In late August 2007, Renee and three girlfriends were enjoying a night out in Old City. At 32º, Renee's pal Christie spotted a male friend who was with another guy Christie didn't know. That guy was Danny.
The guys and girls joined forces, and about 1:30 a.m., they headed for Zee Bar. Danny said everyone could fit into his double-cab truck. Renee was the last to board. She only had one foot inside when the truck started moving.
Renee screamed and yanked her foot out, miraculously getting both feet out of the way of the big tires just in time. Despite the open door and the yelling of his seated passengers, Danny was oblivious. Renee ran after the vehicle. "I've got my stilettos on, and I'm trying to catch up before he gets too far."
Less than a block away, Danny realized there was a reason for the hubbub around him and stopped so Renee could hop in.
"I thought it was pretty funny," Renee remembered. "If he had gotten my foot, it might have been a different story. But I knew it was not intentional."
Danny and Renee didn't talk very much that night. But a couple of weeks later, they ran into each other at Zee Bar. "The first thing he did was laugh at me," she said.
The teasing turned to talking, and the couple realized they were from towns 10 minutes apart - she, Voorhees; he, Marlton. The conversation flowed from there. By night's end, Danny suggested he take Renee out to dinner sometime.
Danny called and they set a date. But as the day drew near, Renee realized with horror that she couldn't remember his name. She called Christie, who couldn't think of it either.
Renee recognized Danny's phone number when he called to confirm their plans. She handed the phone to her son, Jaden, then 6. Jaden panicked. "Mom! What do I say?" he asked.
Danny knew exactly what had happened but Renee denied it for months.
The next day, Renee and Danny were seated at Catelli Ristorante in Voorhees, and Renee learned just how much he loves to eat.
"He ordered two or three appetizers for us to sample, a few entrées, and then wanted to get dessert," she remembered. "I told him I didn't really want that much dessert. Can we split one? And he said, 'Ummm, no! You have to get your own dessert.' I remember specifically thinking, 'OK, this is kind of crazy.' "
Danny is not crazy. He's a foodie who became even more of one when attending culinary school at the Philadelphia Art Institute.
Danny, now 32, a driver for the same vending machine company he has worked for since he was 16, and Renee, now 31, a publicist and a beauty blogger at www.abeautyloft.com, have pretty much been eating together ever since. When she can't finish, he helps.
A couple of years into their relationship, Renee and Danny began looking at rings. As time passed and her 30th birthday approached, Renee was not shy about nudging him to propose. "Is this going to happen by my birthday?" she asked.
No, Danny said. "I don't know when. You're just going to have to wait!"
But he already had the ring.
Just after the couple returned from a birthday trip to Miami, Renee got a call from her dad, George. Recently retired, he was then a doctor in Washington, who commuted back to New Jersey to be with his wife, Yvette, and their kids on weekends. Needless to say, George was sometimes hard to get a hold of. "I got a message from Danny," he told Renee. "When you talk to him, let him know I will give him a call back."
Renee knew that she knew something she was not supposed to know.
A few days later, Danny asked Renee to come over and fix his Internet connection - a common occurrence. She sat down at the laptop and noticed it was not closed all the way. "I lifted [the screen], and a ring was on the keyboard," Renee said. "I turned around, and he was on one knee."
Renee was escorted down the aisle by her father and her son, who is now 9.
Renee's mother and Danny's parents, Bonnie and Daniel, were also part of the procession.
Danny's brother, Anthony, was his best man. His sister, Kristen, was a bridesmaid. He had 14 groomsmen, including Renee's brother, Bryan, and about half-a-dozen of Danny's cousins. "He told me from day one there's no such thing as distant relatives in his family," Renee said.
Renee had 10 bridesmaids, including maid of honor Michelle, her sister.
The decor was one of the couple's favorite parts of their reception. The flowers and linens were fuchsia and purple, and the 270 guests dined and danced beneath crystal chandeliers illuminated in fuchsia light.
During the ceremony, the minister called Renee by her sister's name.
When pictures were being taken at a park near the Curtis Center, a little girl asked if she could have her photo taken with Renee. "My daughter is so in love with love," the mom explained.
Walking down the aisle with her father and son, toward her future husband, Renee was swimming in emotions she couldn't really identify. "It was a combining of our families," she said. She also felt as though both escorts were giving their blessing to the marriage. "It's always been me and J. for the most part, and this was it - our family was expanding."
Renee, Danny, and Jaden now live in Marlton.
A bargain: The ceremony programs. After pricing them at around $600, Renee decided to make her own. She spent $200 on card stock and printer ink, and also made the place cards and table names.
The splurge: The crystal chandeliers weren't included in the florist's base price, but once Danny and Renee saw them, they had to have them. "They just added this 'wow' factor," Renee explained. Normally, a whole weekend's worth of brides split the cost, Renee said. But they were married the day before Easter and were the only couple using them. They negotiated a 50 percent discount.
Eight days in Cancun.
The Rev. Dan Cooper of the Church of Christ in Pitman, N.J.
Atrium at the Curtis Center, Philadelphia
Jordan Brian Photography, Mount Laurel, N.J.
EBE Videography, Philadelphia
EBE Events and Entertainment's Dreamtime, Philadelphia
Alicia Martino of Il Fiore Bianco, Philadelphia
Lazaro, from Bridal Garden, Marlton, N.J.
Vera Wang, from Papyrus in Marlton, N.J.