Erin Pealer and Andrew Wagner

June 30, 2018, in Berwyn

Hello there

With Conestoga High School's 2012 senior prom just a few weeks away, Andrew had no date.  "Do you know Erin Pealer?" his buddy Connor texted as a suggestion.

Andrew turned to his baseball teammate Matt, who was with him at a team event. "Who's Erin Pealer?" he asked. "Tall, blond hair, drives a yellow Jeep," Matt said.  Andrew still didn't know who Erin was, but since she was friends with Connor and his prom date, Bree, and everyone was going in a giant group, he decided to invite her to prom. But how?

Andrew’s prom proposal to Erin in their senior year at Conestoga.
Courtesy of the couple
Andrew’s prom proposal to Erin in their senior year at Conestoga.

"There was a friendly competition among the guys to ask girls to prom in a grand gesture, to see who could come up with the biggest idea," he said.

A few days later, after the last bell, Erin headed for the student parking lot. There was a flower taped to a window of her Wrangler, and a note asking her to look toward the baseball field.

There was Andrew Wagner — she recognized him from one of her cheerleading friend's junior prom photos — and another baseball player, holding a brown tarp between them.  They dropped the tarp to reveal neon pink letters taped to the back of the dugout: "Erin prom?"

Andrew took a deep breath and shouted the first words he ever said to her: "Erin, will you go to the prom with me?"

Red with embarrassment from being the center of so much attention, Erin shouted back her first word to him: "Yes!"

They were one of 12 couples who went to prom together. It was fun, and Erin texted the next day to thank him for inviting her.  A week later, they played yard games with Connor and Bree.  At graduation parties, they always talked to each other.

Erin Pealer and Andrew Wagner
Alex Schon Photography
Erin Pealer and Andrew Wagner

Erin accepted Andrew's lunch date invitation. There were sparks, but neither expected more than a summer romance — not when their colleges were so far away.  They went to dinner, to the mall, to the movies. And then Andrew went to James Madison University in Virginia to study chemistry.

Even before Erin started her food marketing classes at St. Joseph's University the next week, she called him. "I don't want to break up," she said. "Yeah, neither do I," he replied, and they both started laughing.

"She is so funny, and I always felt so comfortable with her, and was so happy just to be around her," Andrew said.

"He is one of the kindest, most genuine people I've ever met," Erin said. "He was always thinking of things he could do for me, the sweetest things, and I fell in love with him."

They saw each other once a month, and then, after Andrew got his own car, every other weekend.  As his freshman year of college ended, Andrew realized he was more into chemical engineering than straight chemistry. Since James Madison didn't offer that major, he needed to change schools. Because his love was back home, he choose Villanova University.

The couple, now both 24, graduated from college in 2016.  She is a sales specialist for juice manufacturer Lassonde Pappas & Co. in Carneys Point, N.J.  He is an automation and validation engineer for Panacea Technologies Inc. in Montgomeryville.

Engagement

Andrew found a ring in fall 2016. He planned to wait until spring to present it, but in January 2017, he just couldn't wait. They were both living in Devon — she with her parents, Diane and Steven, and he with his, Michael and Rebecca. One night when Andrew knew Erin wasn't home, he sought and received Diane and Steven's blessing.

The next day, Andrew called close friends to ask for help, then once again cut letters from poster board.

He and Erin had dinner at Trattoria Giuseppe in Edgmont, a favorite place, and Andrew wasn't eating. That was odd, Erin thought, and, odder still, he wasn't talking much.

Back in the car, Andrew said Erin's mom had texted to ask if they could pick up her younger sister at Conestoga. But Corinne was nowhere to be found.  No lights were even on.  Just when Erin was thinking her mom had sent them to the wrong place, Andrew pulled into the student parking lot.

"That's when I started crying," she said.

A path of flower petals lined with glowing luminaria led up to the baseball field. On the fence behind the dugout, neon pink letters asked: Erin Marry Me?

Andrew proposed marriage in the same way and at the same place he proposed they go to prom.
Courtesy of the couple
Andrew proposed marriage in the same way and at the same place he proposed they go to prom.

Andrew knelt. Erin composed herself enough to say yes.

It was so them

The couple wed in a traditional Catholic ceremony at the Church of St. Monica, the church Erin grew up in. Andrew's mom had given  Erin a bar pin that is a family heirloom, and Erin attached it to her bouquet.

The thought that went through Andrew's mind when he saw Erin for the first time that day was, "How is she ever going to dance with that long train?" At Penn Oaks Golf Club in West Chester, Andrew found out how. "I was pretty amazed by the whole bustle concept," he said.

The couple with their families.
Alex Schon Photography
The couple with their families.

Rather than a book, their 150 guests signed wooden blocks from a Jenga set. "We're always playing games when we have family over, and we thought it would be fun to play with that, and see the well wishes from all of the people at our wedding on the pieces," Erin said.  No one should ever expect this competitive couple to let them win.

Erin made an extensive play list for their DJ. Andrew had just two requests: Dean Martin's "Volare," an old-school song he's always loved, and Walk the Moon's "Shut Up And Dance," a song that reminds him of his wife.  Her two absolute musts were "Dancing in the Moonlight" by King Harvest and Madonna's "Like a Prayer."

Dessert was also important, added Andrew. "We had to have cannoli."

Erin Pealer and Andrew Wagner
Alex Schon Photography
Erin Pealer and Andrew Wagner

Awestruck

"When the ceremony was starting, I was in the church vestibule with my dad, and it was just the most overwhelming feeling of happiness," Erin said. The doors opened, and she saw everyone they love. "They were together in one place, celebrating with us."

After dinner, their photographer whisked the couple away for a few photos of just the two of them. "Being together with her there and realizing that she was my wife, and that I was going to be with her for the rest of my life, made me really happy, and at peace," Andrew said.

Erin Pealer and Andrew Wagner
Alex Schon Photography
Erin Pealer and Andrew Wagner

The budget crunch

Best bargain: The venue package included food, drinks, cake, linens, and a lot of organizational tasks, the bride said, yielding saving of both money and time.

The splurge: The night ended with fireworks — a surprise for the guests, and the couple's wedding gift to each other, since they were going to be out of the country on July 4.

Honeymooning

Two weeks of fondue and chocolate in Switzerland and beaches and ancient ruins in Greece.

Behind the scenes

Officiant: The Rev. Charles Zlock, Church of Saint Monica, Berwyn.

Ceremony venue: Church of Saint Monica.

Reception venue: Penn Oaks Golf Club, West Chester.

Cake: Cakes and Candies by Maryellen, West Chester.

Music: Chris Romanelli, Schaffer Sound Productions Inc., Media.

Photography: Alex Schon, Alex Schon Photography, Wayne.

Flowers: The Daisy Shop of Devereux, Devon.

Dress: Pronovias, purchased at Bridal Garden, Marlton.

Hair/Makeup: M Matthew Salon, Berwyn.

Groom's attire: Rudi's Formal Wear, Philadelphia.

Transportation: Philadelphia Trolley Works, Philadelphia.