them back to the ‘burg]

Frank Colangelo, Tara’s only sibling, moved to Atlantic City for a job with Best Buy. He came back to Buffalo in 2008 after transferring to a Best Buy location in Amherst. Now that he is married to a Buffalo girl and has bought a house in the Town of Tonawanda, Tara is confident her brother is here to stay.

“As the godfather of my oldest son, I think he always felt a pull back to Buffalo. I’m so glad he’s back,” she said.

Nik and Sara Satchidanand were both in the wedding party as groomsman and bridesmaid, and close friends of Tara and Ryan’s since high school. Tara said Nik moved to Washington and Sara went Pittsburgh to attend grad school after the wedding. In the end, Nik ended up transferring to Pittsburgh and he and Sara got married, and had a baby.

“They moved back in 2009 and lived in an apartment in North Buffalo for a couple years. They bought their first home together two years ago in the Town of Tonawanda. Nik works for UB now and Sara is a stay- a- home mom.”


Name: Tara and Ryan Erwin
Ages: 37
Current location: Williamsville
Loves most about Buffalo: Four seasons, short commutes, two degrees of separation
Dislikes most about Buffalo: Politics and bureaucracy that hinder the city's progress


Tara had known bridesmaid Michele Oakes since they were both 16. Michele moved to Virginia for a relationship after the wedding. “It didn't work out,” Tara said, “but she met her future husband there and started a family. Eventually, Michele became homesick. They moved back in 2012, got married and had another child. They now live in Tonawanda.”FullSizeRender (1)

Best man Mike Schultz, Ryan’s oldest friend,  left Buffalo to attend grad school in New York City, and ended up getting a job with the Red Cross after graduation. “He did what we all were doing,” Tara said. “He got married and started his life.” A new job opportunity brought Mike and his family back to Buffalo in 2012. He now lives in the house where he grew up in Kenmore with his wife and two children.

Chris Kiernan, a groomsman, is another friend of Tara and Ryan’s from high school. Tara said he moved around a lot due to his job, and spent time in Columbus, Ohio, Nashville, Alabama and Florida.

“In a bizarre twist of fate in 2014, we had our house on the market and Chris said he and his wife had always admired it, and tFullSizeRender (2)hey missed Buffalo and the snow. Ryan offered Chris a job, and Chris' wife was able to secure a position as well. They moved back here in December of 2014 into our old house and they absolutely love it.”

Chris' wife was able to secure a partial-commute position with her old job in Florida. She flies back occasionally.

As hard as it was to watch their friends and family to leave after their wedding, Tara and Ryan are happy they get to experience the city in a different light now that everyone has moved back home. They all got together for Aidan’s sixth birthday party in early June and marked the occasion with a memorable photo. It’s as if the wedding party never left.

If you or anyone you know has a story to tell about moving back or to Buffalo, or about moving away, email

Lyndsey D'Arcangelo is a freelance writer and award-winning author. Visit her website at or follow her on Twitter @darcangel21

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