We asked, you answered: Michelle and Patrick Parrish were voted by Patch users as Ardmore-Merion-Wynnewood Patch's cutest couple. Here's the story behind the photo they submitted, their first date, Patrick's close call with their wedding, and more.
You can vote for the Parrishes in the Greater Philadelphia Cutest Couple Contest here. Voting will end at 10 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 12.
Patrick, 32, and Michelle, 31, met the first day of Michelle's freshman year at Penn State, and Michelle made quite the impression.
"[Patrick] crashed his bike while I was walking, and I laughed at him (nicely), and asked if he was okay," Michelle said. "Years later, he told me he really crashed his bike because he did a double-take when he saw me. So, he always tells people he literally fell for me."
It wasn't until years later that they started dating, though. The pair, both art majors, wound up in many of the same classes—and while they became best friends, they never shared their feelings for each other, Michelle said. When Patrick later transferred schools, the two lost touch.
"He always tells people he literally fell for me."
Five years later, Michelle signed onto an old Instant Messaging account from college and "instantly received a frantic message from him," she recalled.
"He had been searching for me for years and wanted to tell me he had feelings for me the whole time, but couldn't find contact information listed for me anywhere," she explained.
So after spending years together as friends, and then five years apart, Michelle visited to Pittsburgh to reconnect with Patrick, and have their first official date.
"By the time the waiter came over to get our drink order, I knew I would marry him," Michelle said.
Michelle and Patrick were engaged in October 2009, while Patrick was stationed in an army base in Virginia. Patrick had wanted to plan something extravagant for when he popped the question, Michelle said—but he was so excited, he drove from Virginia to her apartment in Ardmore and proposed to her on her front steps.
"By the time the waiter came over to get our drink order, I knew I would marry him."
"I was shocked and speechless with happiness," Michelle remembered. "It had taken 10 years for us to finally get to that point."
The couple had thought Patrick was nearing the end of his term in the army when they got engaged, but outprocessing plans stalled his return for 18 months, during which Patrick continued living in Virginia.
"There was a time when it seemed our wedding would never really happen. I wanted to run to a courthouse with him just to finally be his wife, but he knew I always dreamt of a full wedding and kept urging me to wait," Michelle said.
Eventually, the pair decided to make plans anyway. They set a date and put down deposits, crossing their fingers that Patrick would make it to the wedding. With less than two months to go before the wedding, Patrick was officially discharged.
"It really felt like a new beginning after everything we had gone through just to be together."
Then began the scramble to let friends and family know to really save the date, find a florist, book a DJ, and everything else.
After the hustle and bustle, "the day itself went flawless[ly]," Michelle said:
The weather was perfect. There wasn't a cloud in the sky, it was a cool 68 degrees, and the church, St. Colman in Ardmore, was decorated with extra flowers from Easter.
It really felt like a new beginning after everything we had gone through just to be together. The photo we submitted to Patch we call 'The Kiss', and feel it reflects the sigh of relief we felt on finally being married!
Michelle and Patrick live in Wynnewood with their two rescue cats. You can vote for them as Greater Philadelphia's Cutest Couple by voting here before 10 p.m. Tuesday.