Introductions were made at the Chelsea and the small talk began, a bit awkwardly at first.
Bob knew that Jenna had heard her share of cheesy lines. "I was trying to approach her with something totally different," he said.
But there he was, a 21-year-old Eagles fanatic sitting in a bar next to an Eagles cheerleader who was gorgeous and funny, had a master's degree in occupational therapy, and was interested in talking to him. How was this even possible? His brain got a little overwhelmed.
"You're the most beautiful girl I've ever seen," he blurted out.
That got Bob's brain working again. "You idiot!" it told him. "She's going to think you're stupid, and like every other guy."
Jenna, then 23, had indeed heard similar sentiments many times before, and always found them eye-roll-worthy. But not this time.
Bob, who had just earned his undergraduate degree in business administration at St. Joseph's University, was a friend-of-friends, so she knew he wasn't creepy. But beyond that was "something I can't explain," she said. "It was more sincere, somehow," she said. "And I was also just as attracted to him as he was to me. I would have initiated things if he had not."
Soon, it was about more than mutual attraction.
"He made me laugh, we had the same interests. It was easy conversation," Jenna said. She liked his brain, and that he was a gentleman.
"She was smart, cool, funny," said Bob. "I expected there to be some flaw, but to me, there wasn't."
They saw each other again the next week in Ardmore, where Jenna then lived. And from then on, as much as possible.
On a trip to Jamaica about two years later, Bob, a CPA at PricewaterhouseCoopers who earned his MBA at Drexel, asked Jenna, an occupational therapist at Lankenau Hospital, if she wanted to buy a house together.
"My parents are not going to be cool with that. They are going to want us to be engaged first," she told him.
Bob asked Jenna not to worry about it.
He secretly told her parents, Peter and Deborah, of his plan to pop the question. And then asked Deborah to give Jenna a hard time about looking for a house pre-engagement, to throw Jenna off. Deborah applied the guilt; yet in fall 2012, they found the perfect home in Society Hill and put in an offer.
How does forever sound?
Bob, who is now 26, thought the wine cellar at Bistro Romano was the perfect place to ask Jenna, who is now 29, an important question. But how could he invite her there without her guessing the reason? With a little help from his mother, Kathy.
In October, Jenna, Bob and their parents met for dinner. Kathy said she had received a gift certificate to Bistro Romano, but she and Bob's father, also named Bob, didn't feel like driving to the city. "You guys go," she said.
A week later, Jenna was enjoying wine and the first course, but Bob was too nervous to do so.
Then on cue, the singer he had hired strolled in and began singing Elvis' "Can't Help Falling In Love."
"It's so nice the restaurant provides a singer for the guests!" said Jenna.
Bob asked her to dance, but after a few moments, he stopped, knelt, and asked her to marry him.
Jenna laughed and cried at the same time, and said yes.
They closed on their house in winter 2012 and moved in the day after Christmas.
It was so them
The couple wed at the Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul and held their reception for 240 at the Curtis Center - a spot they not only find beautiful, but where she took her professional exam to become an occupational therapist and where he took the CPA exam.
Jenna chose a gown by her favorite designer, at Kleinfeld in New York. Her meeting with Pnina Tornai, at which they discussed customizations such as the bows added to the shoulder and hips, was filmed by TLC's Say Yes to the Dress, and may air on a future episode.
In the middle of the reception, Jenna and her bridesmaids, most of whom also are former Eagles cheerleaders (she left the squad in 2010), grabbed pom-poms and did a surprise routine for Bob.
"It was awesome," Bob said.
Bob had a surprise for Jenna, too. He got on stage with the band, and began serenading her with Carl Carlton's "Everlasting Love."
She loved it, even though Bob is, "Not, like, a singer."
Bob puts it more bluntly: "The band was giving me looks like they got punched in the stomach."
"The doors opened for Jenna, and I don't know what the hell I was doing - crying, laughing, and trying to hold it all in," Bob said. "It was an amazing feeling."
When the priest told the newly married couple they could kiss, "Bob picked me up right at the altar and lifted me all the way in the air," Jenna said. "And then he dipped me down to the ground. I was literally floored, and just so happy."
A bargain: Jenna already had too much to do, so non-crafty Bob made the programs: booklets with see-through overlays, tied with ribbons.
The splurge: Everything else. "We picked what we liked, and we didn't let price influence it," Jenna said.
Three days in California wine country, five in Maui, five in Kauai, and three in Beverly Hills on the way home.
BEHIND THE SCENES
Officiant: Father Joseph Capella of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Lindenwold, N.J.
Venue: Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul; the Atrium of the Curtis Center, Philadelphia,
Catering: Cescaphe Event Group, Philadelphia
Photography: Tyler Boye Photography, Philadelphia
Dress: Pnina Tornai from Kleinfeld, New York
Music: Jellyroll, Philadelphia
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