The bridal party (from left) Joe Quinn, Jason Jaggers, Paolo Vizza, Donald Buehler, Sean Ounan, Colin Ounan; Lindsay Evitts, Meghan Rafferty, Grace Ounan (front), Meghan Essman, Debbie Ounan, Susan Walker, Brigid Ounan.
The bridal party (from left) Joe Quinn, Jason Jaggers, Paolo Vizza, Donald Buehler, Sean Ounan, Colin Ounan; Lindsay Evitts, Meghan Rafferty, Grace Ounan (front), Meghan Essman, Debbie Ounan, Susan Walker, Brigid Ounan. (Costello Photography)

June 20, 2014, in Philadelphia

Posted: August 14, 2014

Hello there

In November 2008, Tim tagged along with a friend meeting her friends at Philadelphia Irish Pub.

Michele was one of them.

"We were going back and forth at each other, with little sarcastic digs," Michele said.

Tim said her coat looked like his grandmother's couch. Michele said Tim's ratty wallet must have been his 10th birthday present.

"I wasn't sure what I wanted to come of it, but I knew I had a good time," she said.

A few days later, Michele asked their mutual friend for Tim's e-mail address.

"To tell you the truth, the first time I got her e-mail, I wasn't sure who it was from."

He figured it out, and a week later, asked her out.

Tim, a carpenter with Local 1856 who grew up in Oxford Circle, and Michele, an events planner for the Phillies who grew up in Castor Gardens, met for dinner and drinks at Three Monkeys.

They closed the place. "How weird it was that two people who didn't really know each other could sit and talk for five hours, and it wasn't ever awkward," she said.

"It was like a Q&A where we got to know each other," Tim said. They realized they had grown up less than a mile apart, and knew a lot of the same people.

It took time for Michele and Tim, who are now both 36, to get serious.

Tim's son from a previous relationship, Colin, was quite young back then, making both Tim and Michele more cautious. Plus, Tim prioritized time with Colin, so he wasn't always available.

On Sundays he took Colin to church, and then to breakfast.

One Sunday in February 2009, Tim invited Michele to join them.

"I was definitely very nervous," Michele said.

Tim wasn't worried. By then, "I had an overall sense of being comfortable with Michele. I knew she was responsible and trustworthy."

When love happened, it was because it felt more "natural and comfortable" to be with Michele than it had ever felt with anyone else, he said.

Michele fell for the way Tim's laid-back nature balanced out her "stressed-out, hyper" self.

They both admired how the other treated Colin.

In December 2009, Colin, who is now 11, was diagnosed with Type I diabetes. It's now not so a big deal, Tim said, but there was a lot to learn at first: What his son could eat, how to monitor his blood sugar, how to give him insulin shots.

Michele helped them through the adjustment. On days Colin was staying at Tim's place in Mayfair and Tim had to get to work early, Michele helped Colin get ready and take him to school. She was soon more often in Mayfair than at her place in Manayunk, and eventually moved in.

How does forever sound?

In August 2013, Michele and Tim were talking in their kitchen about an upcoming trip to England and Ireland. They'd long been fielding questions about when the heck they were getting married, and Michele sensed everyone was anticipating a big announcement after the big trip.

"So when do you want to get married?" Tim asked.

"June," Michele said.

They realized they'd just gotten engaged.

By the end of the week, the couple had booked the church, band and reception hall, but kept it all a secret until returning from their October trip.

"That's when Tim got very traditional on me," Michele remembers.

She assured him she needed neither ring nor formal proposal, and he never brought it up again.

She was cleaning up the kitchen one April evening when her dad, solo for the night since her mom was down the Shore, was joining them for dinner.

She told Tim he'd be there any minute.

"Go get changed," Tim told her.

"Why?" Michele asked.

"He shouldn't see you like that."

Michele turned to inform Tim that she didn't need lessons on how to dress, and found him kneeling behind her.

"I don't want him to see you like that, without this," he said, holding out a ring.

It was so them

The couple married at Our Lady of Ransom in a traditional Catholic ceremony. As the cantor sang "Ave Maria," they prayed at the statue of Mary and left flowers at her feet. This was important because it's "asking her to watch over you, and that you'll hopefully be blessed with children," Michele said.

Tim painted the panes of an old window removed from his cousin's house with chalkboard paint. Their 175 guests signed it instead of a traditional book.

Photos of Tim's mom, who died when he was 7, and the couple's late grandparents were also on display.

Bredenbeck's Bakery in Chestnut Hill designed a cake to showcase their Philly love. One layer was adorned with a silhouette of the city skyline, another with the Ben Franklin Bridge.

In lieu of favors, the couple made a donation to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and invited everyone to join them at an October fund-raising walk.


A trolley took the couple, their bridal party and families from the church to the reception in Society Hill. Tim and Michele had the bench seat at the very back all to themselves.

"Leading up to the wedding, I was super stressed out, and not the easiest person to be around. And I was worried about Tim; I knew he'd be kind of nervous," Michele said.

But on the trolley, "Tim looked at me, and he just looked so happy. He looked very content," she said. It made her feel the same way.

"How I looked was exactly how I felt," Tim said. "The stress of it was over, and we were married, and it was time to finally have fun."

Discretionary spending

A bargain: The couple knew band Chico's Vibe would ensure everyone had a great time, and the band was willing to negotiate the price.

The splurge: Michele convinced Tim they needed a videographer. Now he can't wait to see the video.

The getaway

A fall trip to Saint Martin.


Officiant: Fr. Joseph Dragon, Our Lady of Ransom, Philadelphia

Venues: Our Lady of Ransom and the Sheraton Philadelphia Society Hill, which also catered

Photography: Costello Photography, Jenkintown

Dress: Designed by La Sposa, purchased at Baranette Bridal, Willow Grove

Music: Chico's Vibe, Philadelphia

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