Allie Shanks and Matt Czermanski
Oct. 15, 2016, in Wayne, Pa.
Matt was hanging out with his friends at a young adults with disabilities social group at Wayne Presbyterian Church when he saw Allie walk in.
"The first time I saw her, she caught my heart," he said.
Allie had actually noticed him a few moments before, outside the church, but didn't think they were part of the same crowd. "He had a leather coat on, and he had a cigar hanging from his mouth," she said, remembering the events of that 2011 day. "I thought he came from a Harley-Davidson kind of group."
Soon after things got started inside, Matt introduced himself to Allie. "He came up to me, and he had a big smile on his face, and he was blushing," Allie remembers. "He shook my hand very tightly."
From then on, Matt, who grew up in Malvern and graduated from Great Valley High School, and Allie, who grew up in the same town but graduated from Conestoga High, always talked at group. They became good friends. Everyone at group enjoyed spending time together, and one day, Matt invited the lot of them to his home in Wayne for a game night.
"When we were all leaving, he goes, 'May I have your number? I want to start calling you,' " Allie said.
She gave it to him. He called a few days later, and they decided on a movie at his house -- Bad Teacher -- followed by dinner at Margaret Kuo's.
They walked to the restaurant. "We had a nice dinner, talking together," said Matt, an executive assistant at his mom's company, Great Valley Publishing.
"And then we really went too far," said Allie, now 27. "Matt had never kissed a girl on a first date, but he did with me, at the table."
Matt was nervous about taking so bold a step. He kept leaning forward, and then leaning back into his chair. He was also shaking a little.
"Can you stop shaking, so I can kiss you?" Allie asked. Her encouraging words calmed his nerves, and he kissed her with confidence.
After that, "our relationship just took off," said Matt, who is now 37. Both are very into fashion. "We're shopping partners at the mall," Allie said. They also continue to spend a lot of time with their big group of friends.
Why did they fall in love? "Because of how nice she is to me, how good she is to me," Matt said. "Matt is nice and sweet," said Allie. "He's outgoing, has a good personality. He's friendly -- he's everything."
How does forever sound?
Eight months after they started dating, the couple joined Matt's family at their beach house in Avalon for July Fourth weekend.
Out on the deck, Allie, who previously did cleaning at a local college but now is an office assistant at Great Valley Publishing, became a bit concerned for her boyfriend. "I thought he was going to faint -- he started sweating like an animal!" she said.
"During the fireworks, in front of my family, I got down on one knee, and I asked her if she would marry me," Matt said.
Allie was quiet. "I was in shock, and I was thinking about my mother," she said. Her mom had advised her not to rush the relationship. She and Matt had been dating for eight months. Would her mom think it was too soon?
"Can you just say yes?" Matt asked. "I'm tired of being on my knee."
Allie decided to do exactly what she wanted. "Yes," she said.
"Everybody, she said yes!" Matt yelled.
Calls were made to Allie's mom, Cindy, and Matt's dad, Sandy. Sandy was already in the know. Cindy was surprised by the news -- and very happy to hear it.
It was so them
The couple, who now live in Wayne with Matt's mom, Kathy, and his brother Jeff, and their dog Ruby, wed in a traditional Catholic ceremony at St. Isaac Jogues Church. Matt wore a black tuxedo, and Allie describes her dress as "kind of princess-y."
A reception for 114 followed at the Desmond Hotel in Malvern. "We had a heart-shaped sweetheart table," Allie said.
When the couple walked into the room, Sammy Kershaw's "Love of My Life" began to play for their first dance.
Later, Allie surprised Matt by dancing for him to Meghan Trainor's "Dear Future Husband." She did the choreography herself. "It was funny, and I also thought it was really nice," Matt said.
"When we were at the altar, saying our vows, it made me feel very special and happy," Matt said. After the vows, they got to kiss. "It felt great to kiss for the first time being married," Allie said. "We were both crying at the same time."
The budget crunch
A bargain: Fabulous flowers at a good price.
The splurge: "I can't think of anything," Matt said.
A week in Palm Beach, Fla.
BEHIND THE SCENES
Officiant: Pastor Stephen A. Moerman, St. Isaac Jogues Catholic Church, Wayne
Venues: St. Isaac Jogues, and The Desmond Hotel, Malvern
Food: The Desmond Hotel
Photography and Videography: Mike Lantzy
Flowers: Blue Moon Florist, Downingtown, and Maureen Zoumont at Flowers by Ida, Houston, Texas
Dress: David's Bridal