Hello there

Dana was kind of flu-ish one Sunday night in November 2009, but she joined her roommate Maria at the bar below their apartment anyway.

Dana was not thrilled to learn that the guy Maria was seeing and one of his friends would be joining them. She didn't bother changing out of her sweatpants.

Matt, the friend, strolled in wearing Yankees garb. Dana's apartment was in Hoboken, but her heart was firmly in Philadelphia. The Washington Township native still smarted from her Phillies' then-recent World Series loss to those damn Yankees.

"Oh. You're just another cocky New York fan," she said. Matt smiled. "I could see past the sweats" to Dana's beauty, he said.

He liked a woman who liked sports - especially one he could torment about the World Series. And he liked the way she talked about her family.

Despite not feeling great, Dana, who is now 31, was persuaded to hit a second bar. She drank water, and tried to hold up her end of the conversation, until she just couldn't.

"I'm going to go home now," she announced.

"I'll walk you home," Matt said.

"No, that's OK," Dana said. She felt too horrible to try to impress even this cute guy.

"I'm going that way anyway," said Matt, who then lived in Warren, N.J., but was visiting his brother.

Dana hurried home with Matt a few steps behind her. They didn't speak until she got to her door. "Thanks," she said, immediately shutting the door behind her.

Matt, who is now 33, was undeterred. "I could tell there was a lot more to her that I really wanted to get to know," he said.

Matt sent Dana a Facebook friend request, which surprised the heck out of the Ideel.com copywriter.

"I was just awful to him, and once I felt better, I felt really bad about that," she said.

That December, Matt, vice president of L.B. Papermill Supplies - his family's trucking and recycling business - moved to Hoboken. They ran into each other everywhere, and sometimes these impromptu meetings led to spontaneous smooches.

But whenever Matt tried to make an official date, Dana, who feared losing a friendship she treasured, found an excuse not to go.

One night after going out separately, they met at a local pizza place. The server put both slices in the same box. "I'll walk back with you, and we can have our pizza together," Matt said, thinking she'd have to, finally, invite him in.

"See you later," Dana told him at her doorstep.

"She takes the box with both slices, and I was left with no girl and no pizza," he remembered.

By April, Matt was so fed up with the hot-and-cold routine that he stopped talking to her.

Dana thought of him constantly.

She and some friends spent Memorial Day weekend in Belmar. Some wanted to leave early. She knew Matt had a house in Belmar, and texted him for a ride back to Hoboken.

The ride was an excuse. "I had had my realization, and come to my senses," she said. In short, fear was getting in the way of her happiness.

At her apartment, Matt carried her bags up two flights. Dana took a deep breath. "I know I have been flaky the past eight months, but would you like to go out with me for real? I promise I'll show up."

How does forever sound?

Dana's parents, Frank and April, and Matt's parents, Saverio and Carol, all came to Hoboken to celebrate Matt's birthday.

Just before meeting up with them, Dana gave Matt his birthday gift, which had been sitting in the living room in its decorative bag for days. Matt took out a golf shirt, and a certificate for a lesson with a pro at Trump National Golf Course. "Nice. Nice," he said.

Nice? Matt is a golf nut. Dana was certain he would love this gift. Why was "nice" all she got? And then it got worse.

"Look. There's still something in here," he said.

Dana was mad. She knew what was in the bag, and he had it all. Why was he being a jerk? "What, did I not give you enough?" she asked.

"Dana, there is still something in here," Matt said.

Exasperated, she took the bag from him and reached inside. That's when she felt a small box.

She was already crying when he got down on one knee.

As they were celebrating at her parents' hotel, there was a knock on the door. Matt had flown in her sisters Gina and Andrea from Atlanta and Fayetteville, Ark.

"I started crying all over again," she said.

It was so them

The couple, who now live in Hoboken together, were married at Vie by Dana's Uncle Dominic, a pastor.

The reception for 265 featured an ice sculpture of an Eagles helmet and a Giants helmet going head-to-head, with the couple's names and wedding date inscribed below. "Everybody wanted to take a picture in front of it," Matt said.

A memory table featured the wedding photos of their great-grandparents, grandparents, and parents, along with Matt and Dana's engagement photo. "Family is very important to us," said Dana. (One family member, her Uncle Mark Squilla, is a Philadelphia City Councilman.)

Dana and Matt aren't home enough to have a pet at the moment, but Dana FaceTimes nightly with Sammy, the 15-year-old cat who still lives at her parents' place. In lieu of favors, the couple made a donation to the SPCA.

Awestruck

Before the ceremony, the photographer lined the bridal party up on the stairs, two by two. At every step Dana took, one set stood aside. "Finally, the last two people separated, and I got to see Matt for the first time, after so much anticipation all day long," she said.

Matt lifted Dana off her feet, spun her around, and kissed her. "There is no moment more special than seeing your bride for the first time in her dress," Matt said. "I was completely blown away."

Discretionary spending

A bargain: The DJ was significantly cheaper than a band.

The splurge: Everyone got soft pretzels and cheesesteaks at the end of the night.

The getaway

Almost two weeks in Italy.

Love: BEHIND THE SCENES

Officiant: Pastor Dominic Pennachietti of Bethel Baptist Church in Philadelphia, uncle of the bride

Venue: Vie by Cescaphe Event Group, Philadelphia

 Photo: Mark Louis Photography, Philadelphia

Music: DJ Matt Ostroff with EBE, Philadelphia

Dress: Liancarlo from Wedding Atelier, New York City

Flowers: Ten Pennies Florist, Philadelphia

Do you have the date? Email us - at least six weeks before your ceremony - why we should feature your love story: weddings@phillynews.com. Unfortunately, we can't respond individually to all submissions. If your story is chosen, you will be contacted.