Love: Teryn Phillips & Robert Thomas III

Teryn Phillips and and Robert Thomass III share a kiss. It was their second try at a 'first kiss' as husband and wife after the minister, Matthew Sweeting, pushed for a more passionate smooch. Mario Nixon Photography
Teryn Phillips and and Robert Thomass III share a kiss. It was their second try at a 'first kiss' as husband and wife after the minister, Matthew Sweeting, pushed for a more passionate smooch. Mario Nixon Photography

November 12, 2013, in Nassau, Bahamas

Posted: March 06, 2014

Hello there

Teryn spent part of summer 2005 scoping out her future Drexel classmates on Facebook.

The Burlington Township native quickly clicked through most profiles, but lingered over handsome, interesting Rob's. She even told her mom about the fellow rising freshman from Calvert County, Md. Mom's advice: "You should talk to him before all the other girls do."

Rob was similarly searching the Drexel-bound when Teryn's message appeared: "Do you want to meet in the cafeteria?"

After checking out her profile, he wrote back: "Absolutely."

Classes hadn't even started yet when they met. "We talked, talked and talked," Rob said.

Their banter was incredible, but the vibe wasn't what Teryn had hoped for. "He was really funny, but in the brother sort of a way," she said. "So I was like, cool, he'll be my best friend. And we hung out every single day afterward."

Throughout the fall and winter, they had nights out with their group of friends, or watched football together in their dorms' common rooms. They studied together. They tried to fix each other up with other people.

When Rob called Teryn while both were with their families over winter break, she again wondered about the chance for romance. But the new semester did not bring a new relationship.

Rob spent Spring Break in Philadelphia while Teryn and some girlfriends went to Daytona Beach. He realized he could not stop thinking about her.

"He was texting me nonstop," Teryn said.

Rob knew that thinking of Teryn meant he was feeling something for her.

On the April evening of Teryn's 18th birthday, she and Rob were walking toward the bar where their friends waited when he stopped short.

"Hey," he said. "Do you like like me?"

"What? No," Teryn said, fearing he was onto her secret.

"Are you sure?" Rob asked.

Teryn took a deep breath. "I guess I do," she said.

The bar was too loud for deep conversation - that happened a few days later. Then in early May, over sushi at Morimoto, Rob asked Teryn to be his girlfriend.

"He's all the things that I'm not, all the things I wish I could be," Teryn said. "He can walk into a room and make friends instantly. And nobody makes me laugh more than Rob."

Rob admires Teryn's determination. "If she sets her mind to do something, she will get it done no matter what," he said. "And she's so smart. She can have an intellectual conversation with anyone about anything, any day, any time."

How does forever sound?

After graduation, Rob, now 27, worked as an allergist for a couple of years before joining Philadelphia Teaching Fellows. Teryn, now 25, worked for Mastery Charter School and joined Teach for America in Philadelphia. They now both teach in Newark, N.J.; he sixth grade math and science at Rise Academy and she kindergarten at Thrive Academy.

On July 4, 2012, they invited family and friends to their Cherry Hill home for a barbecue and to watch the fireworks from the grounds of the nearby high school.

Everyone was sitting on blankets and oohing and awing skyward when Robert suddenly stood up, then got down on one knee. "Will you marry me?" he asked Teryn, but his voice got lost in all the noise. "What?" she asked. So he yelled, "WILL YOU MARRY ME?"

Teryn and everyone sitting around them heard that time, so many were listening when she yelled, "YES!"

It was so them

Rob and Teryn chose to marry on 11/12/13 because it sounded cool and would be easy to remember.

The ceremony was on Nassau beach, with their 27 guests surrounding them in a spiral.

To symbolize Rob, his dad and stepmom poured sand from Chesapeake Bay - where he was raised - into a vase. Teryn's dad, mom and stepdad added sand from Venice, Calif., where Teryn spent summers. Then the couple added a layer from Atlantic City, their current "home beach" and the Bahamas, where they took their vows, to symbolize their marriage.

At the reception, everyone sat together at a captain's table and feasted on tacos, sushi, and cheeseburgers.

R&B music is the soundtrack to this relationship. Near the end of the party, Rob sang Bruno Mars' "Amazing" to his new wife.


A Caribbean-version of "Here Comes the Bride" played, and Rob saw three blurry figures in the distance, the middle one in white. "She was coming into focus as she got closer, and she looked so beautiful, and her dress was beautiful, and I thought, 'This is happening,' and emotions roared up on me. It was amazing and beautiful, and I was overwhelmed."

Taking post-ceremony pictures with Rob and their parents, Teryn realized that not only did she have a new husband, they had all forged a new family together. "It felt really special and monumental for us to have all of those people there," she said.

Advice for other couples

However busy it gets, however empty the wallets, keep date night sacred. "When you're arguing about taking out the trash or how to pay the bills, it's a time to put all those things aside and remember, 'You're still my best friend,' " Teryn said.

It's "a time to slow down and appreciate what you have in your life," said Rob. "And what we have is each other."

Discretionary spending

A bargain: Rob had his white linen suit made online at, then had a local tailor trim it with silk. Total cost, including suit, vest, pants and the silk additions: $150.

The splurge: Her engagement ring and his wedding band. Rob bought a diamond, then designed a white gold ring with it in the center and yellow sapphire and yellow gold accents. Teryn wanted Rob's wedding band to be as beautiful as that ring, so she surprised him with a white gold band with five round diamonds "as thick as a Super Bowl ring."

The getaway

A week at Breezes in Nassau.


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