One Friday in November 2010, Rosemary, a reporter and weekend anchor at NBC10, and her friend and then-producer Alissa left work for a midtown bar.
They met up with Alissa's then-fiancé, now-husband, Tony, and some of Tony's friends, including Ben. Ben and Tony have been close since they were boys growing up in Media, and he has known Alissa since they were all in college. But Ben and Rosemary had never met.
There were drinks and group small talk, but then Ben, project manager of his family's chimney- and masonry-restoration business, D.J. Cross Inc., had to get going.
The door had barely closed behind him when Rosemary turned to Alissa and Tony with a request: "Tell me more about this Ben."
Her timing was excellent. Tony had been looking to set up his pal. He suggested a double date the next night.
Rosemary's attraction to Ben was instant. "He is tall and handsome. We were both 27 then, but he struck me as mature."
Ben was interested, too. "She's very attractive, and Alissa had very positive things to say about her," he said. "I thought, 'Why not? Let's see where this goes.' "
The first place it went was to dinner at Amis, then dancing after. "We hit it off," Ben said.
Despite mutually crazy schedules - he was running a business, and she, in addition to her news career, had recently started taking law classes at Temple - they were pretty serious by January.
Ben fell in love with Rosemary's brain and work ethic. "She's smart and accomplished," he said. "And it was hard to find somebody that understands crazy work hours and just enjoys being around you with whatever time you can spend together."
It was Ben's heart that drew Rosemary in. "He is very thoughtful. He's a person of substance and values, and he cares about his family," she said. Her namesake grandmother, married for more than a half-century, always told Rosemary to marry a kind man. Rosemary felt she had met him.
Their first Christmas, Ben gave her a journal and a Cross pen. Her first entry was, "This is the one."
Rosemary knew in 2010 she wanted to marry Ben, but she was in no hurry. "She told me a few times, 'This can't happen while I'm in law school,' " he recalled. By 2014, she was close enough to her degree that Ben began planning. During her March break from classes, they went to Puerto Rico.
Rosemary thought something might be up as they walked around Old San Juan. Ben was searching for the right spot. "I wanted to get that ring out of my pocket as soon as possible," he said.
They reached a beautiful old church, and it looked like people were gathering for a noon Mass, which Rosemary suggested they attend.
When the music began, the couple stood with the congregation, then turned to look behind for the priest. There he was, walking in front of a casket.
They silently agreed to exit as quietly as possible after the procession passed their pew.
Ben suggested Fort San Cristóbal. They walked out into a turret and looked at the sea. He began speaking of the four years they'd been together and the bond they shared.
"I wanted to make this official," he told her, kneeling. "Will you marry me?"
"Of course!" Rosemary said. Both teared up and savored a few moments alone before other tourists joined them. "This would be a great place to get engaged," one said. "We just did," said Ben.
Ben has lived in Old City since 2006. Rosemary lived in East Falls when they met, but in 2011, she moved a few blocks away from Ben. One morning about a month into their engagement, Rosemary was at her place, enjoying a day off but still checking work emails.
That's how she learned the Suit Corner store - right next door to Ben's condo - was on fire.
Rosemary knew Ben's Pomeranian, Moon, was home alone. Rosemary ran out in her sweatpants to save the dog. The firefighters had already rescued Moon.
Ben and Moon moved in with Rosemary. Moon had always preferred Ben, but after the experience, the dog bonded with Rosemary.
The couple, both now 32, wed in the chapel at Ben's alma mater, Malvern Prep, with Father Flynn officiating. Ben has known Father Flynn since his student days, so it gave the ceremony extra meaning. "He's a teacher, and he just had this ability to engage the audience," Ben said. The priest had asked the couple to write letters describing why they wanted to make this commitment to each other, and he read them aloud during the ceremony.
There was never doubt that the reception for 185 would be held at Overbrook Golf Club, a place as steeped in meaning and memory for Rosemary's family as the chapel was for Ben.
As favors, the couple gave their guests organic rosemary-mint soaps made by Ben's sister Jamie, owner of Feltre Artisan, who provided them as a wedding gift.
"One of the big highlights of the reception was the band, Big Ric Rising," Ben said. Among the most fun moments was when Ben's uncle Kevin, a professional singer and songwriter who tours with Kevin Chalfant's Journey Experience, joined Big Ric Rising on stage and sang "Don't Stop Believin'."
"It was awesome," Ben said.
Ben likes surprises, and seeing Rosemary in her wedding dress for the first time was the best he's had. "She was absolutely stunning," he said. "And I was just overwhelmed at the fact that here we were, this was our day. It was very exciting and very emotional. There were three photographers around us, but, honestly, there could have been a million people. We were together, and nothing else mattered."
That moment - when they first saw each other for pictures before the ceremony - was incredible for Rosemary, too. "Ben doesn't cry easily, and when I saw tears in his eyes," she said, "I could tell he was overcome by the moment, and for me to see that, it had a big impact."
A bargain: When Ben was attending high school proms, his mom decided he needed a classic, black, two-button tuxedo of his own. With only a few alterations over the years, he estimates he has worn it 50 times since, including on his wedding day.
The splurge: During the planning, Ben told Rosemary she could have the final say on almost everything, but he was going to handle the cake. Ben has known Alan, a winner of Food Network's Sweet Genius and owner of Dolce Patisserie in Hellertown, for more than a decade. Nothing else would do. "It was a gorgeous cake," Ben said, "and without a doubt our splurge."
Ten days in Hawaii.
Officiant: The Rev. James R. Flynn, president of Malvern Preparatory School, Malvern.
Venues: Our Mother of Good Counsel Chapel on Malvern Prep's campus; Overbrook Golf Club, Villanova.
Catering: Overbrook Golf Club.
Photography: Sweetwater Portraits, Philadelphia.
Flowers: Beautiful Blooms, Philadelphia.
Dress: Designed by Nicole Miller, purchased at the Nicole Miller Boutique in Manayunk.
Music: Big Ric Rising, managed by BVTLive of Chadds Ford.
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