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Love: Lori Schreiber & Linda Allotta

October 19, 2014, in Flourtown

Lori Schreiber (left) and Linda Allotta.
Lori Schreiber (left) and Linda Allotta.Read moreLisa Marie Hunt Photography

Hello there

The smoked salmon started it.

A group of friends had dinner in Doylestown one spring evening in 1991. Somebody invited Lori, someone else invited Linda. Only the two of them wanted that particular appetizer, so they shared it, talking over the plate and enjoying their talk as much as the food.

Lori had to leave after dinner - she had work early the next morning. Linda walked her to her car, and asked for her phone number.

"We had so much in common," Linda said. "I thought she was cute, and I definitely, definitely wanted to see her again."

Lori felt the same way. But days went by with no phone call.

Most of the group had gone dancing after dinner, and Linda lost the slip of paper with Lori's number.

"Somehow, I tracked her down and I called her," Lori said.

Thus began an epic summer romance, with dinners, dancing, and trips to the shore.

Then summer ended.

Both women were fresh out of relationships when they met. Lori, who is now 56, told Linda she just wasn't ready for anything serious.

Linda, now 59, was disappointed, but resigned.

"If that's what you want to do, OK," she told Lori. "But you know what? You're going to marry me someday."

They called each other and sometimes met for a drink, but they dated other people.

In 1996, Lori made one of their checking-in phone calls. She had been living with a girlfriend, but it didn't work out. "We're breaking up and I'm moving out," she announced.

Inside, Linda was screaming, Yay!

Into the phone she said, "Really? Me, too."

They made dinner plans, and were dating again by the time they left the restaurant.

Lori's father had been battling cancer. Whenever her schedule prevented her from taking him to the doctor or visiting at the hospital, Linda stepped in.

"I saw how good she was with him," Lori said. It meant a lot. So did Linda's support when Lori's father died.

In 1997, Linda moved in to Lori's Ambler apartment.

Years later, the couple would serve as Linda's late parents' caregivers.

Linda, a South Philly native, is now an administrative patient advocate in the Cancer Center at Abington Memorial Hospital. She helps patients get insurance company approval for their medications.

Lori, who spent her early childhood in Dallas, but graduated from high school in Havertown, is an Abington Township commissioner. She also teaches human services and sociology courses at Penn State Abington and Montgomery County Community College and provides education and career guidance for people coping with drug, alcohol and mental-health issues.

How does forever sound?

In December 1998, Lori and Linda purchased the Abington house where they now live with collie mix Savannah and cats Tasker and Reed.

Both had lived with girlfriends before, but cosigning a mortgage was totally different.

"It was like pseudo-marriage," Linda said.

"We started doing some legal things at that point, too: wills, medical power of attorney, durable power of attorney," Lori said.

These were all steps to try to create the kind of security that married couples get automatically. Even after taking them, the couple had to go through extra hoops to get health, tax and education benefits. Some benefits were reduced. Some were never available.

"We never got treated equally," Lori said.

Frankly, it made them angry.

"It was in our heads for a brief time that we could have a commitment ceremony, but since it was not the same [as marriage], we saw no point," Linda said.

It wasn't about love or commitment, because they already had that, Lori said. "It was about how it would benefit us and protect us."

Then the law changed in Pennsylvania.

It was a given that they'd marry. At first, they planned on something small, but before long, Lori had an announcement: "You know what? I want a big wedding," she told Linda.

"You know what? You're right," Linda said. "This is something to celebrate."

It was so them

The celebration at Flourtown Country Club began with an open bar and butlered hors d'oeuvres. Then, their 84 guests gathered around the fireplace to hear Journeys of the Heart's Marguerite Sexton tell the couple's love story.

Next, the guests went to the ballroom and stood forming an aisle down the middle, which the couple walked down together to a classical guitar version of the Beatles' "Here, There and Everywhere."

Everyone moved closer, forming a circle around the brides.

Linda began to panic when her shaking hands couldn't get Lori's ring on. Then the couple started laughing, and Lori pushed it on herself.

When Marguerite got to the part where they were legally wed under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, everybody cheered.

Linda was raised Catholic, and Lori is culturally Jewish. They wove a little of both traditions into their wedding day, sipping wine from a shared glass and breaking another glass at the end of the ceremony.

Their first dance was also to another Beatles song, "And I Love Her."

It turned out that their wedding day was not only about equal rights and legal protections. The couple started to realize the emotional significance during the planning.

Lori said it was as if she and Linda rediscovered each other, with all the reasons they fell in love in the first place reinforced. "There was this rekindling of our romance," she said.

"I didn't realize how special a wedding day really is," Linda said. "It's not really something I can put into words, but it was the best day of my life."


Lori will always remember friends and family gathered around the fireplace listening to her and Linda's love story. "I looked around the room, and everybody was obviously touched, and happy for us, and sometimes they were laughing. It was the warmest feeling I've ever felt."

After the couple broke the glass at the end of the ceremony, "we instinctively grabbed each other's hands, and raised our hands up in the air," Linda remembers. "People cheered, and it was unbelievable. I felt like I was a part of history."

Discretionary spending

A bargain: The brides both found their wedding attire at a consignment shop.

The splurge: When their theoretically simple ceremony evolved into a country club wedding.

The getaway

The couple didn't want to leave their dog, who is blind and requires insulin shots, so they spent three days seeing local sights, buying antiques, and eating every meal at a restaurant.


Officiant: Marguerite Sexton of Journeys of the Heart, Jenkintown.

Venue: Flourtown Country Club, Flourtown.

Photo: Lisa Marie Hunt Photography, Philadelphia.

Music: Ken's Entertainment Group Inc., Philadelphia.

Brides' attire: Statement Boutique Consignment, Chestnut Hill.

Flowers: Judy Baigis, florist.

Rings: My Jewel Shop, Jenkintown, which the brides say deserves a special shout-out for resizing Lori's ring three times before the wedding.