Molly Robinson and Nathan Lipsi
September 30, 2017, in Colmar
What, her mom wanted to know, was Molly going to do about prom?
"I don't know," said Molly, who was a North Penn High School senior in spring 2008. She cared a lot about her friends, her grades, and her future as a business administration major and water polo player at Wagner College on Staten Island, but prom? "I don't have a date, and I don't really need to go. I've been to other dances, and it's all the same thing."
Molly's mom, Selma, was having none of that. Her daughter would not miss senior prom if she could help it.
Selma — or Ms. Rob, as she was known at school — was then a North Penn health and physical education teacher. In the lounge, she posed a question to her colleagues: "Who can Molly ask, or who can we have ask Molly, to the prom?"
Coach Jon Fluck had an idea: Nate Lipsi, a really nice kid who threw shot put and discus.
"He started fishing for information, casually asking me if I had a date for prom," Nate says.
The next day, as soon as Nate arrived for track practice, the coach sprinted out of his office. "Do you know Molly Robinson? How would you feel about asking her?"
Nate, who was also a senior, thought this must be some kind of joke — on him. He wasn't friends with Molly, but he knew who she was, and that she had a lot of friends and was pretty cute. "Does she not have a date? Why are you asking me?"
"Don't worry, just answer," Coach Fluck said. "Would you ask her?"
"Sure," Nate said. "Why not?"
Coach Fluck zipped back to his office, returning with a little slip of paper bearing Molly's cellphone number. "Text her. She's going to say yes."
Molly was making up a math test when the phone in the classroom rang. "It's for you," the teacher said.
It was her mom.
"Don't get mad at me," she said before telling Molly that she and another teacher had found her a prom date.
"I was so livid!" Molly said. "Mortified" was one word she later gave her mother, but there were others: "I'm not saying yes!"
"You have to," her mom said. "You can't let him down."
Molly didn't know Nate, but she knew enough about him to look forward to going to the prom with him, despite her embarrassment. And then came Nate's text: "Do you know your mom is going around giving your cell number to random people?" It was hilarious and perfect.
"Ha ha. Yeah," Molly said.
"Well, do you want to go to the prom with me and have a good time?"
Molly agreed. Nate immediately set out to make prom less awkward for both of them. They talked via AOL Instant Messenger, watched a movie at a mutual friend's house, and had dinner together. As the adults who did the math on the match surmised, the teens clicked over a mutual love of sports and their similar sense of humor.
"Our first kiss was at prom, and we were pretty much official right after that," Nate said.
After high school, Molly went to Wagner, and Nate to Lock Haven University, where he continued to throw discus, shot put, and hammer and earned a dual degree in accounting and business administration. They bridged the four hours between them with Skype and weekend visits.
Degrees in hand, they moved back to Southeastern Pennsylvania. Molly, now 27, earned her MBA at LaSalle University, then went to work in health-care recruiting. She is now a business-development associate for INC Research/inVentiv Health. Nate, also 27, did bookkeeping and accounting at a Doylestown car dealership, then sold real estate before taking his current job as a credit specialist at Clemens Food Group.
As soon as Nate started working, he began saving for a ring, which he purchased in May 2015 when he reached his financial goal. "Then it sat in my mom's sock drawer for a year, because Molly was still in grad school."
In May 2016, he asked his mom, Donna, for the ring. On a Sunday two weeks later, the weather was particularly glorious, Nate was particularly happy, and Molly was particularly alone — her mom was at the Shore. "It seemed like a sign," he said. He put the ring in his pocket and headed to Molly's.
She was lounging in the den, watching TV when Nate walked in. "Hey, can you go grab me a snack?" Molly asked.
He was glad to. Nate got a plate and put carrots, ranch dressing, and the ring on it. "I stood in front of Molly and presented it to her like I'm a waiter," he said. Molly looked at her snack, and something else beside it. "What is that?" she asked. " Nuh-uh! No! What is that? What are you doing?"
What he was doing was kneeling, and asking, "Molls, will you marry me?"
"Yes!" she said.
"Yeeaaahhhh!" Nate yelled.
It was so them
Molly wasn't so into the whole wedding planning thing. Luckily, "My mom and sister-in-law were all over it, and they did a great job," she said.
The couple provided a few guidelines: A short ceremony. Simple, mostly traditional elegance. Lots of fun for family and friends.
Molly had two other venue requirements: Nice floor. Nice ceiling. "No carpet that looked like it came from Chuck E. Cheese. No drop ceiling. No water stains," she said.
Molly figured if those surfaces were in good shape, it said good things about the venue and its staff.
The couple married at Crossroads at Montgomery Church in a ceremony performed by the Rev. James Camlin. The reception for 250 was held at the Blue Bell Country Club.
"We wanted a party atmosphere where everyone was on the dance floor the whole time," Molly said. "It was all about the people who were there, and they were truly having a good time, and that was awesome," Nate added.
Everything was a busy blur of ticking item after item off the wedding checklist, right up to 15 minutes before go time. Nate was sitting in the basement of the church, and through the window he saw the parking lot getting more and more filled. "That's when it hit me, all of these people are here for Molly and I! It felt like 'this is it' and also the craziest thing — a surreal moment that was almost humbling."
Molly hates it when all eyes are upon her. She fully expected to be completely overwhelmed with nerves. But she wasn't. "Waiting in the vestibule to go down the aisle, I was so calm. And it struck me in that moment, 'OK, this is definitely what I'm supposed to be doing.' "
The budget crunch
Best bargain: Instead of printing programs, the couple hired an artist friend to produce a chalkboard with everyone's names and the order of events on it. It's now displayed at their Harleysville home.
The splurge: Hiring someone to do calligraphy on the invitations and table cards.
Ten days in Maui that included golf at Kapalua and a full-day snorkeling excursion.
Behind the scenes
Officiant: The Rev. James Camlin, Crossroads at Montgomery Church, Colmar.
Reception: Blue Bell Country Club, Blue Bell.
Music: Ceremony soloist: Audrey Trullinger; cocktail hour guitarist/singer: Bill Hatalski; DJ Bill Hentz.
Photography: Elizabeth Azzolina, Azzolina Photography, Huntington Valley.
Flowers: Chantilly Floral Boutique, Lansdale.
Dress: Lazaro, from Nordstrom, King of Prussia.
Hair/Makeup: Toni Zuccaro and Dawn Huffman, Looks Inc., Cedars.
Groom's attire: Country Bride Bride & Gent, West Point.