December 31, 2012, in Broomall

JANELLE GROSSE and ANDREW DUNN. ( Photo: Amanda Young, Swoon Over It Studio)

Hello there

At the end of his workday at Barnaby's in Holmes, Andrew, the banquet manager, headed to the bar and joined a friend's birthday celebration.

He was introduced to Janelle, a recent nursing-school graduate who worked at Pennsylvania Hospital. The two talked a lot that spring night in 2006, discovering a network of mutual friends and a shared alma mater: He had graduated from Springfield's Cardinal O'Hara High School two years before she did.

"She had a very good sense of humor," Andrew said. "She is laid-back, and we have a lot in common."

They got along so well that before the party broke up, Andrew, who is now 30, asked Janelle, now 28, for her number.

"What the heck, he's a nice guy," Janelle thought, and gave him the digits.

Both had crazy work schedules, and they never seemed to have simultaneous time off. Then that summer, Janelle spent most of her spare time at a Shore house rented with girlfriends. Scheduling dates was not easy.

"We talked a lot. We got together for dinner a few times," Janelle said.

Their relationship grew, but slowly. By fall, they found ways to see each other.

Andrew liked "her whole personality," he said.

He made Janelle laugh, and impressed her with his kindness. When he worked late, he always offered to pick up Janelle and her friends after their night out and drive them home.

The couple spent any coinciding nights off trying new restaurants together, or revisiting their Stephen Starr favorites.

In 2009, Janelle got an offer to work for a traveling-nurse agency in Florida. So they could move together, Andrew took a job tending bar in the Sunshine State. "Moving away with her, it was a big step," he said.

Andrew's mother and sister live in Tampa, and Janelle enjoyed getting to know them well.

In late 2010, the couple moved back home so she could take her current job as an oncology nurse at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and he could become manager of Stinger's Restaurant and Bar in Secane, Delaware County.

Before their return, Andrew and Janelle took two weeks to fulfill a shared dream: They drove across the country in a rented RV. Well, he did the actual driving. "I was terrified to drive that thing," she admits.

They explored Panama City, Fla.; New Orleans; Dallas and Austin, Texas; Biloxi, Miss.; Flagstaff, Ariz.; Las Vegas; the Grand Canyon; Hoover Dam; and San Diego, where they met up with friends and saw an Eagles game.

What was it like for two people who work opposite schedules to spend most of two weeks with only each other?

"I learned she didn't like to drive," Andrew joked.

"It actually went great," Janelle said. "We didn't fight a lot, or anything like that."

They felt free and adventurous, Andrew said, and it was wonderful to see and do so many different things with Janelle.

Both came home convinced the other was "the one."


How does forever sound?

Since arriving back in the Philadelphia area, Andrew and Janelle, who recently bought a home in Havertown, have shared a single day off: Wednesdays.

Wednesdays are sacred couple time, so Andrew's September 2011 suggestion that they visit a few pubs and have dinner at Pod was no surprise.

After dinner, Andrew drove to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Eyeing the brightly lit fountain in Logan Circle, he quickly pulled into a parking space. "She thought it was really weird," he said. "And then we went for a walk, and we don't do that, either."

Andrew asked a stranger to snap a photograph, surreptitiously showing him a piece of jewelry that underlined how important the photo would be.

"I thought we were just smiling for a picture," Janelle said. But then Andrew was on one knee, saying he loved her so much, and asking him to marry her. "I was crying and laughing so hard, I don't even remember his exact words," she said.

Andrew was so nervous that he handed Janelle the open jewelry box. At her suggestion, he took the ring out and slipped it on her finger.

Andrew had asked Janelle's father for his blessing weeks before. Both families and many friends were waiting at the Grosse family home in Broomall, where the couple's engagement was celebrated with cake and champagne.


It was so them


Janelle and Andrew were married in a traditional Catholic ceremony at St. Pius, her childhood church, in Broomall.

Andrew kept his late grandfather Carmen's pocket watch with him all day. In her bouquet, Janelle carried a World War II medal that belonged to her late grandfather James and charms made by her maid-of-honor with photos of her grandfather Neil and friend Lauren, who have also died.

The New Year's Eve reception for 250 featured clock designs everywhere and fireworks on the cake. Groomsman Fran and his wife, Julie, were wed on the same night three years previously, so their wedding song, "Love Me Tender," was played in their honor.

The wedding date and reception location - the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel on Broad Street - were chosen so the bride, groom and their friends and family could easily be together the next day for one of their favorite traditions, the Mummers Parade.

As an infant, Janelle watched the sequins and feathers from her parents' arms. In high school, she and her friends always met outside the DoubleTree to watch the parade. When they became a couple, the parade became Andrew's tradition, too.

The couple and their guests booked 80 rooms that night. "We all could wake up and be right there where we all usually go," Janelle said. And this year, those who got cold could go inside for a bit.




For Andrew, the most memorable moment was watching Janelle and her father walk down the aisle toward him. He couldn't stop thinking, "I'm so lucky."

Their first dance was to James Morrison's "You Make It Real." "All day, there was just so much adrenaline, and a certain time when you have to be there, do this," Janelle said. "That was the first time that it was really just me and him."


Discretionary spending

A bargain: Janelle canceled the $900 photo booth booking when she spotted a Groupon for $350. It was a big hit.

The splurge: The 25 Mummers-style umbrellas Janelle made for the bridal party - deep red and purple glitter trimmed with silver for the girls, and silver and gold glitter trimmed with black for the guys - didn't cost much. The time investment, however, was significant. "It took me six months to make them," she said.


The getaway

Ten days in Hawaii.




Msgr. John J. Jagodzinski, retired priest in residence at St. Pius X in Broomall


Ormandy Ballroom at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Philadelphia


Catered by the DoubleTree Hotel


Cocktail hour: Stephen Moran from Clifton, Pa.

Reception: Mike DiTomo from Schaffer Sound Disc Jockeys, Media


Amanda Young, Swoon Over It Photography, Philadelphia


Bill Connell, New Pace Productions, Havertown


Tom Covello, Celebrations Design Group, Wilmington, Del.


La Sposa from Lizelle's Bridal Boutique in Havertown