Updated: Friday, September 15, 2017, 7:43 AM
Tara Hughes and Fred Reichwein III
June 1, 2017, in Bensalem
Fred and Tara met in 2006, when a mutual friend brought him to hang out at the Hatboro house she shared with her son, Joey. Fred instantly fit with the gang that would gather at her place to barbecue or watch the game, and it didn’t take long for Fred and Tara to form a close friendship.
Tara impressed Fred. “I saw what a good mom she was. She was 22 at the time, and working at CVS not making a lot of money,” said Fred, a painter and contractor from Warminster. “It made me want to spend time with her, and really get to know her.”
Fred made Tara laugh. “He has the most incredible sense of humor, and I love to laugh,” she said. “In this life, there’s enough misery!”
Sometimes, Fred would come over solo to visit Tara and Joey, who adored him. He was always so kind, and would do such helpful things as carry in groceries as if it were nothing. Over the next couple of years, Tara learned, “I could call him for anything that my son or I needed, and he would be there for me.”
Tara knew she was falling for Fred, but she also knew leaving the friend zone would risk not just her heart, but Joey’s.
Fred knew he was falling for Tara, but he cared too much for Joey to be incautious. “I grew up in a house where my sister and I have different dads, and I know the responsibility that comes with that,” he said. “I wanted to be sure.”
One day in winter 2007, after some mild flirting to test the waters, Tara decided it was time. “I looked at him one day and thought, you know what? This is happening,” she remembered. “I kissed him.”
Fred kissed her back, and they began building a life together.
So, you want to get married?
In December 2009 – the December after the Phillies won the World Series – the couple found out that Tara was pregnant with Fred IV, aka Freddy. They got a place in Warminster for their growing family.
Fred, now 32, works full time in maintenance at Symphony Manor in Feasterville and part time as the assistant junior-varsity baseball coach at Archbishop Wood High School, with his father, Fred Jr., who is the head JV coach. Fred also volunteers as head coach of the Warminster Pioneers 125-pound tackle football team for 12- and 13-year-olds, is a member of the Pioneers’ board of directors, and is assistant coach of Freddy’s Warminster Basketball Association team.
In 2009, Tara, who is 35, became assistant controller for Bafco Inc. She volunteers as the Warminster Pioneers’ parent coordinator, also serves on its board, and is committee chair of Joey’s Boy Scout troop.
The committed couple had casually talked about getting married, someday, when time and money were in greater supply. But in spring 2017, Tara saw a link on Facebook about the “Almost Newlywed Game” and wedding giveaway, a contest sponsored by SportsRadio 94WIP and Celebrations wedding venue in Bensalem. The first step was an essay, and Tara figured she might as well write one. She submitted it March 27.
The next day, Fred got a phone call from her just before baseball practice started: “Guess what? I’m going to be on WIP!” she said. Why, Fred asked, was she going to be on his sports talk radio station? She read him her essay.
Hours later, Fred listened to her interview as the Wood players finished their indoor workouts. “I turned to my dad and said, ‘It looks like on April 7th, I’ll be at WIP studios, because she knocked that interview out of the park.’ ”
On their way home from one of Freddy’s baseball practices, just after the announcement that the couple would compete for the big wedding prize, Tara asked Fred, “Do you even want to get married now?”
He chuckled. “It’s a little late to get off this train!”
The April 13 competition, which centered on the three couples’ knowledge of each other’s Philadelphia fandom, was tough. Fred knew Tara’s least favorite moment was when Jeremiah Trotter left her Eagles. She knew the last time he cried over sports was when his Phillies won the World Series. The tie-breaking point came when Fred correctly picked the number between 1 and 30 that host Chris Carlin had in mind: 14 — the Eagles’ draft pick.
Their wedding theme was evident right from the invitations, which were designed by bridesmaid Chandra to look like Eagles game tickets.
Tara walked down the outdoor aisle to a bagpipe version of “Here Comes the Bride,” a nod to her Scottish heritage
Freddy was ring bearer and Joey a groomsman and usher. He had a great-grandmother — Grandmother Jane and Grammy Peggy — on each arm.
Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham became ordained to perform their ceremony. “He is a really nice guy, and he took a lot of care with this,” Fred said. “It was outstanding — the icing on the cake,” Tara said. “He did great and had fun with it.”
For the start-of-reception introductions, Tara, Fred, and the 17 members of their wedding party threw a Phillies or Eagles jersey over their formal attire and made a grand entrance to a theme song of their choosing. The bride wore Trotter, the groom wore Utley, and they walked in together to Ne-Yo and Fabolous’s “You Make Me Better.”
Celebrations provided food and cake for the cocktail hour and reception for their 148 guests. “They treated us as if we paid for everything out of pocket, and the food was phenomenal,” Fred said.
The WIP prize package also included the couple’s rings, provided by Steven Singer; the guys’ tuxes, provided by Ventresca’s in Doylestown; and a bachelor party at Cheerleaders in South Philadelphia.
The couple covered her dress, the DJ, the florist, photographer, and adult beverages including their signature drinks: an Eagles-green Touchdown Martini for her and a Phillies-red Field of Dreams for him.
Tara had received wedding proposals in prior relationships and turned them down. “I always wanted to make sure it was the right one,” she said. Her father, Craig, holding back tears, walked her the long distance from the building to the outside aisle, and then finally she saw Fred, waiting at the other end in his tux. “When I saw Fred, I felt like, ‘this is the moment I was picturing this whole time, for my whole life.’ ”
“I was in awe of my beautiful bride,” Fred said. “During our first dance, everyone was quiet and just focused on us. Looking face to face into her eyes and listening to the song, I took a deep breath. It was just about us, and it was such a great feeling.”
The budget crunch
A bargain: Winning the big prize.
The splurge: Tara wanted the lower-end alcohol package. Fred said, “Let’s just do it all, and do it right.” Both agree that was the right call.
Four days in Ocean City, N.J.
BEHIND THE SCENES
Officiant: Eagle Brandon Graham, who became ordained to officiate
Venue and catering: Celebrations, Bensalem
Music: DJ 2 Cool C and DJ Bri, Philadelphia
Photography: Brittany Kinney, Moments in Milestones Photography, Telford
Flowers: Infinitely Yours Flowers, Bensalem
Dress: Mon Cheri Bridal’s Enchanting collection
Hair: Krissy Werner-Brown; Makeup: Bonnie Haley Warminski at Salon 724, Bensalem
Groom’s attire: Ventresca LTD., Doylestown
Read full story: Weddings: Tara Hughes and Fred Reichwein III