Rebecca Simon and Andrew Sides
May 11, 2019, in Philadelphia
It all began with tacos.
Tacos are Becca’s favorite food. She said so in her OkCupid profile, and it gave Andy a conversational in.
“What’s your favorite taco shop?” he messaged. “I just went to Buena Onda, and it was good.”
“That’s my favorite,” Becca replied, smiling at her screen.
“I thought, ‘OK, I can trust this guy, because I trust his taste in food,’ ” she remembered
The get-to-know-you messages flew for a week between Andy, a BVAccel software developer from Lebanon, Pa., who then lived in Graduate Hospital, and Becca, who grew up in Gwynedd Valley and was in her fourth year of med school at Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University. In fact, they talked so much that Becca feared they were running out of topics. Sensing a slight waning of her interest, Andy asked her to meet in person at the Center City bar Charlie Was a Sinner.
“We connected really well, with no awkward silences or weird formal discussions like I had had on many other dates,” Andy said.
That night in fall 2015, they unearthed a shared interest in intramural sports — he played soccer and she softball and kickball — and shared a laugh about participants who seem to think they were competing for the World Cup. She told him about her residency interviews all over the country. They liked the vibe so much that they hit a second bar: Dirty Franks.
Less than a week later, they had dinner at Audrey Claire and saw some comedy at Helium. Despite her travel schedule, they were serious within a month. Andy fell for Becca’s brain, smitten by her curiosity and intelligence. “She has this ability to discuss all different kinds of topics,” he said.
Becca fell for Andy’s heart. “He was someone who, I knew early on, I could be open and honest with, which meant so much during that stressful time,” Becca said. “I could tell he was a special person. And I’m a Type A personality, and he calms that side of me.”
Six months in, Becca did a rotation with the Indian Health Service on the Navajo reservation in Shiprock, N.M.
Andy flew out to visit her for Valentine’s Day. Those three big words on both their minds were left unsaid. When she returned home to her Bella Vista apartment, they climbed up to her roof deck to share some wine and gaze at the Center City skyline.
“I have something really important to tell you,” Becca began.
“No! I have to say it first,” Andy said. “I love you!”
“I love you, too,” she said.
After a year of dating, they got a place together in South Philadelphia.
Around the time of their first “I love yous,” Becca, who is now 30, told Andy, now 28, that she’d like to be married by the time she finished her residency.
In April 2018, Becca and Andy traveled to Ireland and Portugal. Becca knew that about six months prior, her sister, Alison, had given Andy an engagement ring that she, as the oldest girl, had inherited from their grandmother. Becca’s brother Nate had been to Portugal the year before and suggested an itinerary. “The Monastery of Serra do Pilar overlooks the city. It’s really romantic. ;),” he wrote.
One evening soon before departure, Becca had a bit much to drink. “Are you going to propose to me in Europe?” she cooed, hopefully. Andy made up some reasons why he would not, and she believed him.
In Porto, they went to dinner, ate too much delicious food, and then crossed a bridge and climbed a hill to the monastery overlooking the city.
Andy had brought some wine and glasses from their AirBnB — “a little wine picnic,” Becca remembered.
They sipped, then he stopped, and started saying really nice things about Becca and their relationship. “It’s like I blacked out for a minute; I don’t remember much of it.”
Becca’s adrenaline-soaked brain didn’t capture those details, either. But she remembers him kneeling and asking if she would marry him.
Then a car pulled up, ending their privacy, but not their joy. “I said yes, and we hugged and kissed, took some pictures, and drank our wine,” she said.
The couple were married about a mile from their home on the roof of the Bok Building. Their 200 guests had a fantastic view of both the couple saying their vows and the city skyline behind them.
Becca walked down the aisle to Joni Mitchell’s “Circle Game,” a song that has played at every milestone event of her life since she graduated kindergarten at Abington Friends School.
Officially speaking, she and Andy were wed with a self-uniting license so that Josh, Becca’s friend since college, could lead the ceremony. Josh spoke about who they are as individuals and as a couple. Then the two said the vows they wrote to each other, which, like them, were a mix of fairly traditional and unconventional.
“I promised to continue doing all the chores that I’ve done while she was a resident and too tired to do them — walking the dogs, doing the dishes, and other chores,” Andy said. He also promised to take the middle seat on airplanes.
Becca, who took on most of the wedding planning, vowed to continue to handle the planning portion of their lives, with a standing invitation for Andy to help when he wants to. “I also said that he could play his music on road trips — sometimes.”
The reception began when the couple made a grand re-entrance to the song their beloved Philadelphia 76ers play when they win: “Here Come the Sixers.” They danced to Drake’s “One Dance.”
The space was decorated with cacti and other succulents in a nod to the couple’s coming move to New Mexico. Becca, who completed her residency about six weeks after the wedding, has accepted a position as an Indian Health Service general practitioner for the Zuni Tribe. Andy will work remotely.
“Walking out for the ceremony and seeing everyone that I know and have ever cared about, and then watching Becca walk out, that was pretty wild,” Andy said. It wasn’t conscious thought or words that filled his mind, but overwhelming feelings of being “very lucky, and just pure happiness.”
The couple kept their vows a secret until they took them. “Just listening to him, I was like, ‘Wow! This person really knows me,’ ” Becca remembered. “The way the ceremony was set up, I could see our guests behind Andy, and it also was so wonderful to see them smiling.”
A bargain: Wedding planner Sarah French. “She did so many things I didn’t even know we needed to do,” Becca said. “She was also our day-of coordinator. It cost $2,000, and I felt honestly like we paid her too little for the work she did.”
The splurge: A lot of people who marry at Bok bring in food trucks for a casual vibe, Becca noted, but she and Andy went for a more formal, all-inclusive option: Birchtree Catering.
Ten days in Greece, including a wine tour and sunset boat cruise in Santorini.
Officiant: Josh Phillips, friend of the couple, Denver.
Venue: Bok, Philadelphia.
Food: Birchtree Catering, Philadelphia.
Music: Franklin Alison Music, Princeton.
Photography: Jessica Flynn, Philadelphia.
Flowers: Vault + Vine, Philadelphia.
Dress: Lilia by Theia, from Lovely Bride, Philadelphia.
Hair/Makeup: Daneene Jensen & Associates, Doylestown.
Groom’s attire: Indochino, fitted at the Philadelphia location.
Planner: Sarah French Events, Philadelphia.
Transportation: David Thomas Transportation, Philadelphia.