Brian noticed Kate right from the early days of medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. But she didn't really know he existed until her second year, when she saw him playing touch football and thought, "Nice legs!" Nice as they were, Kate's thoughts didn't progress beyond that. She had no intention of dating anyone in med school.
Brian was too nervous around Kate to talk to her much. In desperation, he wound up using middle-school tactics. He asked a mutual friend, "Do you think Kate has any interest in me?" He even resorted to teasing her.
Then Halloween 2004 arrived. "Out of 250 in our class, three of us dressed up," Kate remembered. She showed up as a hippie. Brian was a fuzzy pink bunny.
"A friend of mine had this pink jumpsuit, a fluffy cotton pink suit. I thought it would make the perfect bunny. So I got myself some bunny ears and a tail and I wore it to class. Just to be goofy."
How could Kate not notice a giant pink bunny? They laughed about it together, and had their photo taken with the dean.
The ice was broken, and Brian mustered just enough courage to interrupt when Kate was tutoring another student in the cafeteria: "So do you want to go get a beer?"
How does forever sound?
In May 2007, Brian, who is now 27, and Kate, 28, went on an Italian vacation with Brian's family. But one day, Brian suggested they take some time apart, just the two of them. They had dinner at a romantic restaurant in Taormina, a small town on the northeast coast of Sicily. Afterward, Kate wanted a cannoli, but Brian insisted they go for a walk so he could photograph the setting sun.
"My favorite things in the world are Italian desserts," Kate said. "And all week he'd been driving me crazy with these pictures." She was a little grumpy, but she reluctantly agreed to go traipsing toward the sunset. After traveling through a warren of back alleys, the couple emerged by accident onto a scene worthy of a movie set.
"We came out into this little clearing at the top of a long stone staircase," Kate said. "There was a church to our left, and an old hotel to the right and a fountain at the bottom, and someone was playing a piano. We could see the sun setting perfectly across the ocean."
The beauty around them did not cure Kate's disappointment over skipping dessert. But as Brian reached into his camera bag, she figured she'd just have to put up with the shutterbug.
Then he turned to face her. "Oh," he said. "I did ask your dad if I could have your hand in marriage."
Kate doesn't remember the romantic thing he said afterward, only that he pulled a ring out of the camera case, it was too small, and she kept saying, "Shove it on! Shove it on!"
They celebrated with cannoli.
Brian, who grew up in Wallingford, and Kate, who was raised in Stewartstown, York County, live in Roxborough. She is an ob-gyn resident at Lankenau Hospital in Wynnewood. He is an intern at St. Joseph's Hospital in North Philadelphia, and plans a career in anesthesiology.
It was so them
Brian and Kate, whose first date was going for beers, got microbrews for their guests.
As people were sitting down for the outdoor ceremony, and the choir was singing, the couple found themselves feeling a little nervous. "So we had a beer together," Brian said. His was a Victory Hopdevil, hers an Ithaca Apricot Wheat.
The couple chose to have an outdoor, late-afternoon wedding so they and their guests would see the sunset together.
This didn't happen at rehearsal
Before the wedding, the couple was wowed by a surprise gift from David and Carol Stampler, parents of the bride. They are just as interested in things vintage as their daughter, and they gave the couple a 1959 Seeburg jukebox that David Stampler had restored.
During the ceremony, Kate and Brian got so caught up in the "just the two of us" feeling that they kept whispering to each other. "We were whispering things like, 'Our parents are here,' 'Listen to the choir!' And he was telling me that I looked beautiful, and I told him he looked good," Kate said.
"My uncle (the judge who married them) shushed us!" Brian said.
A bargain: DIY on the save-the-dates and invitations. The couple spent one-tenth the amount they were quoted. And Kate got her dress on eBay. "My dress was one-third of the cost, and it was absolutely perfect."
The splurge: The music. They had a choir during the ceremony, and sprang for the extra horn player in the reception band. Brian estimates it cost about three times more than if they'd gone with a DJ, but it was worth every penny.
A weeklong trip to Savannah and Hilton Head in the spring.
Behind the Scenes
The Honorable Paul P. Panepinto, the groom's uncle, Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas
Lauxmont Farms, Wrightsville, Pa.
JDK Catering, Camp Hill, Pa.
Denise Prichett Photography, Bryn Mawr
Cruise Control, Harrisburg, and the Rehoboth Welsh Choir, Delta, Pa.
Another of the groom's uncles, Ron Panepinto Jewelers, Philadelphia.