At the time, Jared was playing the field. But he kept her note. "It was nice knowing that somebody admired me that much," he said.
About a month later, Jared saw Liz online, and asked if she'd like to talk. After several months of electronic communication, they began meeting at a park near Liz's house. The third meeting included a kiss.
Jared told Liz he would try to hit a home run for her birthday. They went to the mall, and even though Stephen was also there, it felt like a date.
But the next time they spoke online, Jared told Liz she "wasn't girlfriend material."
"I was devastated," Liz said.
Jared did have feelings for Liz. But the great conversations they had online turned to awkward stammering in person. And he felt peer pressure to date another athlete.
After high school, Jared studied business management and played baseball at the University of Rhode Island. He launched a minor-league baseball career, playing on teams in the United States and in Canada.
Liz majored in professional writing at Kutztown University, then took a job at a now-defunct Hatboro nonprofit.
Liz and Jared would sometimes run into each other online, or in person during the off-season. Liz was in a serious relationship. Jared would sometimes say if she were ever single, they could go out.
In late 2005, Liz had just moved in with her boyfriend, whom she had dated off and on for several years. One night at the Limerick bowling alley, where her league played, she unexpectedly spotted Jared bowling for another team. Liz was stunned (and a little mad at herself) when she realized she still found him so attractive.
By summer of 2006, Liz's relationship with her boyfriend was going downhill. Meanwhile, Jared, who she continued to see at the bowling alley and online, was popping up in her dreams.
That winter, as Liz was preparing to move out, her boyfriend proposed. "When he asked me to marry him, I saw Jared's screen name in my head," Liz said. She declined the proposal.
The next day, she asked Jared to go out with her and a friend. They began hanging out, always in a group. In January 2007, Liz got her own apartment in Northeast Philadelphia. A month later, she and Jared had dinner, alone.
Liz knew Jared would return to his baseball team come summer, but figured they could have fun until them. She wasn't ready for anything serious, anyway.
This time, it was Jared who fell hard. "It surprised me how quickly I developed feelings for her," he said. "It took until a week before I left for baseball to convince her to be in a relationship with me."
The new couple saw each other twice during the baseball season. Meanwhile, Liz learned to use a hammer, and adopted a cat named Madison. Jared ended his professional baseball career that fall. He did production work at a steel company by day, and worked at a baseball academy at night. Jared slowly but surely moved in with Liz. They adopted a second cat-a stray they named Carlton.
How does forever sound?
The couple enjoyed surprising each other with "good boyfriend" and "good girlfriend" gifts. That's what Liz, now 30, thought she was getting one Tuesday evening when Jared, now 29, handed her a day planner tied with a big purple bow. On that day's date - 11/10/09 - Jared wrote, "On this day, Jared asked and Liz said . . ."
She looked up to find Jared on one knee. Liz began giggling. "I asked her to marry me, and before she said yes, she said, 'Oh wow! And grabbed the ring out of the box."
"I was all flustered!" Liz explained.
She couldn't have his ring until he had her answer, Jared said.
"Yes!" she said.
It was so them
The couple who got engaged on 11/10/09 married on 9/10/11. Liz used Partyspace, a website for Philadelphia-area wedding and event planning, to organize her plans. Impressed by her personal blog, the Partyspace folks asked Liz to blog for them about her wedding preparations; the archives are at blog.partyspace.com/author/elizjade.
In October 2010, the couple moved to Bloomfield, N.J. Liz is now a grant writer at Educational Alliance in New York City. Jared is a personal trainer and a softball and baseball skills coach.
The couple was married at Glenn Foerd on the Delaware by Methodist Pastor Dave Lewis - the father of one of their high school friends. The historic waterfront grounds and mansion provided the setting Liz craved, while the modern conservatory appealed to Jared's aesthetic.
This didn't happen at the rehearsal
The couple swore they would not smush any cake on each other's faces, but Liz just couldn't resist. Trying to avoid Jared's response, Liz turned her head, and wound up with cake on her face and in her hair.
Walking down the aisle toward Jared, "I felt like I was in a bubble; everyone was staring at me, and I couldn't touch the ground," Liz said.
Before the ceremony started, Jared felt the same nervous rush of adrenaline he did on days he had to pitch. "Once I got on the mound and started throwing, I was fine. And when Liz walked in, I was so relaxed, and excited to get married."
A bargain: The couple's photographer allowed them to choose services a la carte instead of buying a package. They estimate they saved 50 percent.
The splurge: Springing for a band instead of a DJ.
The getaway: Five days touring the American West and a week in Kauai.
Love: BEHIND THE SCENES
Pastor David Lewis, Gilbertsville, Pa.
Glen Foerd Mansion, Philadelphia
Conroy Catering, Philadelphia
Barnyard Photography, Newark, Del.
Geoff Wilson, GQS Video Productions, Philadelphia
Gypsy Wisdom, Philadelphia
Petals Lane, Philadelphia
Dress and Groom's Attire
Harleysville Bridal & Tuxedo Shoppe, Harleysville, Pa.
Christin Shafer, Design by Christin, Bethlehem, Pa.
Love: DO YOU HAVE THE DATE?
Tell us in a short e-mail – at least six weeks before your ceremony – why we should feature your love story. Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Unfortunately, we can't personally respond to all submissions. If your story is chosen, you will be contacted in the weeks before your wedding.