Maggie Ebbott and Patrick Haviland
October 13, 2018, in Philadelphia
Maggie’s usual 20 minutes on the StairMaster were long over, but there was no way she was stopping — not when her handsome coworker Patrick, whom she’d been crushing on for months, had crossed the room just to talk to her.
Patrick had stopped in to pick up his gym bag when he saw Maggie on the machine. He had said hello in the cafeteria, and even signed up for the same exercise classes she took, hoping that putting himself in her environment would lead to organic conversation. Here was his best chance yet. He gave himself a mental talking to: “You’re 25 years old. What’s wrong with you?! Go talk to this girl!”
They talked about their weekend plans, and a little about learning Spanish, but both lost most of the details in the adrenaline rush of what was happening. More than an hour later, Patrick asked for her phone number and Maggie gave it. She waited until he was gone to crawl off the StairMaster. She could barely feel her legs.
Maggie was packing for the beach when Patrick gathered his courage a second time to text: “Why don’t you stop in South Philly on your way down the Shore and we’ll get dinner?”
They had sushi and learned more about each other: Maggie, who is now 27, was then interning at United States Liability Insurance, where Patrick, now 31, was an underwriting assistant. She grew up in Blue Bell and was a business management major with a Spanish minor at Clemson University. Patrick spent the first part of his childhood in Rhawnhurst before his family moved to Warminster, Bucks County. He returned to the city to get his finance degree at Temple and never left.
As soon as Maggie left for Avalon, Patrick convinced a friend that they also should spend the weekend down the Shore. Maggie and Patrick met up on the beach the next day. It was after 2 a.m. when they kissed goodnight, and by the time Patrick and his buddy got back to Sea Isle City, they were locked out of the place where they were staying and slept on the beach.
The couple spent every day that summer together.
“I was immediately attracted to Patrick, from the moment I laid eyes on him. Then once I got to know him on a deeper level, I realized how compatible we are,” Maggie said. “He has this energy that is super-contagious. I loved that he was very sure of himself. And then I saw the way he values his relationships with his family and his friends — that made me fall in love with him as well.”
Maggie is “the most beautiful woman I ever laid eyes on, but when I got to know her, it was like she didn’t now how beautiful she is,” Patrick said. He loved their active weekends of hiking and rock-climbing. He also loved the happiness of just being with her. Maggie helped Patrick through one of the most difficult times of his life. “Right before I met her, I lost my older brother John in a car accident, and I was going through so much grief,” he said. “She brought joy into my life when I needed it most.”
When Maggie returned to Clemson, all Patrick’s spending money went toward plane tickets. She moved back home after graduating in May 2014, and they adopted their rescue pup, Niko.
Maggie is now a project coordinator with Turnberry Solutions who works at Comcast. She also teaches yoga at City Fitness. Patrick, who until recently was a senior project manager for Evolution Energy Partners, is now transitioning to a career in health care.
They were getting ready for work one day in December 2017 when Patrick mustered all his acting skills. “Oh, my god! Today’s your birthday!” he said to lower any expectations Maggie might have had.
But he had not forgotten. There were tickets to see Annie at the Walnut Street Theatre — a nod to Maggie’s stint in the title role in the fifth grade. Maggie was delighted by their evening out, and after walking home in the freezing cold weather and snow, she was content to be in for the night. “We have to walk Niko,” Patrick told her. So on went her snow boots and ski coat and off they went to Washington Square Park. Using his physical environment as metaphor, Patrick knelt in front of the Eternal Flame and asked Maggie to marry him.
“I couldn't even feel the cold, I was so happy,” she said.
The couple, who now live in Fairmount, chose to wed in a Catholic ceremony at Old St. Mary’s Church in Old City, mostly for the sake of family tradition, but both are glad they did. “I felt really connected to God in our marriage and the blessing that we were partaking in,” Maggie said.
“It was a very spiritual experience,” Patrick agreed. “And our priest was awesome — down to earth, easy to talk to, and funny.”
At the Bellevue, cocktail hour was held on the balcony, allowing Maggie to watch as 250 guests began entering the reception in the Grand Ballroom below. “Oh, my god, I can’t believe this is happening,” she thought.
Bridesmaid Lea, a professional singer, serenaded the newlyweds with “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”
Patrick’s brother James, his best man, gave a speech that acknowledged the joy of the day and also the sadness and grief that Patrick’s other best man, his late brother John, was not physically with them. “He was able to acknowledge our grief and make us laugh all at once,” Patrick said. “It was perfect.”
After the priest proclaimed them married, Maggie and Patrick took their seats on the altar and took each other’s hands. “I was sitting there with my new husband, and I looked into his eyes, and then out into the crowd of our loved ones,” Maggie remembered. “I thought, ‘Everything I ever needed in life I have right here.’ ”
The joy of marrying Maggie and sharing the day with family, friends, and even the strangers who yelled out their well wishes on Broad Street felt like an embrace from God and the entire universe, Patrick said. “After some of the pain I’ve gone through in my life, to have a day like that, it brings you back to the thought that there really is more to this world than we can see, that we really are all connected spiritually.”
A bargain: The bride designed their invitations and printed them at Staples.
The splurge: Verona, their band. “They were amazing,” Maggie said.
Two weeks in Hawaii, snorkeling off the coast of Molokai, spotting their first whale while on a sunset cruise, making time to watch every sunset, and swimming in a natural tidal pool.
Officiant: The Rev. Paul A DiGirolamo, Philadelphia.
Ceremony: Old St. Mary Church, Philadelphia.
Reception: The Bellevue, Philadelphia
Music: Verona, EBE, Philadelphia.
Photography: Ashlee Mintz, Philadelphia.
Flowers: Carl Alan Floral Designs, Philadelphia.
Dress: BHLDN, Philadelphia.
Hair and makeup: Lucille Harold-Catalano & Lily Paget, Philadelphia.
Groom’s attire: JoS. A. Banks, Philadelphia.