Amy grew up in Monmouth County, N.J., but from childhood, she was all about New York. Her bat mitzvah theme: Amy Takes Manhattan. Her first adult address: Greenwich Village. Her response whenever her two best friends from college invited her to Philadelphia: Why don’t you guys come here?
Amy acquiesced to her first Philadelphia trip to partake in the 2013 Erin Express – a St. Patrick’s Day bar crawl. She and Steve and Erica, her pals from Rutgers, were at Fado when Jason arrived. He’s been friends with the couple since elementary school in Voorhees.
“He walked up to me and bought me a drink,” Amy said.
“We hadn’t even spoken yet,” said Jason.
Their friends had already told him she was single, and she sure was attractive.
Amy’s “thank you” for the vodka club was the start of a conversation that ran all night. There was a spirited New York vs. Philly debate, but mostly they discovered a whole lot in common, including a fondness for food and sports and many mutual friends Amy knows from New Jersey and New York and Jason has from his Camp Canadensis days.
“After I got back to New York, we kept on talking every single night,” Amy said.
Jason works long hours as a plaintiff’s attorney focusing on medical malpractice at Wapner, Newman, Wigrizer, Brecher & Miller, so one of their favorite late-night phone dates was watching DVR’d episodes of Hell’s Kitchen together.
Three weeks after they met, Amy not only came back to Philadelphia, but agreed to wear a Flyers T-shirt. “Our first date was a Flyers game and Buddakan,” Jason said. “Amy is a Devils fan, but that shirt was part of the deal.”
They had a fantastic time, enjoying the game, their meal, and the Facebook comments from Amy’s Devils fan friends asking just what the bleep she was doing in Flyers orange.
They saw each other nearly every weekend, sometimes here, sometimes there.
Jason was astonished by Amy’s capacity for caring. “She was legitimately interested in every part of my life. And it’s not just me, she’s that way with all of her friends and family, too,” he said. “It was very clear, very early on, that we had a very natural connection. She was everything that I could ever want.”
“I fell in love with how he is so loyal to everyone around him,” Amy said. “And he always makes me laugh. He’s very family-oriented, and I saw a future with him.”
Six months into their relationship, Amy, a digital advertising specialist, moved back home with her parents to save money and began looking for a job in Philadelphia. Six months after that, Amy, who is now digital marketing coordinator for the Katz JCC in Cherry Hill, joined Jason at his Rittenhouse Square apartment.
Guess what else Amy fell in love with? Philadelphia. “We are both foodies, and I think this city has amazing restaurants and we love trying different places,” she said. “I also love how you can actually have a good quality of life here.”
How does forever sound?
The couple, who are now both 30, spent Valentine’s Day weekend 2015 in Washington.
Amy loves the Lincoln Memorial, and Jason had visions of President Lincoln bearing witness to one of the most significant moments in their lives. He has experienced D.C. in February – his undergraduate degree is from George Washington University – but in his mind, the birds would be chirping, the cherry blossoms in bloom, and the view across the reflecting pool to the Washington Monument would be stunning.
“It was cold and windy, and there was no water in the reflecting pool,” Jason said. “Where are the cherry blossoms?” he asked Amy. “It’s February,” she said.
They made their way around several groups of political activists, then up the memorial steps. Jason handed his phone to a stranger and asked her to take pictures. He gently turned Amy so she was facing him instead of the camera.
He had put much thought into his words, but as soon as Amy figured out where they were headed, she interrupted with, “Wait! What?” and began frantically waving her hands in surprised excitement.
“I could have told her I was going to commit a double homicide or the building was on fire,” Jason jokes. “Once she caught on to what was happening, she really didn’t hear me.”
She did hear the “Will you marry me?” part, and said yes.
It was so them
The couple held both wedding and reception at the Ballroom at the Ben. Rabbi Nathan Weiner, whom Amy met had by phone through her work with the JCC, wove their love story into a traditional Jewish ceremony. After “you look so beautiful,” the most frequent cocktail-hour comment the couple heard was, “Amazing rabbi!”
After the ceremony, the couple took 15 minutes to soak it all in, take a breath, and eat a little before joining their 270 guests. For a few songs, they stood on the upper level of the space and looked down over their dancing guests. Then it was their turn. The singer introduced the new couple, who came down the stairs and began dancing to “Like I’m Gonna Lose You,” – a song made famous by Meghan Trainer and John Legend. That melded into a monster hora.
“We danced the night away, and tried to talk to as many people as we could,” Amy said.
During “Shout!” the last song of the night, “All of our friends tossed us into the air,” Jason remembered. It was a fabulous end to an incredible day. “The love and affection we felt from family and friends, their outpouring of support, was unlike anything I’ve ever felt before,” he said.
Before the ceremony, Jason was taken to a darkened room and told to stand with his back turned to wait to see Amy for the first time. “To be honest, I thought this whole ‘first reveal’ thing was kind of hokey,” he said. But when he turned around and the lights came on and he saw Amy, Jason instantly changed his mind. “The first time I saw Amy in her green prom dresses was really a special moment,” he said. “It’s what made me feel this whole day was real.”
When Amy saw Jason’s eyes, she knew he was having the reaction she had hoped for. “One of the things I have always loved about him is the way he looks at me, and I will never forget that look he had that day, when we were both so overcome with emotion,” she said.
The budget crunch
A bargain: Having an offseason wedding shaved off some cost, but “I don’t think too much expense was spared,” Jason said. “We have very generous parents.”
The splurges: Wedding dresser Edna Parker of the Final Fluff, who tied bow ties, zipped zippers, sewed buttons, steamed out wrinkles, and generally made sure the bride, groom, and their 23-member bridal party looked good at all times. Live-event painter Katherine Gressel of Event Painting by Katherine, who captured the wedding as it happened.
Two weeks in Thailand.
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