Arthur was rambunctious and Faith on the shy side when they met as 3-year-olds in the Margate Jewish Community Center preschool. When Faith's dad, Donald, a dentist, came to demonstrate proper oral hygiene, Faith held the model teeth. Donald chose Arthur to hold the flashlight, but Faith tried to take it away from him, because Arthur kept shining it in everyone's eyes.
Classmates all the way through third grade at the Hebrew Academy, Faith and Arthur never really became friends - even when Donald and Arthur's dad, Arnold, later became tennis buddies in a local league.
Arthur and Faith then went to different elementary schools, but their families were members of the same synagogue. Faith always recognized him at youth group events - his red hair is unmistakable - but they never spoke.
Then in the 1990s, Arnold and Donald were both diagnosed with cancer. Wherever they ran into each other - at synagogue, the grocery store, the mall - Faith's mom, Penny, and Arthur's mom, Margarita, would stop to hug and talk.
Arnold passed away in 1996, Donald in 2000. Among the things they left Arthur and Faith: a love of tennis.
In April 2002, Faith, then a sophomore at Egg Harbor Township High School, was manager for the boys' tennis team. The team was playing Atlantic City High School and Faith was writing down scores when she saw the familiar red hair of one of the Atlantic City players.
"He was standing there waving at me, trying to get my attention," Faith remembered.
Arthur saw a cute girl, so there was no way he was not talking to her. He didn't realize that he already knew her.
"Arthur Manelis, you have no idea who I am, do you?" she asked him.
"Noooooo," Arthur said, a puzzled look on his face. "Oh God, what did I do now?" he wondered.
She told him her name, which he instantly recognized - his mother had been giving him updates on Faith's life for years.
"You look nothing like that little girl in preschool," he said. In addition to no longer being a child, Faith had grown out her once short and curly hair, and traded glasses for contacts.
They talked for months over AOL Instant Messenger. Then that summer, Arthur called to invite Faith to his all-boys Jewish youth group's formal dance.
She wore a dress in different shades of blue. He wore a collared shirt and khakis.
Arthur was no longer rambunctious, Faith said. He was a lot of fun. And while Faith retained some of her shyness, she felt very comfortable with him.
"From the second I actually started talking to Faith, I knew she was a very true, honest, good person," Arthur said. "That is something hard to come by, and it always made me feel good to be around Faith." And she was really cute.
They went to each other's senior proms. At Rutgers, she earned a degree in accounting and management and he a degree in finance. Arthur persuaded student housing to let him live on the same floor as Faith. Junior year, Faith got an apartment off campus, and Arthur persuaded the landlord of the place across the street not to renew his former tenant's lease and instead rent to him. After graduation, Faith, who is now 26 and is a CPA for Ralph Lauren, and Arthur, also 26, an associate in treasury operations for Goldman Sachs, found a Hoboken, N.J., apartment together.
How does forever sound?
Whenever the couple spoke of marriage, Faith told Arthur she'd love a surprise proposal. This would not be easy.
"Faith is like the Jack Bauer of our relationship," Arthur said. "Nothing gets by Faith."
So in the months before Faith's 25th birthday in February 2011, Arthur started telling little fibs, and giving false clues.
He asked if she'd like to be proposed to in public. She said with her family there. No way, he said, it was too private a moment to share with family.
He planned a weeklong trip to London and the Netherlands two weeks after her birthday and filled her in on all the details.
He invited 20 of her friends out for a birthday dinner, and both of their families for brunch the very next morning.
"She was so worried about her family getting there she was not paying attention to me at all," Arthur remembered.
Brunch was at the W Hotel in Hoboken.
Faith's brother, Chad, is a professional magician, and often tries out new tricks on family first. Faith usually enjoys it, but when Chad began setting up in front of her when their meals were expected any minute, she was a little annoyed at his timing.
"Just let me show you," Chad said, as he covered a fork and knife with a napkin.
"You probably want to see this one," Arthur told Faith. "This one's a keeper."
"Can you confirm the fork and knife are still under there?" Chad asked Arthur.
When Arthur lifted the napkin, he unveiled a little red box.
Faith's heart pounded fast and she began to cry. Arthur got down on one knee beside her. "I knew ever since you yelled at me at the tennis courts that you were the one for me," he said. "Will you be so kind as to marry me?"
"Yes," Faith said.
In the throes of happy excitement, Penny leaped from her seat and hugged Arthur.
"Let him put the ring on her finger!" the families said.
He did, and then everybody jumped up for hugs.
It was so them
The couple were married before 250 guests at the Curtis Center in Philadelphia. Jewish tradition says no diamonds can be worn beneath the chuppah, and so it was Faith's father's wedding ring that Arthur placed on her finger.
Faith's grandfather, Leonard, had been a part-time cantor. He recited the Seven Blessings.
Pictures of Arthur and Faith from their preschool days were displayed in the reception space.
This was unexpected
Arthur's Uncle Alex made a speech. "Think about the tennis match your fathers are having now, looking down on this," he said. Just then, a glass fell off a waiter's tray with a loud crash.
Arthur is not a nervous sort, but was feeling a little anxious the day of the wedding. Until he saw Faith. "When I saw her in her wedding dress, it was like, 'OK, this is for real,' " he said. "She looked outrageously beautiful, and I was ready to go."
Faith had always loved those YouTube videos of elaborately choreographed first dances. Two nights before their wedding, Arthur had a surprise for her: He had come up with original choreography to Frankie Valli's "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You," a song from Faith's favorite musical. Dancing together on their wedding day, Faith had to concentrate on the just-learned steps, but she could hear everyone clapping their support as she danced with her new husband.
A bargain: Since the bride works for Ralph Lauren, the groom got a tux, bow tie, shirt, shoes, and cuff links at a significant discount.
The splurge: The bride's Jimmy Choo shoes in a hard-to-find size 5. "I tried on every pair of silver shoes in New York City, and only one fit me and were comfortable, so I couldn't say no," she said. The cost was about six times what Faith typically spends on dress shoes.
Two weeks in Hawaii.
BEHIND THE SCENES
Rabbi Aaron Krauss of Beth El Synagogue in Margate, N.J.
The Atrium at the Curtis Center, Philadelphia
Cescaphe Event Group, Philadelphia
Jason Prezant Photography, Wilmington
Video One Productions, Havertown
Janis Nowlan Band, Philadelphia
Designed by Allure, purchased at Tesi Bridal, Northfield, N.J.
Beautiful Blooms, Philadelphia
Heavenly Occasions, Galloway Township, N.J., and The Write Address, Livingston, N.J.