Hello there

Introduced by a dating app, Lauren and Scott met in person over Mexican food at Lolita. Dinner went so well that they stretched the night out with drinks at El Vez and Dirty Frank’s.

Scott, who grew up in Fort Mill, S.C., was then associate director of annual and special gifts at Penn Medicine and was also earning his master’s in nonprofit leadership at Penn. Lauren, a registered nurse, had moved here from Allentown, her hometown, to work at Lankenau Medical Center in Wynnewood.

That first night, they fell in like, and summer 2015 was fun. But by fall, Scott was preoccupied with a serious decision: “I had to decide if I was going to move back home,” he said. Their relationship fizzled.

Hello again

Five months pass and it’s February 2016. The Mummers are parading down Main Street in Manayunk and Scott and Lauren practically run into each other on the sidewalk.

They hugged and spent a few minutes catching up. By the time Lauren went back to dancing with her friends, Scott already knew he would contact her again. A few days later, she was celebrating her birthday with friends in the Bahamas when she got his text.

On their second first date, Scott told her he had interviewed for several jobs back home, but none felt right. What felt perfect was the job he already had and loved in a city he also loved. He was staying.

This time, “the timing was so much better,” said Scott, who is now a senior associate director of development at Penn Medicine. “She is just such a beautiful soul — very trusting, very nice, and very open,” said Scott. “Also, she gave me a second chance, as well as the time I needed to figure out what I had to do with my life. I don’t think that’s something you get from just anyone.”

“He had to decide he wanted to stay here, independent of me,” said Lauren. Once Scott made that choice, she had to give the two of them a second chance. “Even when we first started hanging out, I could see that Scott is this light in any room. He takes care of everyone to make sure everyone is having a good time,” she said. “As our relationship has grown, Scott takes care of all of the things that I don’t want to take care of, or that I will procrastinate on. He fixes the WiFi when it won’t work. And he has been my No. 1 support and caretaker, especially going through this pandemic.”

The engagement

In June 2017, the couple moved into a 300-square-foot Fairmount apartment. Shortly thereafter, Lauren locked the keys inside, and the owners of the nearby Stockyard Sandwich Co. kept them fed and beered until the locksmith came. The place has been their special go-to ever since.

In July 2019, Scott’s parents were in town to celebrate his mother’s birthday — or so Lauren thought. She was getting ready to meet them for dinner when Scott said they needed to stop at the Stockyard first because his mother wanted some iced tea to drink at her Airbnb. Lauren found this a little odd. And besides, she said, the Stockyard was closed for the day. Scott insisted they needed to go now.

Stunned when the door opened for him, Lauren followed him inside and saw a big table set with candles and champagne glasses. There was also a smaller table with a red and white checkered tablecloth — as if set for a picnic. Instead of food, he had arranged framed photos of the couple on various adventures throughout their time together.

“Then our song, ‘You and Me’ by the Dave Matthews Band, was playing, and he got down on one knee,” said Lauren.

They were soon joined by Scott’s parents, his sister, and his brother, who flew in from Germany on leave from the Army. And then came Lauren’s parents, her sister, and her brother-in-law. “We had the restaurant to ourselves, and they served us a five-course meal,” she said.

But the night wasn’t over yet; their friends and coworkers had gathered next door at Kelliann’s. “The bar was full,” said Lauren. “It was incredible.”

The nurse knows

A September 2020 wedding was planned at the Free Library of Philadelphia. Then that March, COVID-19 arrived. Lauren normally takes care of postoperative patients. “We canceled surgeries and became a complete COVID unit,” she said. Soon, she and her colleagues were putting all they had into helping an ever-growing number of patients. The most difficult time in her career had begun, and back then, so little was known about COVID.

“I would come home and take my scrubs off on the patio to try to protect him,” said Lauren.

Scott set his alarm so he could unlock the back door for her and greet her after difficult shifts.

The two agreed it would not be safe to gather people together and postponed their big event for a year. But they did not want to wait that long to be married.

Small and down the Shore: Sept. 26, 2020

“We had to get married in New Jersey because we didn’t qualify under the few reasons Philadelphia was issuing emergency licenses,” Scott said. Lauren’s sister’s husband became ordained online to officiate, and his parents lent the couple their Ocean City, N.J., home.

Scott’s parents drove 10 hours from South Carolina. The rest of the guest list: Lauren’s parents, her sister (the matron of honor), her three nieces (the flower girls), and two of Scott’s friends from his undergraduate days at Clemson University (the best men).

The couple, who are now both 31, said their vows on the beach, then everyone celebrated with champagne and cake on the porch. Lauren and Scott danced their first steps as newlyweds to James Taylor’s “How Sweet It Is” spun on a record player. The vinyl was a gift from Scott’s parents.

“It was the bright spot in a dark time,” said Lauren.

Gathering family and friends: Sept. 11, 2021

Not quite a year into their marriage, the couple repeated their vows on the rooftop terrace at the Free Library.

Scott told Lauren that she is “the most friendly, warm, and hospitable person I’ve ever met.” Then he told everyone, “I’m only at this point because Lauren gave me a second chance.”

Lauren told Scott that what got her through the worst of the pandemic was knowing “whatever was going on at work, I could come home and you would be there to give me a hug.”

A cocktail hour was held in the mezzanine of the library and then everyone returned to the rooftop for the rest of the 100-guest celebration.

“It was really important to me to have most of it outside so that we could protect our loved ones — my grandmother, who is 86, was there,” said Lauren. The majority of their guests were vaccinated and the couple asked those who were not to take a COVID test before the event.

During his speech, the bride’s father asked all nurses and health-care workers to stand and everyone applauded.

The dance floor was full when the band suddenly stopped playing. “Out of the corner of my eye I see these bright costumes, and it was the Avalon String Band! I was literally screaming and jumping up and down!”

This present from groom to bride was a surprise to her and their guests.

“Everyone from Philly was Mummers strutting on the dance floor,” said Lauren.

“Everyone not from Philadelphia had a look on their face like ‘What … is … this?!?’ ” said Scott.

What’s next?

A month after their wedding, the couple bought a home in Jenkintown. “It was built in 1905 and we have completely renovated it over the past couple of months,” said Scott. The couple couldn’t find a general contractor, so Scott orchestrated all the work and personally removed more than 70 bags of debris.

They miss living in the city, but being 10 minutes away from her parents and right down the street from her sister, brother-in-law, and the girls has been wonderful.

While omicron brought another COVID surge to Lauren’s unit, things are much better now. “We’d like to do some traveling,” said Lauren. “We are looking forward to more normalcy and to enjoying the next chapter of our lives together,” added Scott.