Lauren and Tony both teach German. In February 2005, Lauren, then in her second year with the Hempfield School District in Lancaster County, attended a conference of German teachers in Millersville, Pa. "I saw this incredibly handsome guy sitting at one of the tables, and so I decided to go sit next to him," she said.
It turned out that Tony, who was doing his student teaching at another Lancaster County district, was teaching from the same textbook. That gave Lauren an idea. "Hey, maybe we should do our lesson plans together, and save some work," she suggested. Tony thought the discussion should happen over dinner. Dinner happened, and so did five hours of conversation - auf Deutsch, of course. The two soon discovered they had grown up in the same part of the state; Tony is from Richboro, Bucks County, Lauren from Dresher, Montgomery County. Both attended Millersville University, and both studied abroad in the same German town, Marburg. At night's end, there were no lesson plans. But there were more dinner plans.
How does forever sound?
After finishing his student teaching, Tony was also hired by the Hempfield District - he teaches German to the middle schoolers, who then move on to Lauren's class in high school. Of course, the students almost immediately figured out that Frau Klein and Herr Jannotta were a couple.
Every other summer, Tony, Lauren and another colleague take about 20 high school students on a trip to Germany. Near the end of their June 2007 trip, when the students were spending the weekend with their host families and the adults had some free time, Tony suggested that he and Lauren visit Marburg, the town where both had studied, so they could experience it together.
After dinner, they carried wine up the mountain to a castle overlooking the city. Lauren was perched on a stone wall, taking in the view, when Tony said, "Turn around." He was down on one knee, with a ring in his hand.
Once they got back to Berlin, Tony gathered the students for what they assumed would be routine announcements. "While we were in Marburg, I asked Frau Klein to marry me," he said. The students screamed with joy and hugged their teachers.
Lauren, 26, and Tony, 25, live in Mount Joy.
It was so them
The couple was married at St. Vincent De Paul Catholic Church by the Rev. Joseph J. McLaughlin. "We picked October so it could be our Oktoberfest!" Lauren said.
The reception for 200 was held at Cannstatter - the German-American club in Northeast Philadelphia. The Almrausch Bavarian Schuhplattler dance group donned their lederhosen and performed their foot-smacking specialty during the cocktail hour. Nutcrackers served as place-card holders, castles adorned the invitations. Atop the wedding cake, two Germans kissed. A lit-up, castle-shaped ice sculpture harked back to the proposal.
This didn't happen at rehearsal
"The surprise is that everything went perfect," Lauren said.
Lauren and Tony didn't want to just sway to their first song, so they learned to foxtrot. Tony - who pre-lessons had two left feet - promenaded and turned his new wife around the floor, through clouds of bubbles blown by their guests, to Shania Twain's "From This Moment." From Lauren's perspective, "It was just the two of us dancing," she said.
A bargain: The couple did without limos, opting instead for a shuttle for their guests. One shuttle was half the price of two limos, Lauren said.
The splurge: The music package. Lauren and Tony had both a DJ and an MC, who used special lighting to create ambience. The couple also opted for a live bass player and drummer, which gave the recorded music a live feel. It cost twice as much as a DJ alone, but Lauren says it was worth it.
A December cruise to the western Caribbean.
Behind the Scenes
The Rev. Joseph J. McLaughlin, St. Vincent de Paul Church, Richboro, Pa.
St. Vincent de Paul and Cannstatter Volksfest Verein, Philadelphia
Robert Wood Photography, Glen Mills
Cutting Edge Entertainment, Huntingdon Valley
Bridals by Sandra, Nazareth
Invitations by Chrissy Arnold, Mount Joy, Pa.
Elite Florals, Roslyn Valley