Oct. 18, 2019, in Swarthmore, Pa.
Kelsey was enjoying a beer at a house party in August 2014 when a man she didn’t know, but soon wanted to, walked in. “He is the most charismatic, outgoing guy in the whole world, and he’s really cute,” she said. “He took my breath away.”
She caught enough breath to introduce herself to Dylan. After their short chat, she persuaded her friend to have another party, ASAP. “I was looking for any excuse to see him again,” she said.
Dylan didn’t know Kelsey’s role in the second party, held two weeks after the first, but it sure was an easy way to see the woman with the beautiful smile again. On the second go-round, they talked more and he flirted. “She was wearing this really weird long sweater. I took it and tried it on.”
After a couple of weeks of commenting on each other’s social media posts, Dylan texted his number to Kelsey. The couple, who are now both 25, had chocolate chip pancakes at Denny’s, which was followed by many late-night drives, evenings parked at PHL to watch the airplanes, and more 3 a.m. diner runs.
“She has this happiness about her,” said Dylan, who works in quality assurance at Southco. “She can just be herself around anybody, and she makes everybody feel good about who they are.”
Dylan is “so driven and so motivated,” said Kelsey, an assistant lacrosse coach at Springfield High who is finishing a degree in special education and early childhood education at Gwynedd Mercy University. “He is always the life of the party. And he is so caring — I love how he is with his family, especially his nieces.”
A month after they met, Kelsey began moving things from her childhood home in Swarthmore to Dylan’s family home in Woodlyn — first a jacket, then a dresser. “Over the course of six months, she moved in,” Dylan said.
In August 2017, Kelsey got her end-of-year coaching check and announced she was taking Dylan to Europe — wherever he wanted to go. Dylan chose London and Paris — and also chose to expedite some planning of his own.
Kelsey’s mother, Becky, stepfather, Dave, and sister, Kristen, gave him their blessing. Dylan also tipped off his mother and stepfather, Trace and Tom. His cousin, Alyssa, and her husband — Dylan’s best friend, Aaron — were thrilled. “And then Alyssa starts going into Girl Mode and asking me, ‘How are you going to do it? What are you going to say? Who will take pictures? Are you going to give her flowers?’ ” Dylan said. “I had no idea!”
A week before Dylan and Kelsey were to depart, Alyssa bought two tickets to Paris and offered to handle logistics.
Kelsey was so shocked to see their besties at the Eiffel Tower that she burst into tears. While she and Alyssa hugged, Aaron handed Dylan a jewelry box. “Why don’t you two go stand over there, so I can get a picture?” Alyssa suggested. She hit “record” as Dylan turned to Kelsey and knelt.
“I’ve loved traveling with you so far, and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life traveling with you,” he said. “Will you marry me?”
She said yes, and after a false start, he got the ring on the right finger.
Shortly after coming home, Dylan and Kelsey took on side jobs to save for the wedding: Kelsey is now also a server at La Cannelle Cafe and a local coordinator for Council on International Educational Exchange. Dylan delivers pizza for Cocco’s. He is also now studying for his real estate license.
Two very special people couldn’t physically be present at the wedding.
Dylan’s father, Daniel, died unexpectedly in October 2013. The morning of the wedding, Kelsey asked best man Aaron to deliver a gift to Dylan — silver cuff links containing some of his father’s ashes. “It was just a rush of emotion,” Dylan said. “It was really cool to have him with me, and that she thought of it.”
Kelsey’s father, Cris, lost a battle with cancer in 2008. He was a volunteer firefighter with Swarthmore Fire & Protective Association for more than 30 years, and was chief for 20. “The fire company is such a family, and they have really taken care of me,” Kelsey said. On her wedding day, her father’s best friend, Tom, drove Kelsey and her sister Kristen, a maid of honor, to the Swarthmore College Amphitheater in a firetruck dedicated to her father’s memory. Firefighter Dave escorted Kristen down the aisle, while Tom walked Kelsey halfway. She finished the journey on her stepfather’s arm.
Vahe, a friend of Kelsey’s family since her parents were children, officiated. A sportswriter for the Kansas City Star, he missed a Chiefs game to lead the personalized ceremony and wrote a column about the experience. ( https://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/vahe-gregorian/article236503953.html )
There were 14 bridesmaids, 11 groomsmen, and 225 guests, all of whom wore black or white at the bride’s request.
The couple did not see each other the night before or morning of their wedding, but they texted. “I got Reese’s cups,” Kelsey told Dylan. “You better save me one!” joked the groom.
Finally, it was time for pre-ceremony photos and their first look at each other. They were feet apart, back to back, when photographer Brett asked them to wait — the sun was too bright, they needed a cloud. “It was probably five minutes, but it seemed so long,” Dylan said. “It was so hard not to turn around!”
Finally, a cloud.
“Just seeing him, just looking at him, made it so real,” Kelsey said. “This was our wedding day, it was all happening, and it was incredible.”
Kelsey had saved both Reese’s. They ate them together and cried.
A bargain: Family friend Dotty purchased and arranged the flowers for all 15 bridal party bouquets and the centerpieces as a wedding gift.
The splurge: The Phillie Phanatic danced on chairs and rubbed all the bald men’s heads. “He brought a lot of people out of their shells, and it wasn’t even that expensive,” Kelsey said.
The couple, who will soon move into the home they bought in Rutledge, spent eight days in Venice and Rome. They watched the sun set on the Colosseum, ate the best pizza of their lives, and found a bar where they and about 50 other Eagles fans watched a Birds victory.
Officiant: Vahe Gregorian, family friend
Ceremony: Swarthmore College Amphitheater, Swarthmore, Pa.
Photography: Brett Martelli, East Norriton, Pa.
Music: the Quality DJ, Norristown, Pa., and Elysium quartet, Easton, Pa.
Invitations and sign design: Amy Rocha at Bloom with Us, Newtown Square, Pa.
Dress: the Dress Matters, Media, Pa.
Suits: Men’s Wearhouse
Hair and Makeup: Donna and team at Lotus Hair and Skin Studio, Morton, Pa.
Florist: Dotty Lee, family friend.