Love: Cemantha Morris & Bill Giulian

The newlyweds with 3-year-old Andrew Giulian, Bill's godson and nephew, who was the ring bearer.
The newlyweds with 3-year-old Andrew Giulian, Bill's godson and nephew, who was the ring bearer. (Brandon Pittam Photography)

September 15, 2012, in North Hills

Posted: November 15, 2012

Hello there

Bill, a lifelong Philadelphian, and Cemantha, who grew up in Simpson, Lackawanna County, met at DeSales University in fall 2000 - when it was still Allentown College of St. Francis DeSales.

Since he studied criminal justice and she psychology, they had many classes together. Additionally, Cemantha's roommate, Tammy, had gone to senior prom with one of Bill's roommates. Sometimes, they hung out in the same group of friends, but Bill and Cemantha did not stay in touch after graduation.

There was one exception: a short conversation on New Year's Eve 2007. Cemantha had spent many summers in her teens and early 20s as a counselor at Camp Fatima, a sleepaway camp for kids with disabilities. Annie, a friend and fellow counselor, called excitedly that night. "I'm with one of your friends from college!" she said and put Bill - a friend of one of her friends - briefly on the phone.

A year and a half later, Tammy - Cemantha's DeSales roommate - was getting married.

Bridesmaid Cemantha - who by then lived in Berwyn and taught children with autism at the Timothy School - needed a date for the wedding. While on Facebook, she messaged Bill to ask whether he was invited. "I'm going," he said. "I'll see you there."

Cemantha was visiting her sister Amanda in Florida when she sent the message. When she got home, she and Bill, a Philadelphia police officer, were again on Facebook, and, on a whim, she invited him to hang out.

He drove to her apartment, and, over a glass of wine, they caught up on each other's lives since 2004.

The September wedding was one big college reunion. And it turned out a group of their college friends had settled in Media. After the wedding, the whole gang started meeting for dinner or drinks there.

Bill and Cemantha, now both 30, also got together on their own. They watched many scary movies, ate a lot of hoagies, and played tennis. They were buds.

But in October, when Cemantha was Bill's guest at a family party, her nerves suggested something more was going on.

"I was going to meet his parents and his grandparents and his aunts," she said. "I was a nervous wreck!"

Shortly after the party, Bill told her, "I want to take you on a real date."

Arriving at Cemantha's apartment before she was ready, Bill plopped on the couch he'd been sitting on for months and turned on the TV.

After that dinner at Trattoria San Nicola in Paoli, the two continued mostly in their usual ways, with the addition of kisses and hand-holding.

By Thanksgiving, Cemantha had a question for Bill: "So, what's the deal? Are we a couple, boyfriend and girlfriend?"

"Yeah," Bill said. "I think so."

How does forever sound?

In fall 2010, Cemantha became an autism support teacher at Council Rock North High School in Newtown, Bucks County.

That winter, she and Bill spent New Year's Eve in Wildwood.

Bill had been looking at houses in Mayfair, and on their drive back to Pennsylvania, he told her he had made an offer. "If I buy a house, would you move in with me?" he asked.

Cemantha had lived with a boyfriend before, and it ended badly. She assured Bill she loved him wholeheartedly, but would never again live with someone without a very big commitment.

It wasn't long after that Amanda, who had moved back north, began pushing Cemantha into jewelry stores. Yes, she was on a mission from Bill.

In early July 2011, Cemantha and Bill were at her grandmother's house in Simpson to celebrate her brother Daniel's high school graduation.

"I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off, helping my mom make food and getting people drinks," Cemantha said. Then Bill walked up. "Would you go for a walk with me?" he asked. "I could use some air."

Before Cemantha could ask Bill to wait until she finished her host duties, Amanda stepped up to do them for her.

Bill and Cemantha walked across the street toward an open area with a gazebo, and, as they got closer, Cemantha saw candles flickering.

They stepped inside, and Bill got down on one knee. "Will you make me the luckiest man alive?" he asked. "Will you marry me?"

Cemantha said yes. When they hugged, she noticed her entire family was watching from grandmother's porch.

"Did you tell anybody about this?" she asked Bill.

"Just your sister," he said. Bill had asked her to bring everyone else outside.

It was so them

Bill's infamous love of pizza-flavored Goldfish crackers has led him to keep a bag of them at his place on the couch. Their 189 guests got a little cup of fish before taking their seats for the outdoor ceremony.

Cemantha wanted to make the big entrance that most brides make, but that took some doing on an open golf course. Her father drove the golf cart they arrived in, and she held a huge golf umbrella in front of her until it was time to walk down the aisle.

Bill has four godchildren, and each had a role in the wedding. Godson and nephew Andrew, now 3, was ring bearer. Andrew was born with club feet and has had a series of operations to fix them. He started walking just before the wedding, and seeing him walk down the aisle "was awesome," Bill said.

Andrew later showed he can run - during the ceremony, he delivered a cup of Goldfish to junior bridesmaid Lauren, another of Bill's godchildren.

The wind prevented the couple from lighting their unity candle until the bridesmaids and groomsmen made a circle around them.

With the help of family and friends, the couple DIY'd everything from their scratch-off-lottery inspired save-the-dates to the golf-tee-shaped place-card holders to the hand-painted polka-dot candle holders and table centerpieces.

This was unexpected

Bill knew the florist was going to personally hand Cemantha her wedding bouquet, so he made special arrangements. There was a Pandora charm bracelet wrapped around the stems.

Awestruck

Before the ceremony, the photographers brought the couple together to see each other for the first time that day.

One of the bridesmaids' blue shawls became a blindfold for Bill. As Cemantha got close enough to see him fidget, she thought, "Oh, my God, I'm getting married."

Bill said he never felt nervous until the bridal attendants started arriving at the ceremony site. "I just had that feeling in my stomach," he said. "But then Cemantha came up with that big, goofy golf umbrella in front of her, and everything settled down," he said. "Everything began, and it went great."

Discretionary spending

A bargain: The bride's veil, purchased off the sale rack at the Cove Bridal Dress Salon in Pennsauken for $25.

The splurge: Tammy does makeup professionally and did Cemantha's for the wedding. For the only time in her life she can remember, Cemantha did not look at the price tags at Sephora. "I could have had a heart attack at the cash register," she said. But now she has $200 worth of makeup "for special occasions."

The getaway

A week in Cancun, Mexico.

BEHIND THE SCENES

Officiant

Judge Dawn A. Segal, Philadelphia Municipal Court

Venue

Lu Lu Country Club,

North Hills

Catering

Lu Lu Country Club

Photo

Brandon Pittam Photography, Warrington

Video

Bride's father and whomever he roped into manning a video camera

Music

East Coast Event Group, Philadelphia

Flowers

An Enchanted Florist at Skippack Village, Skippack

Dress

David's Bridal from the David's Bridal Collection

Makeup

Tammy Jean, Philadelphia

Invitations

Magnet Street, www.MagnetStreet.com

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