"I'll get you a date," Matthew said.
Matthew then sought another favor - from his girlfriend's roommate, Meagan. "Do you have a date for the formal?" he texted.
"No, absolutely not. I'm done with guys," Meagan said.
Matthew was persistent - he really needed this favor. Meagan, who was working on her thesis, gave in to make him stop texting.
"I got you a date," Matthew texted Matt.
When Matt and Matthew arrived at the girls' apartment, Meagan passed through the living room on her way to change. She paused only long enough to look Matt up and down. "You'll do," she said.
"I like this girl," Matt thought.
"We're both easygoing, so there was no cold feet or nervousness," Meagan, who grew up in Brooklyn and Manalapan, N.J., said of the blind date of convenience.
They kissed on the dance floor.
Two weeks later, Matt, now 27, invited Meagan, now 25, to visit him in Philadelphia. From then on, it was drive-in movies in Easton, sightseeing in Philadelphia, and road trips to the Jersey Shore, Boston, and Cape Hatteras, N.C.
In spring 2010, Meagan graduated with her psychology degree and got a job at a Manhattan bank. Then, one of Matt's friends mentioned a job at the Navy Yard. That fall, she became a program technical coordinator, facilitating diesel engine training for the Navy, and moved to South Philadelphia.
How does forever sound?
In spring 2012, engagement was a frequent topic at Matt and Meagan's place in Queen Village. The Navy sent him to Japan for more than two weeks in April. The day he returned, Matt suggested dinner at the Moshulu. Pretty darn fancy for a random Tuesday night, Meagan thought.
She forgot her hopeful suspicions while they were engrossed in dinner conversation. Matt suggested dessert. Meagan said she was full of salmon. His sudden nervousness reminded her of her earlier hunch, and she reconsidered.
With the chocolate cake, the servers brought champagne. Matt took out the vintage-style ring he had had made, got down on one knee and, shaking, asked Meagan to marry him.
At her yes, the other diners and restaurant staff burst into applause.
It was so them
The couple were wed at the Chapel of the Four Chaplains in the Philadelphia Navy Yard. It's named for the Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish chaplains who were aboard the troop transport Dorchester when it was torpedoed in 1943 and gave up their life jackets so others would survive. "It is such a sentiment of selflessness and love," Meagan said.
The chapel was filled with the strains of "Salut d'Amore" by Edward Elgar and John Stanley's "Trumpet Voluntary."
Included in the invitations was a map of Philadelphia, hand-drawn by the bride's cousin, showing the way from the ceremony to the reception at the Please Touch Museum in Fairmount Park. The 155 guests had cocktails in the Carousel Room, where music from the Roaring Twenties played. The seating cards for dinner were styled like vintage carnival tickets.
This was unexpected
Groomsman Chris walked to the microphone as if to make a toast, but took out his guitar instead. Matt joined him with his guitar, and serenaded his new wife. "We started with a few lines of Elvis Presley's 'Fools Rush In,' then went into 'I Would Walk 500 Miles' by the Proclaimers," Matt said. "I was stunned," said Meagan. "The pictures taken of me then look like old ones of Beatles fans. Everyone was in a circle around them and singing along. It was the one moment in my entire life that was like a scene from a movie."
For Meagan, nothing tops the serenade. Matt's favorite moments were when he and Meagan had photos taken around the museum. "It was the one time of the entire day where we were just alone," he said. "It was the time we were taking the most in, and could absorb, and stop and think about what was happening without the rush of everything else."
A bargain: The couple fell in love with their photographer's work, but there was a bonus: "They were kind of a start-up," Meagan said, adding they paid about $600 less than the going rate.
The splurge: Meagan ordered a custom veil to match her dress. The company ran out of lace, so they made it smaller than ordered, Meagan said. Not only did she not get a refund, but the veil didn't look right with her gown. "I splurged and got a whole new cathedral veil," she said. The new one cost twice as much as the original, but she loved it.
Twelve days in Maui, Kauai and Oahu, Hawaii.
Behind the Scenes
The Rev. Jarrett Kerbel, rector, Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Philadelphia
The Chapel of the Four Chaplains, Philadelphia Navy Yard;
Please Touch Museum, Fairmount Park
Brulee Catering, www.brulee-catering.com
DJ Matt Bowyer, Synergetic Sound and Lighting, Bensalem
Werth Photography, Drexel Hill
Merryweather Films, www.merryweatherfilms.com
Blake Florists, Rockledge
Country Way Bridal, Haddonfield
Chick Invitations, Philadelphia
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