Paul Vrooman had the perfect proposal in mind for his girlfriend, Leigh Anne Reeves. But he had to do some quick thinking when she ran into him earlier than expected. “On May 20, 2006, Paul dressed in his suit as though it was a normal Saturday and he was going to work,” says Leigh Anne, a special-education teacher in Pennsauken. “I went shopping at the mall. On the way home I passed Paul, without his suit on, so I called his cell. He told me to meet him at home.” It turns out Paul, who is a wine representative in Burlington County, had taken off from work and had met Leigh Anne’s parents for lunch to ask for their daughter’s hand in marriage. When their cars passed, Paul was returning from a local Japanese restaurant where he had the chef place her engagement ring in a piece of sushi. “Given that his surprise had been altered, Paul presented a take-out container to me in the parking lot of our apartment and proposed,” recalls Leigh Anne.
For their perfect day, the couple selected unique locations for both the ceremony and reception. The wedding was held at the Haddon Fortnightly in Haddonfield, which was built in 1857 as a place of worship and eventually became a civic and social club for women. The couple wrote their own vows and had them printed in the programs so that the guests could follow along. Another special touch was when Ryan, the ring-bearer and nephew of Paul, carried the rings tied to a baseball glove instead of a pillow.
The pair’s reception was held at The Merion in Cinnaminson. “This venue has a strong personality with big domed ceilings and a round dance floor,” says Mark Kingsdorf, the couple’s wedding planner and owner of The Queen of Hearts Wedding Consultants. “When the venue has a strong personality you don’t want to fight it, so the couple went with round tables and colors that worked with the room. They used a lot of creams played up with shades of green, and it worked really well.”
A mashed-potato bar during cocktail hour was a big hit and everyone, including the couple, was surprised when the staff came out with sparklers and each presented Leigh Anne with a red rose until she had a big beautiful bouquet. “A bride can never have too many flowers!” she says. The pair also switched things up by starting the night off with a first fast dance followed by a father-daughter choreographed routine. “My dad came up with the idea and rehearsed with me every Friday for months,” says Leigh Anne.