Heather's first three years of teaching were spent with second and third graders in Virginia. She was in Manassas in November 2008 when the five-year high school reunion rolled around. Girlfriends Nicole and Kim pestered her into going.
In Pennsylvania, Steve hadn't thought much about the reunion until that night. He and buddy Andrew were bored, so they walked there.
The fact that Heather had a boyfriend did not stop the butterflies in her stomach when she spotted Steve. "Go talk to him," said another friend named Nicole, who knew of Heather's high-school crush.
"She was easy to talk to, as am I," Steve said. "We could have talked all night long." They talked for more than an hour, but then returned to their own friends.
There was some online contact, and then in January 2009, Heather got an out-of-the-blue phone call. Steve was in Virginia to pick up paintball equipment. Could he stop by on the way home?
"I was freaking out," said Heather, now 26. She had recently broken up with her boyfriend.
Steve, who is 27, arrived at 10 p.m. They talked for 45 minutes and shared a friendly hug goodbye.
For reasons not related to Heather, Steve and his girlfriend had a fight on the phone later that night and broke up.
Steve and Heather began talking on the phone "until our ears hurt," he said. Heather came to Pennsylvania for summer recess, and she and Steve started to hang out. By the time summer ended, she realized she didn't want to go back. This time, Steve felt exactly the same way about her.
They dated long-distance until June 2010, when Heather moved back to Pennsylvania.
On one of their early dates, Heather's mother, Lauran, fished out Heather's old diary, and read excerpts to the couple. That was when Steve found out about Heather's high-school crush, and learned that she would drive by his house and wave if his blue Jeep Wrangler was in the driveway.
How does forever sound?
In December 2010, with the blessing of Heather's mother and stepfather, Joe, Steve set a proposal plot in motion.
He dropped Heather home after the Christmas Eve midnight church service, but before leaving, Steve sneaked into her room and swiped the teddy bear he had given her the previous Christmas.
She tore the place apart looking for it. Christmas afternoon, Steve called and told her to look outside.
"There was an envelope with a picture of my bear, and a letter. A hostage letter," Heather said.
If she followed the directions, her bear would be returned.
Heather was led to many places where significant events happened in their relationship, from her mother's hot tub, where they had talked and talked that first summer, to the baseball field where they and their friends spent hours playing softball and kickball. At every step, she found a note saying she was too late, her bear was gone. She could try to find him at the next location.
The last stop was an abandoned railroad trestle in Downingtown, a place where the couple had hiked. Steve had timed the whole trip so she would arrive just before sunset.
"I got to the top of the bridge, I walked across, and my teddy bear was there," Heather said. So was a rose, Steve's computer, and a final note that told her to play the last song on a CD. It was Taylor Swift's "Today Was a Fairytale," the first song that they would dance to at their wedding.
Heather turned at the sound of her name, and saw Steve, who had emerged from his hiding spot, on one knee.
After a few minutes of celebrating, the couple drove to the home of Steve's parents, Allen and Maureen, to share the good news.
It was so them
Heather and Steve were married at Bethlehem United Methodist, the church Steve grew up in.
Heather's father, Bill, died in 1998. Heather wore his wedding band tied into her bustle.
The elementary teacher bride and her groom made teaching-the-alphabet style table cards, with each letter signifying key places in their relationship and a matching picture. A was for Aquarium, B was for Beach. X, in case you're wondering, stood for XTU, as in WXTU, the country station that sponsored the first concert they attended together.
Steve and his mother canned 175 jars of homemade applesauce for the favors, and people dug in while still at the reception.
This didn't happen at rehearsal
A hidden camera captured the train-trestle proposal. Steve showed it at the reception, and Heather cried the whole way through.
Instead of a ceremony organist, the couple, who now live in Downingtown, played a CD of their favorite music. Steve's tears began with the first notes of Lonestar's "Amazed" - he knew it was time for Heather to walk down the aisle.
The song had the same effect on Heather, who had been waiting to walk down the aisle with her mother. "It was like, 'This is really going to happen,' " she said. Heather kept her eyes focused on Steve until she was standing beside him.
A bargain: Photographer Nina Perini. The couple considered a dozen photographers. Nina was not the least expensive, Steve said, but the package she offered was the best bang for their buck.
The splurge: Holding the reception at Kings Mills. The waterfall outside and the rustic wood- and stonework inside suited the couple's outdoorsy nature.
A week in St. Lucia.
Behind the Scenes
Pastor Tim Kriebel, Bethlehem United Methodist Church, Thornton
Bethlehem UMC and Kings Mills, Aston
Nina Perini Photography, Newtown
DJ John Scibello, Ridley Park
Frank Bernard, Wilmington, Del.
Arranged by the groom's mother, Maureen
Valerie Briglia Custom Invitations and Design, facebook.com/valeriebriglia