June 18, 2022, in Cape May, NJ
Andi and Brett met at the eighth and final bar on their first July Christmas bike ride to Wildwood Crest in 2014.
They were both 21 years old. He was a lifeguard with the Beach Patrol, which hosts the annual Bike Bar Crawl. She was spending the summer as she had done most of the time: at her parents’ beach house. That year, she had a summer to-do list: Beach Patrol Christmas in July, check! Along with the T-shirt, Andi got Brett’s phone number, but she didn’t think much of it.
Honestly, their conversation wasn’t that memorable. Yet for the next two weekends, every time Brett walked into a bar, he found himself looking for Andi. “I was texting her late at night, but she wasn’t having any of it,” he said. If she had responded with her own beach bar location, he would have immediately gone to meet her there. But “either she didn’t answer at all, or she answered the next day”.
Andi, who grew up in North Wales, Montgomery County, was open to dating Brett, but late at a bar was not the way she wanted to get to know anyone. One day she sat on her parents’ deck, gazing across the bay at the post that marked the last item on her summer to-do list. “I wanted to swim to the post and back, and I thought of Brett – since he was on Beach Patrol, he was definitely a good swimmer. He seemed like the perfect partner for this task.
Brett happily accepted Andi’s midday text request. “I was honoured,” he said. The next day, he met Andi at her parents’ house and he swam alongside her as she reached her latest summer goal.
“When we came back – and I’ll never forget this – his wonderful mother had this lovely plate of nachos on the table for us,” said Brett, from Washington Township, Gloucester County. “That’s when I was like, ‘I love this family! ”
They ate the nachos, talked for several hours, and watched the sun go down together. Their goodbye included a kiss.
“As I was about to leave, I saw that my bike had been stolen,” Brett said. The 30-minute walk to his roommate didn’t spoil his mood at all.
The two saw each other as often as they could, but his return to College of New Jersey and his to Drexel University came way too soon after that big swim in the bay. The following summer on the Shore, they were an official and exclusive couple.
Andi, now 30, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in design and merchandising in 2014, got an apartment in Philadelphia with friends, and went to work. She is now a merchandise planner for clothing company Free People.
Brett, now 29, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communications in 2015 but already knew it was not the right career for him. He didn’t know what was right. To save money, he moved in with his parents. It was a frustrating feeling, Brett said, but Andi got him through it. “Once I told her that I wanted to go back to school for education, she motivated me. She told me that she knew I was going to be a great teacher one day. Thank God, there she was.Brett received his Masters in Education from Wilmington University in 2020. He now teaches math at Gloucester City Middle School.
In February 2020, the couple moved into a Fairmount apartment, where they still live. “It was right when COVID hit, and soon we were stuck together almost all the time,” Andi said. But none of them cared.
“She’s the most loyal friend I have,” Brett said. “She would do anything for me, and it’s so nice to know that I’ve never had someone locked in on me like that. Plus, she’s super driven about her job and funny as hell. hell.
Andi said she admires the way Brett can build meaningful relationships so quickly. “He exudes positive energy and people – all types of people – want to be around him. He’s a source of comfort to everyone in his life. That really makes him special, and that’s why he’s so good at his career,” she said. “He’s also super nice, very sweet and very caring. And he’s the funniest person I know – if you can laugh every day, it’s a good life.
In November 2020, Brett spoke to Andi’s parents, Joseph and Julia, and her parents, Jill and Erik, about his proposed proposal. Then he asked for a little help from his best friend, Shane, and his sister, Julia.
“Shane never went on the steps of the art museum,” Brett told Andi. “We have to take him there.”
Andi was in on it — the steps are one of the couple’s favorite places in Philadelphia, so of course they should show Shane them.
At the top of the stairs, Brett knelt down and Julia started taking pictures.
Andi looked so stunned that Brett felt the need to reassure her. “It’s real,” he said. “Would you marry me?”
“Yeah,” Andi replied.
The couple married on the deck of Lobster House in Cape May. “The atmosphere of Cape May and Wildwood Crest is so sentimental for us and so comfortable for us that we couldn’t have imagined our wedding anywhere else,” Brett said.
He and Andi asked his father’s cousin, Richard, to marry them, in part because they admire the fun marriage of Richard and his wife, Melanie. Richard was ordained online and he, Andi and Brett wrote the ceremony together. “We wanted it to be traditional, but very light, short and sweet, but still meaningful,” Andi said.
Richard shared some stories about Andi and Brett, individually and as a couple. The bride and groom chose not to write their own vows, but rather to exchange their private thoughts and feelings in letters that each read alone on their wedding morning. They recited the same vows that Andi’s sister, Nicole, and her husband, Steve, had chosen. “She also married a lifeguard and we had our reception at the same location,” Andi said.
The couple took a boat from the Lobster House to this location – the Corinthian Yacht Club – to celebrate with 250 guests.
“We really wanted it to be laid back and fun, but really tasteful, and we wanted the decor to involve things that were meaningful to us,” Andi said. “We wanted it to be like the best night of the summer, and then someone threw a wedding,” Brett said.
The couple enlisted the help of event designer House of Catherine to create the right coastal vibe. The seating chart was a big wave with names written on surfboards – a nod to Brett’s affinity for the sport. Brett and Andi’s favorite beer comes from Cape May Brewing Co., so they, their friends and family saved some empties, which Andi’s mom turned the empty cans into candles. Guests entering the reception area found shelves full of cold Cape May Brewing beers. At the end of the night, the same shelves held a gift – the candles.
“We had a really amazing band – Go Go Gadget – and everyone was dancing, listening to sunset music and having a great time,” Andi said.
“I was about 50 feet from the dance floor, and watching all the people who matter most to me having a good time was a euphoric, almost out-of-body experience,” Brett said. “It was our wedding, and it was one of the coolest moments ever.”
The couple spent 10 days in Maui and Oahu. They enjoyed hiking and beach time, snorkeling with tropical fish and turtles, and surfing.
The house-hunting couple hope to find their next home in Haddon Township, New Jersey.
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