Love: Teresa Mallon & Robert Giamboy Jr.
December 31, 2014, in Philadelphia
Teresa accepted a New Year's Eve invitation from Lauren, her friend from Roxborough School of Nursing. It wasn't just about ringing in 2011.
"There was a whole plan," Teresa said. Lauren would introduce Teresa to a friend of hers, a guy she'd been talking up.
At the party in Sicklerville, N.J., Teresa, who grew up in Mayfair and is now 28, met the guy - very briefly.
The girls had a plan. The guy never knew a thing about it. He talked to another girl most of the night.
"I was mingling, hanging out with different people, playing a couple of games," Teresa remembered. "I didn't want to make anyone uncomfortable."
The person she hung out with the most was Rob, a pharmacy technician at Omnicare in Moorestown, who grew up in the Juniata section of Philadelphia and Sicklerville.
When Teresa was talking with another group of revelers, Rob found Lauren. "Tell me about Teresa," he asked. "Is she single?"
Lauren found Teresa. "Plan A isn't going to work out," she said. "But there is a Plan B. That guy you've been hanging out with? I've known him since we went to kindergarten together. He's a great guy. And he's interested in you."
Rob, who is now 26, cracked a joke the second he met Teresa. "No hesitation, she had a comeback," he said. "I fell for the girl who made me laugh."
"I was attracted to him, and the conversation was easy," Teresa said. "He was funny, and he made me feel comfortable in a place where I didn't know anybody."
Teresa and Rob stopped talking at midnight so they could kiss.
She stayed at Lauren's that night with some other women, who were all, "Do you like him? Do you like him?"
She was back home in the Northeast barely an hour when her cellphone rang. Everyone was gathering in South Philly for the Mummers Parade. Rob was going to be there, so she should be there, too.
In fact, she was the only reason Rob was going.
She then accepted an invitation to watch the Eagles game at his place, and they hung out the next day, as well. Then Teresa, now a registered nurse in the ICU at Aria Health in Torresdale, had to go back to school.
For two weeks, they talked and texted between their jobs and her classes. Then he picked her up at home, and thus met her mother, Terry, and brother, Nick, before their first real date at Tuscany on Rhawn.
They ate, drank, and mostly talked for three hours.
"Rob asked me to be his girlfriend toward the end of February," Teresa said.
How does forever sound?
On New Year's Eve, two years to the day after they met, the couple returned to Tuscany for dinner with Teresa's family.
Rob's parents, Robert Sr. and Michele, knew what was up. "My father helped me out a lot," Rob said. "He helped me find a ring."
Fortuitously, the Giamboys had already planned to have a New Year's Eve party.
The party was in the finished basement, but Rob took Teresa to the living room, and told her she could open her last Christmas gift.
She unwrapped a silver bell engraved with "Let's ring in a new year and a new life together."
Teresa kept looking at the beautiful object. "He wants to spend another year with me!" she thought to herself. "It's really, really pretty!" she told Rob. She turned to thank him and found Rob on his knee.
"Will you marry me?" he asked.
"What?" Teresa said. "Wait, are you serious? Are you for real right now?"
He was, and asked again to confirm it. "Teresa, will you marry me?"
"Yes!" she said.
They smooched to celebrate then went down to the party, where the room erupted in cheers.
It was so them
The couple, who now live in Holmesburg, married at St. Timothy's in Mayfair, the church in which Teresa grew up. They had a full Mass and a huge bridal party - 12 bridesmaids, 12 groomsmen, plus a flower girl and ring bearer. The date, New Year's Eve, was never in question.
They were married by Father Ben, a friar who offers Mass at prisons and became friends with Teresa's family through her brother, a correction's officer.
A good friend of Rob's father's owns a condo on Pier 3, and the couple hurried there to capture the 6 p.m. Penn's Landing fireworks in their photos, then rushed back to the Heroes Ballroom (the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police Hall), for cocktail hour and the reception for 300.
"Everything about the wedding was big," Teresa said. "We both have big families and tons of friends. It was just a big party."
There were an assortment of food stations, plus butlered hors d'oeuvres and drinks.
One side of a large table was filled with pictures of Rob and his family and friends throughout the years, the other side of Teresa and hers. Photos of the couple sat in the middle.
Another table paid tribute to loved ones who couldn't be there, including Teresa's father, Harry, who died in 2003.
The week before, Teresa admits, wedding stress plus a ton of grad school homework got to her. The stress intensified as she got dressed at her mother's house.
But then her mother was walking her down the aisle, and way down at the other end was Rob. "All I wanted to do was get to him," she said. "I was walking past all the people we love, feeling all that support in one place. And then I was with Rob, and he looked so handsome. And I was able to grab his hand, and I was OK, because I had him."
The wedding day was pretty intense, Rob said. A vendor, a photographer, or someone else constantly needed him and Teresa to do something.
Then it was dinner time. "I was watching everybody eating their salads, and enjoying themselves," he said. "That was the point when I took it all in. Four years of her and me together went by all in one moment, and I was sitting there with her as my wife."
A bargain: Even excluding the discount the FOP gave the couple because Rob's grandfather was a police officer, "we got an excellent deal for what we had," he said.
The splurge: The couple paid extra to get married on New Year's Eve and for an extra hour of reception and a midnight balloon drop and champagne toast.
A 17-day spring trip to Italy is planned.
Love: BEHIND THE SCENES
Officiant: Friar Benjamin Regotti of Saint John the Evangelist Parish, Philadelphia.
Venue: Saint Timothy Roman Catholic Church, Philadelphia, and Heroes Ballroom at Philadelphia FOP Lodge 5, Philadelphia.
Food: Heroes Ballroom.
Photography, including photo booth: Eric and Kate Bennett, Perfect Day Photography, Swedesboro, N.J.
Dress: By Maggie Sottero, purchased at Kleinfeld Bridal in New York, modified by Lucy Ciotti of L&H Bridal, Philadelphia.
Tuxedos: Domenico's Formal Wear, Philadelphia.
Flowers: Crepe paper flowers from Mazziflowers of Warsaw, Poland, purchased on Etsy.com.
Planner: Mary Luongo, Heroes Ballroom, Philadelphia.