Three weeks after they met, Nick, who is now 30, drove the black, 1987 muscle car he spends many hours working on from his home in the far Northeast to hers in Bridesburg. Once Katie, who is now 28, was in the passenger seat, they set off for Atlantic City. There were drinks and talking at the bar; then they hit the slots.
"It was the first and only time we hit a real jackpot," Katie said. "The old lady sitting next to us got so mad when we hit. I told Nick to keep it, and he could spend it on more dates with me."
They’ve been together nearly every day since. Katie, who always spent her free time in Center City, introduced Nick to biking on Kelly Drive. He helped her train for the Philly triathlon.
Nick, who always spent his free time in the countryside, took Katie to Tyler State Park for mountain biking, and to car shows.
How does forever sound?
On New Years Eve 2011, Nick was acting a little funny. Katie kept asking what they were doing that night and couldn’t get a straight answer. Nick was afraid if he gave her a destination, she’d offer to meet him there. So he just said he’d be by to pick her up. When Katie was still getting ready, Nick had a secret talk with her parents. When he dropped her off at the end of the night, Nick told her to be ready at 4 p.m. New Year’s Day, because he was taking her to dinner.
First there was a fireside meal at the Buck Hotel, the site of many early dates. Then Nick took Katie to the Waterworks on Kelly Drive. It was at the pavilion there, on their first dating anniversary, that Nick and Katie said their first I-love-yous.
But that night, Nick suggested they go to the gazebo, so they could see the waterfall, and the lights of Boathouse Row and the city.
Katie agreed, but couldn’t figure out why Nick was walking behind her.
"I turned around and said, ‘What’s going on?’?" Katie remembered. "Nick was on his knee."
"Will you marry me?" he asked.
"Are you serious?" asked Katie.
"I’ve got the ring right here in this box in my hand," said Nick.
"Yes!" Katie said, then burst into tears.
Nick and Katie drove to Atlantic City, back to their lucky slot machine. There was no jackpot that time, but they still felt like the luckiest people in the room.
It was so them
As a child, Katie saw the 1935 movie Top Hat and was transfixed by the glamorous Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire dancing "Cheek to Cheek." From then on, little Katie would spin around the house in a dress, with whatever feathers she could find to mimic those Rogers wore. She would tell her mom and grandma, "I want to marry a man like that. I want to dance like that."
Nick, an estimator at Faulkner Collision in Philadelphia, is a man of many charms. But he has little in common with Fred Astaire. "I dance as little as possible," he said. But for Katie, on their wedding day, he would make an exception.
Katie, a designer for Philadelphia Insurance Companies in Bala Cynwyd, designed the wedding with an "I’m in Heaven" theme. There were feathers on her dress, and feathers on her shoes. She carried a feather bouquet down the aisle for their full Catholic Mass ceremony.
Their 70 guests waved ostrich-feather favors at the couple.
And then at the reception, Katie got her wish. Nick wore a tux with tails and whisked her around the room to "Cheek to Cheek."
This was unexpected
As Katie was getting ready for the wedding, Nick’s sister knocked on the door. She had a gift from Nick — a white gold diamond necklace and matching Bulova watch. She had surprised Nick with a Bulova one Christmas. Katie put hers on immediately.
Watching Katie walk toward him down the aisle, Nick was a happy man. "It’s finally here," he thought.
Katie won’t ever forget that her new husband gave her the dance she’d been dreaming of. "I was just in heaven, and in love and in awe," she said.
A bargain: Katie’s design work on the invitations, the programs, the cocktail-table decor, and the favors saved the couple thousands.
The splurge: All those feathers doubled the flower budget.
The couple, who recently purchased a home in Middletown Township, Bucks County, spent 7 days on Mexico’s Riviera Maya.
The Rev. James W. Kruc,
All Saint Parish, Philadelphia
All Saint Parish and Washington Crossing Inn, Washington Crossing
Washington Crossing Inn
Ceremony soloist: Sarah DuVall Pearson, Cherry Hill; Reception: Sean Russo, Magic Touch DJs, Quakertown
Anthony Godshalk, agodshalkphoto.com
Brian Kinky, Bensalem
Margee Miller Designs, Pennsauken
By Tony Bowls, ordered through Wedding Shoppe Inc., www.weddingshoppeinc.com
Designed by the bride