Kerry Hansen and Matthew Furey
May 19, 2018, in Villanova
Kerry played a heavy-drinking shut-in in the Harriton High School theater company production. Matt built the set and was in charge of the stage crew.
"She was friendly, down to earth, and nice to everyone," Matt said. "She was pretty, and a good actor."
He became a huge fan, and for the rest of his junior and senior year, he nursed a crush on Kerry. She had no idea.
"He never talked to me," Kerry said.
Matt, who is now 35 and national sales manager for Clarisse Designs in Philadelphia, graduated from high school in 2001, moved to New York, and earned a degree in dramatic writing from New York University.
Kerry, who is now 33 and pursuing a furniture upcycling business, stayed local after graduating two years later. She studied early-childhood development and had worked in early-childhood education.
By the time Matt walked into a Fishtown lounge in early 2008, they hadn't seen each other in seven years. Two of his New York friends were playing with the band. Friends from Harriton High were meeting him there, and Kerry was with them.
Matt hadn't thought of her much since high school, but it was fun talking to her again. Kerry didn't remember him, but she liked him.
They hung out with the same group whenever he was in town, and by the time Matt moved back to this area four months later, they were close friends and Scrabble opponents. Matt found himself falling for Kerry a second time.
"She's a really caring person," he said. "People will tell her their life story because she's so easy to talk to. She's funny and friendly. And, of course, she's beautiful."
No longer the shy kid he once was, Matt vowed to do something about it this time. But before he had a chance, Kerry started dating his roommate.
One night, she was out with him when Matt, after a drink or two, texted him that he'd better not break this kind woman's heart. Kerry wasn't sure what that meant.
A few weeks later, Kerry was at the guys' house when she started having a panic attack. It was Matt who helped her through it. "He took me to this playground, and we were sitting on the swings, and just talking forever. It was so, so nice," she said.
A few days later, Kerry was in the living room when Matt, who had a job interview, came downstairs in a suit and tie. Mesmerized, Kerry had an epiphany: She was dating the wrong guy.
Kerry stopped seeing Matt's roommate, who was soon seeing someone else. Matt and Kerry began spending time alone together.
"I was always so relaxed around him. And he's probably the smartest person I've ever met. And he's really funny," she said. "I really liked Matt, but I didn't know if he liked me in that way."
A couple of months later, they were watching a movie. "We just started making out," Matt said. That cleared things up.
Six months after that first kiss, Matt told Kerry about his two-year crush back in high school.
In late 2011, the couple rented a Conshohocken apartment together. Then in 2013, they bought their home in Lafayette Hill.
That summer, Matt asked Kerry to spend the weekend at his parents' Sea Isle Shore house. When he asked her to go for a sunset walk along the water, she had a feeling he wanted to ask her something important.
After getting ready, Kerry headed downstairs and promptly tripped on one of the baby gates the Fureys were using to contain the small herd of cats and dogs adopted by Matt's mom, a veterinarian.
She had injured her knee and could not put any weight on it. "I can do this! I can do this!" Kerry said as she hobbled.
Matt devised an alternative plan requiring less mobility. Instead of a sunset walk, they had a sunset sit on the deck, along with the rest of Matt's family. After the last of them took the hint and went inside, Matt got on one knee.
"You are the one I want to be with for the rest of my life, the most important person in the world," he told her. "Will you marry me?"
She managed a yes through her tears.
The couple wanted to build their savings before getting married. "We knew we were going to spend the rest of our lives together, but we wanted it to be right, not right now," Matt explained.
After an almost five-year engagement, a ceremony and reception for 74 were held at Appleford Estate. Her parents walked Kerry down the aisle. "When I got up to where Matt was, I was death-gripping his hand and just staring at him," she said. "It was almost like an out-of-body experience where I was completely focused on him."
Matt smiled so much and so hard that his face felt weird. Officiant Elizabeth Frumin leaned over and whispered: "Remember to breathe."
"That was good advice; I might have passed out," Matt said. "I felt like I was about to burst into tears of joy the whole time."
The ceremony was a celebration of the couple's love, and of the love of the family and friends there to support them.
With much-needed guidance from their friend Cliff — a former wedding planner who now works with Matt's company as a runway director — the couple chose an ivory, lavender, and light- and dark-blue color scheme. The flowers created the exact elegant atmosphere Kerry had hoped for, thanks to Cliff's florist friend Gina of Magnificent Floral Events.
The couple shared the limelight with Matt's nephew, then 2, who stayed up way past his bedtime and lit up the dance floor.
Right after the ceremony, the couple, their parents and siblings, and the bridal party were taken to a big room with several couches and an old fireplace to relax for a few minutes. "I remember walking with my now-wife into the room, and everybody else walking behind us," Matt said. "I turned around, and it was this moment of realizing that this is about us, but it's also about these two families and our closest friends, and that this is one big family now. It was a great feeling."
Kerry isn't much of a dancer, and she convinced the more-coordinated Matt that they didn't need to do anything fancy. So when Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat began to sing "Lucky," they wrapped their arms around each other and swayed, school-dance style.
"My god, it was such happy contentment, knowing this is where I'm supposed to be and this is the man I'm supposed to be dancing with," she said.
A bargain: In addition to creating a beautiful and personal ceremony, the couple's officiant fielded questions from other vendors, ensuring that musicians knew their cues and the photographer knew when key moments would happen.
The splurge: The venue, Appleford Estate.
A mini-moon at Skytop Lodge in the Poconos, to be followed in the fall with 10 days in Belize.
Officiant: The Rev. Elizabeth Frumin, Narberth.
Ceremony and reception venue: Appleford Estate, Villanova.
Food: John Serock Catering, West Chester.
Photography: Justin Mayer of JPG Photography, Philadelphia.
Flowers: Magnificent Floral Events, Philadelphia.
Dress: Leanne Marshall, New York City.
Hair/Makeup: Jay Michael Salon, St. Davids.