A few days later, Abby, owner of Abby Ryan Design and an assistant professor of graphic design at Tyler School of Art, was sitting beside Chris, a senior software consultant with Miles Technology, at Loco Pez.
Abby grew up in Abington, and after graduating from Tyler moved to New York, then L.A., before the pull of family brought her back to Pennsylvania.
Chris, who has a degree in economics from the University of Pittsburgh, grew up in Somerton. Abby knew one person from Somerton - her best friend Jen, whom she'd met roller-skating when they were 12.
"Do you know Jen Boyle?" she asked.
"You mean Kevin's big sister?" Chris asked. "Kevin's my best friend."
Both grabbed their phones in disbelief. He couldn't reach Kevin. She couldn't reach Jen. But Abby got their mother, Debbie. "Do you know Chris Guido? I'm out on a date with him!" Abby said. "He's really nice," Debbie told her.
Abby, 34, and Chris, 31, figure their age difference is what kept them from meeting when they were kids, despite all the time both spent at the Boyles'. "Jen was Kevin's mean big sister," Chris said. "If we ever did cross paths, it ended with us chasing them out of the room," said Abby.
It was fun to think that fate had been pushing them together for years, but that's not what made it work.
"She has a great sense of humor," said Chris. He also loves her drive and ambition, and the way she inspires him to try harder. With Abby's encouragement, he stopped smoking, joined CrossFit, and packed away the bobbleheads and swords that she said made his bedroom seem like a boy's.
Abby said Chris makes her so happy and can calm her down even when she's had a terrible day. She loved that he wanted an equal partner, and these qualities remind her so much of her grandfather, Bernard, one of her very favorite people. "When you meet the right person at the right time, it feels different," Abby said. "It was just easy."
How does forever sound?
There was never a doubt that Abby would one day wear her late grandmother's engagement ring.
"Mazel tov!" Bernard said the second Abby answered her cell one night in December 2012. "Chris just left."promo
"Grandpa, you're not supposed to tell me," Abby said.
As days turned to weeks with no proposal, Abby couldn't stand it anymore. "Chris, I know you got the ring," she said. But while Chris got Bernard's blessing, he left without the ring. So Abby, her sister Amy, and Chris all visited Bernard, and the ladies left the room.
In late January 2013, Abby and Chris went to New York, and took a walk at the High Line park. The guard said it was closing in 10 minutes.
Chris asked Abby to sit on a bench.
"It was very nerve-racking," Chris remembers. " . . . Ever since day one, we knew where we were going to end up. And it was the culmination of all the times going up to that moment."
He sat next to her and pulled out the ring, still in the small box and tissue paper Bernard had put it in.
"I want to spend the rest of my life with you," he told her. "Will you marry me?"
Of course she would.
"Even though we knew it was going to happen, it still felt amazing," Abby said.
It was so them
The couple, who now live in Kensington, had a secular ceremony officiated by friend Elana.
Chris walked down the aisle with his parents, Elizabeth and Charles, to "Murder in the City" by the Avett Brothers. Abby walked with her mother, Linda, and grandfather, to Ben Folds' "The Luckiest." The music was played on acoustic guitar by two of Abby's friends from Los Angeles.
In her vows, Abby said she'd always wished for a man who would treat her as well as her grandfather treated her late grandmother, and how lucky she felt to marry Chris, who is patient, respectful, humble, intelligent and driven. She vowed to take his advice when he engineers her placement of dishes in the dishwasher.
Chris spoke of his joy in having a partner who loves to cook together, and appreciates the small and big things. He promised to always try to make her smile, even when she's having a bad day.
The ceremony was held in the courtyard of the Crane Arts building. Then while the 185 guests went indoors for cocktails, four food trucks - Spot Burger, Taco Mondo, Street Food Philly, and Sweet Box - set up outside.
There was no assigned seating, but there were stools at a four-sided bar that guests could belly up to.
Walking down the aisle past their two families and friends from New York, L.A., and greater Philadelphia, then seeing Chris waiting at the end, was incredible, Abby said. "It was the most out-of-body experience I'll ever have."
Chris said that once Abby started the trip toward him, everyone and everything else disappeared.
A bargain: Abby's friend Kate assembled bouquets from hydrangeas and other flowers bought from BJ's Wholesale Club. "It was $150 for eight beautiful bouquets," she said.
The splurge: Abby designed the invitations - a wedding infographic showing guests everything they needed to know about the big day, screen-printed on an 18" by 24" poster. They were $6 apiece to ship.
Four days in the Finger Lakes.
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