In 2007, Dave, who grew up in Chester Heights, Delaware County, was in his second year at Temple's School of Pharmacy, and Amelia in her first. He was in a fraternity, and she one of the new pledges for its sister sorority. At a pledge week event at North Bowl in Northern Liberties that October, Dave saw her across the alley.
"Man, she looks so familiar," he thought to himself. After a few drinks, he decided she was a pharmacy classmate from the previous year. When he approached her, he quickly found out he had the wrong woman. Amelia couldn't believe he didn't remember who she was, but helped him out: Mutual friend. Undergrad classes.
By the end of the night, Amelia thought Dave was a nice guy and a good conversationalist, and wondered if she'd misjudged him at undergrad orientation.
Two weeks later, Dave passed Amelia in a hallway. "She said, 'Hey, Dave!' and flashed this beautiful smile. I thought, 'Man, that girl's really cute! I wonder what her story is.' "
Back at the frat house, the boys were discussing the new sorority pledges. Dave's buds noticed how often he spoke of Amelia, and at a fund-raiser where dances are auctioned off with the new Greek sisters and brothers, his friends bid on Amelia to drive him crazy. His $20 bid won the dance - big money for how broke he was then.
Dance they did at the winter formal, but just once; Amelia had a date.
"I knew she had this boyfriend," Dave said. "I just played my part, then stepped to the side to let things take their course."
That year, Dave and Amelia had the same group of friends, and were often out together. "There was this magnetism there," he said. "We both tried to pull away from it, but by the end of the night, we'd be talking."
Amelia eventually asked Dave about their first conversation ever, when, she believes, he insulted the job she loved. Dave didn't remember the conversation well, but he swore he did not mean to be dismissive.
By then, it didn't matter. Their friendship and mutual interest grew, Amelia said. But not one to interlope, Dave began dating someone else.
By March, things fizzled with Amelia's boyfriend, and she broke up with him. In April, Dave broke up with his girlfriend. In May, he sent Amelia a text, inviting her to see Forgetting Sarah Marshall and get ice cream.
No longer having to resist talking to the guy she wanted to talk to was "really nice," Amelia said. "It felt very natural, and we had a lot of fun together." Said Dave: "It felt like it was a romance."
How does forever sound?
They finished school and launched their careers. Dave and Amelia, both now 27, each work at a Target pharmacy, he in Bridesburg, she in Royersford. In 2010, they got a place together in Center City.
In October 2011, Dave arranged a hot-air balloon ride in honor of Amelia's 25th birthday. He had a surprise planned, but it turned out the surprise was on him. As they drove into the parking lot of the launch site in Exton, Dave got a text from the balloon operator: It was too windy to launch.
"We're already up here. What should we do?" Amelia asked. Google led them to a happy hour at a local bar and grill. "We drank our fair share of martinis to drown our sorrows over not going on the hot-air balloon," Dave said. After that, neither was comfortable driving home. So they booked a room at a Holiday Inn.
"I was frantically trying to figure out what to do," Dave remembered. "I had this ring burning a hole in my pocket. And how could I hide a ring box in the hotel room?"
He decided he couldn't. It stayed in his pocket as they talked late into the night. "And then I got down on one knee, and asked her to marry me, and she said yes."
"I couldn't believe it was actually happening," Amelia said. "I started crying. And then I texted all my friends and called my sister."
A year later, they took the balloon ride and stayed at the same Holiday Inn.
It was so them
The couple, who now live in Lawndale, wed on the grounds of the Knowlton Mansion. Pastor Wendy Bellis, who was Amelia's childhood pastor at Johnson United Methodist, officiated. There were eight bridesmaids, eight groomsmen, 145 guests, and flowers everywhere - under the pergola for the ceremony, and inside the mansion for the reception.
"We had a lot of lilies, which are my favorite flower. Plus roses and orchids," Amelia said. All were in shades of coral and plum.
When INXS's "Never Tear Us Apart" started to play and the couple began their first dance, the lyrics seemed so perfect to Dave: I was standing. You were there. Two worlds collided. And they could never tear us apart. "I was thinking, 'I can't believe I am married to this girl I just decided to talk to in the bowling alley.' "
It was the last dance of the night that got to Amelia. The DJ played Journey's "Don't Stop Believing." "Everyone was surrounding us, singing at us, and I could just feel the love from everybody," she said.
A bargain: The couple aren't sure if they saved money, but they saved a whole lot of time by choosing the venue's recommended vendors. "They had all worked together before," Dave said.
The splurge: All those flowers. "I honestly had never really made a budget," Amelia said. Precious Petals "did exactly what I wanted, and I loved it."
A week at Secrets Resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
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