After a few days of electronic conversation, Adam wrote: “Hey, I would invite you over, but I’m sick, and you’re engaged. That’s not a good mix.”
“Oh my God, I’m not engaged!” Stephanie replied. She had posted that false status to keep the “creepers” away.
“Well, then let’s go get dinner!” said Adam, who grew up in Drexel Hill.
When Stephanie said she loved steak, Adam knew just the place to take her.
In early February, he picked her up at her family home in Ridley and they went to Center City’s Capital Grille.
The bar was packed, so Stephanie couldn’t figure out how there were two places set aside for them. She didn’t know that Adam was friends with the bartender, and that arrangements had been made not only with him, but also with other friends, who would show up later to rescue Adam if he and Stephanie did not get along as well in person.
The group walked in after dessert. Adam didn’t want to be rescued. But Stephanie didn’t mind meeting his crew. Before long, they were all drinking shots of tequila.
“I felt real comfortable, like I’d known her for a while,” Adam said. “I felt like I was with one of my friends that was just extremely good-looking, and that was a good thing.”
Stephanie, who then worked for a litigation support company, was also impressed. Adam was the first guy in a very long time who picked her up at her house and took her on an actual date. He was kind, hilarious, and had a steady job as an automotive service consultant and his own house in Westbrook Park.
Soon Stephanie, now 32, and Adam, now 30, were hitting more restaurants, going to Phillies games, and chilling at home.
After a few months, Stephanie introduced Adam to someone she’d never introduced to her dates before: her son, Nathan, who is now 9.
Stephanie, who shares custody of Nathan with his father and stepmother, liked the way Adam treated her son. He was always glad to toss a ball or play video games with him. Adam was impressed with Stephanie’s care of Nathan. “You want to make sure the future mother of your children is a good one, and I knew that,” he said.
How does forever sound?
By May 2010, Stephanie, now a paralegal for a Center City law firm, knew a proposal was coming. Adam, now service adviser for EuroMotorcars in Devon, told her that DeSimone Jewelers was building a ring, and tormented her with how much she would love it.
One weekend when the couple had plans to stay in, Adam suddenly changed his mind. They should go to dinner, he said. At the Capital Grille. Stephanie suspected a proposal at the restaurant. She got a manicure.
Adam left Nathan’s baseball game early. The next time Stephanie saw him, she was sitting on the living room floor, folding laundry, wearing sweatpants.
“He walked in with a box sticking out of his sweatpants, paced four times, and then gets on the ground, kneeling in front of me,” Stephanie remembered.
Adam had planned a restaurant proposal. But he couldn’t wait.
“What are you doing?” she asked. “I have to stand up.”
Adam put the ring on her finger and smiled. “Aren’t you going to ask me to marry you?” Stephanie asked. He obliged.
Stephanie said yes, then flew out of the house into the front yard, to see her ring in the sunlight. Nathan was playing with four friends, and the kids all ran over to see the ring.
It was so them
While Stephanie was getting ready, there was a knock at the door. She had always wanted a Louis Vuitton bag, and dropped not-so-subtle hints to Adam. “Maybe when we’re married,” he would tell her. And here it was, just a few hours before.
The couple wed in a traditional Catholic ceremony. Stephanie was escorted by her father and her son.
At the reception venue, their 185 guests were greeted by Elvis and Priscilla dolls, dressed in their wedding attire, that Stephanie’s parents gave her when she was a little girl. “It’s safe to say I’m obsessed with Elvis,” she said.
During cocktail hour, Elvis himself appeared, in the form of an impersonator. “I actually danced with Elvis and sang with him,” Stephanie said. Several friends have posted their rendition of “Return to Sender” online. “I do not have the best voice, but I don’t care,” she said. “It was my wedding day and I sang with Elvis and it was fun.”
At dinner, the guests had the option of filet Oscar — which the couple had on their first date, and at every steak house since.
The groom got his own dessert: Stephanie had one of her maids of honor, a baker, craft a cake in the shape of a Rolex watch, one of Adam’s very favorite things.
The guests’ favorite toast of the evening came from Stephanie’s 91-year-old Nana, whom Stephanie describes as “the cutest little Italian woman ever.” Friends without grandmas have asked if they could borrow Nana, also known as Marie, for their own weddings.
Adam was delighted that his 90-year-old grandfather, Carlo, who doesn’t get out much these days, was also there to celebrate.
This didn’t happen at rehearsal
One guest kidnapped the Elvis and Priscilla dolls as a joke. He neglected to leave a ransom note, so the bride and groom assumed the dolls had just been stolen. They were not laughing. The dolls were recovered, but Elvis suffered a broken leg, and Priscilla lost her shoes. The guest replaced them with a new set.
Stephanie can’t talk about the limo ride to the church with her father and son without crying. It was a very happy moment — they were taking her to get married to Adam, after all. But it was also a big transitional moment. “I can remember my dad holding me when I was 3 years old. And I’m grown now, and I’m a mother, and I was getting married,” she said.
Adam will never forget putting a ring on Stephanie’s finger, and her putting one on his. “I know the value and the importance of the ring,” he said. “Once that has been done, the deal is sealed. It’s final. We’re really married.”
A bargain: The tuxedos. The cost was typical, but the service was above and beyond, the couple said. The shop owner and his wife came to Adam’s mother’s house for a fitting party: measuring and hoagies and ziti. The day after the wedding, the owner drove from Delaware to pick up the tuxes at the hotel.
The splurge: The couple, who now live in Westbrook Park, spent eight days in Punta Cana with upgrades. It was very expensive, but very worth it, the couple said.