Love: Lindsay McHugh & Steve Keogh

Lindsay McHugh and Steve Keogh cut the cake at their wedding reception.
Lindsay McHugh and Steve Keogh cut the cake at their wedding reception. (CHUCK ANERINO for Hoffer Photography)

June 2, 2013, in Radnor

Posted: August 08, 2013

Hello there

Lindsay glumly boarded a plane that would take her from Melbourne, Australia, back to Philadelphia in February 2010.

After graduating from Temple University, she spent a year doing contract work in communications to fund her adventure down under. But with no company offering full-time work and her visa about to expire, she had to leave.

To extend her experience just a little longer, Lindsay, who is now 26, walked the airplane aisle, looking for Aussies to talk to.

She joined a group standing in the exit row, debating whether skiing was better in Colorado or Japan. When the crew announced it was time to sit, Lindsay noticed that one man had a whole row to himself.

"Mind if I join you?" she asked.

Steve, now 33, grew up in Australia's capital, Canberra. Home for a family wedding, he was returning to Miami and his job as a golf coach.

While Steve had planned to sprawl across his three seats and sleep, he was happy to trade that for a drink and conversation with this beautiful woman.

They spoke of travels, the Melbourne Cup horse race, work, and wine and cheese.

The plane landed in Los Angeles, where both had connecting flights to Chicago before continuing on to Miami and Philadelphia.

They shared a meal at the airport, which Steve says counts as their first date since "I carried most of her luggage."

They exchanged contact information on napkins.

Lindsay found Steve handsome and charming. But she had zero expectations.

Steve had expectations. "I knew once I left for Chicago that I was going to call her the next day," he said.

Lindsay was at her mother's house in Laverock when Steve called. They Skyped for three weeks, then Steve invited her to Miami, where they hung out with his friends in Coconut Grove and had breakfast by the ocean on South Beach.

"I figured if it doesn't work out, at least it's a good story," Lindsay said. But she needn't have worried. "The chemistry was electric."

Three months later, Steve came to Philly. Lindsay introduced him to her friends and family. They said their first "I love yous," and Lindsay considered looking for work in Florida.

Turned out Steve couldn't extend his visa, and had to return to Australia that fall.

"When he asked me if I'd come with him, I said, 'Hell, yes!' "

In October 2010, the couple reunited at the Sydney airport.

Before Lindsay's second visa expired, she landed a public relations job at Porter Novelli. Steve now coaches golf at Monash Country Club in Sydney, where the couple lives.

How does forever sound?

Two of Lindsay's friends from home visited in mid-August 2012. Since one is a chef and one a restaurant manager, the group visited McLaren Vale, a region known for its shiraz.

After lunch and a tour at one vineyard, Lindsay's friends headed back across the road to their cottage to get more money and drop off purchases.

Once they were alone, Steve walked down a row of grapes, motioning for Lindsay to follow. But Lindsay had made friends with some lambs and alpacas who lived there, and was happily cooing at them. Steve gave up competing with the critters, and walked up behind her. When she turned around, he was on one knee.

They walked to the next vineyard where their friends - who knew nothing of the proposal - had fortuitously asked to try the sparkling wine.

It was so them

The couple were married before 20 people in the garden at Pomme.

At their reception for 85, they introduced Philadelphians to Australian culture, and vice-versa, through food. The Philly table featured pretzels and cheesesteaks, the Australian, fish and chips. All the wine was Australian, all the beer, Philadelphian.

The couple had considered getting married in Hawaii, a midpoint between their homelands. Instead, they brought a little Hawaii here with a ukulele player, who performed "Over the Rainbow" when Lindsay walked down the aisle.

Steve and Lindsay are in love with two countries. They plan to seek dual citizenship, and live here and there throughout their lives.

This was unexpected

The band took a break, and the couple sat at their sweetheart table to eat. "All of a sudden, 15 guys walk onto the dance floor in suits, and we don't recognize any of them," Lindsay said. She looked at Steve. "What's going on?" He didn't know, either. Then, Lindsay recognized her brother, Josh. The recent Temple grad brought his entire a cappella group, Broad Street Line, to serenade the couple with their version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."

Awestruck

Lindsay was happy and excited, waiting with her maid of honor to walk down the aisle. She heard the first strains of the music "and I just started crying, I was so happy," she said. "I didn't even see him yet, but that moment was when I knew this was going to be the best day of my life."

Lindsay stepped around the corner and into Steve's view. "That's when it hit me," he said. "Just joy."

Discretionary spending

A bargain: The couple bought a custom-made invitation design file on Etsy for $45 and had them printed in Philadelphia.

The splurge: The couple fell in love with ukulele music while traveling in Hawaii. "We didn't care what it cost," Lindsay said. "We were going to have that no matter what," Steve agreed.

The getaway

A week in Anguilla, a week in St. Kitts.

BEHIND THE SCENES

Officiant

Rabbi Vivian Schirn, retired

rabbi from Or Hadash,

Fort Washington

Venue

Pomme, Radnor

Food

Peachtree & Ward, Philadelphia

Music

Ceremony and cocktail hour: ukulele and acoustic guitar by Hal Aaron, www.halaaron.com; reception: The Heath Allen Band, www.heathallen.com

Photography

Chuck Anerino

for Hoffer Photography, www.hofferphotography.com/anerino

Flowers

Jennie Love, Love 'n Fresh Flowers, Philadelphia

Dress

Designed by Elizabeth de Varga and purchased in Sydney

Event design

Lauren Weintraub, Colleen Musika, and Denise Raus from Belovely, Ambler

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