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May 1, 2010, in Philadelphia

Heather Pontello & Kevin Swartz were married May 1, 2010 in Philadelphia. (Clair Pruett Photography and Video)
Heather Pontello & Kevin Swartz were married May 1, 2010 in Philadelphia. (Clair Pruett Photography and Video)Read more

Hello there

Kevin still remembers the day in November 2007 when Heather started working at Catalent Pharma Solutions in Northeast Philadelphia, where Kevin is the engineering manager.

"She was introduced to a large group of people down in our cafeteria, and I was one of them," he said. Later that afternoon, Heather, who is the company's validation manager, was moving into her new office, right next door to Kevin. He helped her set up her computer - partly because he's a nice guy, partly because "there sure was a pretty girl moving in next to me!"

Heather, who was caught up in the flurry of a first day, said she has zero recollection of this. But she remembers the December night that everyone from the office went out for a pre-holidays happy hour - her first work social function. "Kevin and I waited one another out, until we were the last two people in the bar," she said. "We were sitting around until 11 p.m., getting to know each other."

When the bar got too rowdy for conversation, Heather and Kevin decided to call it a night. Heather tried to head home to Springfield, Delaware County, but, not knowing Northeast Philly very well, she got lost. The only person she could think of who could help her - and who she knew was still awake - was Kevin. She called his work cell phone.

"Yeah, she was, quote, unquote, 'lost,' " Kevin said, laughing. "That's when I knew" she was interested.

Heather wants the world to know: She really was lost!

But she was interested enough to later look Kevin up on the business networking site LinkedIn and send him a "Merry Christmas" message. The e-mails started to flow, leading Heather to invite Kevin to a New Year's Eve party. But Kevin got sick and couldn't make it.

At the end of one workday, post-holiday break, Kevin went to Heather's office for business reasons. But he lingered there, talking, long after the workday had ended. About 6 p.m. or so, Kevin asked Heather what she thought of dating people at work. Despite her inconclusive answer, he asked her out, and she suggested that he join her and a friend on a January Saturday at the Tin Angel. Soon after, the two of them went to Chickie's & Pete's one night after work

How does forever sound?

By June 2009, Heather, who is now 34, was spending a lot of time at Kevin's place in Bensalem. It was Friday night, and Heather was fixing her hair in the bathroom, getting ready for their dinner date in Philadelphia. Kevin, now 37, soon stood next to her, watching her do her hair - something he had never once done before. "I know," she said. "We're running late." But Kevin didn't rush her. He just looked at her, she said, with a "goofy smile" on his face.

"What would you think of spending the weekend in downtown Philly?" he asked. Heather's birthday was fast approaching. Maybe this was an early treat? She packed her bags.

Kevin had reserved the single table in the wine cellar at Bistro Romano. It was a very romantic spot, Kevin said, and so snug that there was barely room for the server to move around. "At the end of the night, I asked the waitress if she would take a picture of us," he said.

He spied a spot where there was room for him to kneel, and suggested they snap the photo there. As soon as the couple took their positions, and the server had the camera ready, Kevin dropped to one knee and popped the question. Heather was a bit stunned. "Before she answered, the waitress says to her, 'Hey, look at me so I can take your picture,' " Kevin remembered. "So there's this beautiful picture of her looking at the waitress. I said, 'Hey, how about you look at the guy with the ring?' "

Heather looked at Kevin and said yes. A second photo captured a celebratory kiss.

It was so them

"It was a very princess-y wedding," said Heather. The way she sees it, she had waited a long time for the right guy, and she was only going to do this once. So why not?

Heather and her father, Anthony, rode from the Sofitel Philadelphia Hotel to the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul in a Cinderella-style horse-drawn carriage.

Heather, a self-described fashionista, wore "a formal, big princess gown for the ceremony," she said. For the reception, she wore a simpler dress, white with accents in the same blue as the bridesmaids' gowns. (Heather is proud that she got both dresses for less than $2,500.)

After the ceremony, the Cinderella carriage took the bride and groom to the azalea garden by the Art Museum for pictures. That ride was one of the best parts of the day, Kevin and Heather agreed. "It took almost half an hour, and after all of the running around, it gave us some time to absorb what just happened," Kevin said. Passersby cheered for the couple, and some of them approached the carriage to shake their hands.

The reception for 115 guests at the Sofitel featured renditions of the LOVE statue as cake topper, table place-card holders, and, in cookie form, wedding favors.

This didn't happen at rehearsal

Both Kevin and Heather had interesting rides to the church.

There was construction going on across the street from the hotel, and it spooked the horse that was pulling the carriage. "The horse got scared and reared up right before we got on," Heather said.

The couple hired a trolley to take Kevin and the bridal party to the church. Their route to the cathedral was blocked by a Turkish parade and festival.

"The driver realized it was pretty important that we get there on time," Kevin said. "We weaved in and out of traffic, and went the wrong way on some one-way streets. But he got us there in one piece."


Kevin was watching from the altar when Heather and her father walked from the vestibule into the aisle. The back doors of the church were opened, and sunlight streamed in. "It was just a silhouette of her and her dad that I could see. I'll remember that forever - and that's when I started to lose it," Kevin said.

Much earlier that day, Heather had sent the 2-year-old ring bearer to Kevin's room with a handkerchief embroidered with their wedding date and a reference to his joke that he's only hers for the next 50 years. Walking down the aisle, she saw him use that handkerchief to dab his eyes.

Discretionary spending

A bargain: The flowers. They were told to allot four hours the day they met with Carl Alan Floral Design to get a quote. The florist composed an exact copy of the bride's bouquet and a bridesmaids bouquet as well. "We knew exactly what we were getting," Kevin said. "They spent all of this time, and they were still 30 to 40 percent cheaper than the other" florists the couples met with.

The splurge: Renting the cathedral. Most Catholic churches would have charged $200 to $300, Heather said. The cathedral was about 10 times that.

The getaway

Twelve days in Hawaii.StartText


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The Rev. John Moloney, St. Kevin Catholic Church, Springfield, Delaware County

The Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul andSofitel Hotel, both in Philadelphia


Photography / Videography
Clair Pruett, Springfield, Delaware County

Synergetic Sounds and Lighting, DJ Eric Marsh, Bensalem

Ceremony gown from Macy Bridal Salon by Demetrios in Cherry Hill. Reception gown from Alfred Angelo Bridal in Allentown

CGL Design, Philadelphia

Carl Alan Floral Design, Philadelphia

Mark Kingsdorf, Queen of Hearts Consulting, Philadelphia