Lower Merion native Ian liked getting to know Janet, who grew up in Springfield, Delaware County. "We realized we had a lot in common, other than our love for the Phillies," he said. They share a fondness for nights out and dancing. Both spend summers down the Shore, and discovered a network of mutual friends. And both are big on family. Ian's father and brother attended some games, Janet's brother attended others, and everyone had a fantastic time.
At first, the playoff invites were just one Phillies fan sharing his good fortune with another. But during all those innings at the ballpark, or at a sports bar with friends when the games were out of town, Ian and Janet started thinking their friendship had a different kind of potential.
"One night, watching one of the away games, something clicked," Janet said. "I asked my roommate at the time, 'What do you think of Ian? Because I think I'm kind of liking him.'"
Janet's roomie told her to go for it, but Janet didn't.
The Phils made it through the playoffs to the biggest games of all.
"You know I must have liked her if I was giving her World Series tickets," he said.
The Phillies took the championship in Game 5. Somewhere in the middle of his elation, Ian realized there were no more games to go to that year, no more obvious way to spend time outside work with Janet, unless he acted.
"As we were leaving the stadium through the first-base gate, I just went in for the kiss," he said.
The fireworks were both literal and figurative.
How does forever sound?
In early October 2012, Janet had an overnight business trip in New York. Ian, who now works for a different law firm, went on a very special shopping trip, and had an important conversation with her parents.
Back in this city, Janet had to go directly to her intramural softball game. Ian told her he'd have dinner waiting at their Graduate Hospital condo. And he truly intended to. But by 4 p.m., that little purchase was burning so hot in his pocket, he changed his mind.
"I got home, muddy and in sweats, and there was no dinner," Janet remembered.
"I didn't feel like cooking," Ian told her. "Let's go to Chickie's & Pete's."
Janet said she would put on clean sweats.
"At least put on jeans," Ian suggested.
As they headed south, Janet became confused. "You missed a turn," she offered. "I'm going the back way," Ian said.
When the car stopped, they were at Citizens Bank Park's first-base gate.
"He got down on one knee, said some very nice things, and asked me to marry him," Janet said.
It was so them
The couple married at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church. Their traditional ceremony included a full Mass.
The couple's late grandmothers were there in spirit. Janet's bouquet featured a silver "J" pin that had been her grandmother Joan's and another pin that was her grandmother Peggy's that doubled as her something blue. Ian's grandmother Yolanda's rosary was woven through the flowers, and Janet carried a picture of his grandmother Mercedes in her purse.
The reception for 209 was held at the Radisson Plaza Warwick Hotel. "We both have big families, and have stayed in touch with a lot of high school, college, and law school friends," said Ian.
The Philadelphia favors table, laden with soft pretzels and cookies in the shape of the Philly Phanatic and the city skyline, was anchored by a model LOVE statue that Janet made from wine corks she saved from fine times throughout the year.
Seeing Janet for the first time when the church doors opened "put a huge smile on my face," Ian said. "It made all the stress and everything worth it just to see her there, see her walking down the aisle, and know it was time."
As soon as the couple was announced at the reception, they began dancing to the Goo Goo Dolls' "Come to Me." It's got a faster beat than a typical first dance song, and the couple cracked themselves up with some of their moves. "We were being silly, dancing and acting like ourselves, and it felt great," Janet said. "We were just alone together in that moment. Everything else disappeared."
A bargain: The bride's earrings and bracelet were a loan from the father-in-law of one of the groomsmen, who owns Paul Morelli jewelers.
The splurge: They loved Philip Gabriel Photography's work so much they doubled their original photography budget.
Advice for other couples
When wedding planning got stressful, Janet and Ian reflected on advice from their priest, who told them to remember it was really all about the two of them, and to stay focused on the reasons they wanted to be together for the rest of their lives.
Six nights in Maui and six in Kauai.