Laurie Butera & Paul Green
November 1, 2020
Laurie and Paul had only texted a few texts since a dating app introduced them, but he was bored, she was having a bad day, and meeting a virtual stranger over a meal seemed like a big deal. good way to reset the trajectory of this cold. , rainy Saturday in January 2014.
He jumped on the train near his apartment in Palmyra, and she picked him up at Norristown station. Just after 7 p.m., they moved into a cabin.
“He told me his life story and I listened and asked questions,” Laurie said. “I thought he was cute, and he was so excited to tell me about his family. He showed me all the photos on his phone. I thought things were going well.
“I thought so too,” said Paul. What he didn’t think was the hour. It was past eleven when they left the restaurant – too late to catch the last train to Palmyra.
Laurie had never driven to Palmyra, and she didn’t want to do it in the night rain. “I suppose you’re spending the night,” she told him.
In his Swedesburg townhouse, Paul quickly befriended cats Toby and Shelby, which Laurie saw as another good sign. It was her turn to talk about her family and show Paul pictures, and her turn to ask the questions.
It wasn’t just words: they kissed before saying goodnight.
The two woke up to dark clouds and the threat of a huge snowstorm. After the cereal, they went to Walmart to buy sidewalk salt.
Paul made her crack. One drive away, Laurie’s mother recognized her daughter’s laughter and went to get her.
Paul saw Laurie’s smile turn to panic. “What’s wrong baby?” he asked, throwing his arm over her shoulder.
“Mum, it’s Paul,” Laurie said nervously. “Paul, this is my mother.”
Paul took his arm off Laurie’s shoulders and hugged his mother.
Back at Laurie’s, Paul salted the sidewalks, then the two settled down to watch some of each other’s favorite movies – her old ’80s vigils and horror movies – as the snow gathered. When Laurie bemoaned all the clearing of the sidewalk that awaited her, Paul volunteered to shovel. He cleared the promenade every few hours and also stayed on Sunday evening.
Laurie, then a pharmacy technician at Bryn Mawr Hospital, worked a seven day, seven day off schedule and was off work all week. Paul took time off from work at a home improvement store on Monday. At the end of their long weekend, they proclaimed themselves boyfriend and girlfriend.
“She’s very smart,” Paul said. “I love her relationship with her parents, and she is gentle and kind to everyone. Plus, she enjoys my company.
“He’s the first guy I was able to trust completely,” Laurie said. “He says whatever he feels or thinks, and he can’t keep a secret for his life, so I never have to wonder if he’s telling the truth. He met my whole family very quickly, and they all loved him, which is important to me. In addition, my cats liked it.
And her cats, Momma Mias and Phillie, loved her too.
The couple watched all 200+ titles in Laurie’s horror collection, all of Paul’s 100+ VHS tapes, made the most of Netflix and Amazon Prime subscriptions, and – before COVID-19 – saw something on big screen at least once a month. In June 2017, they traveled to Somers Point to see John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band, whose music is featured in one of their favorite films, Eddie and the Cruisers.
They were unpacking their luggage at their hotel when Paul said, “I want to be your husband.
“What?” Laurie asked.
” Do you want to marry me ? ” He asked.
“What?” she repeated.
And then, “Did you ask my parents? “
He had not.
It was too late to ask that night, but the next morning Paul called and Laurie’s dad answered. “Sir. Butera, I want to marry your daughter,” Paul said. “That’s great!” Laurie’s dad said. “Does she know?”
“Yes,” said Paul. “She’s setting right here.”
The couple met Laurie’s sister, her brother-in-law and three nephews on the Ocean City promenade. In the beginning it was all about the kids, who were doing rides and playing games while the adults were trying to keep up.
“Laurie! Paul shouted to get his attention amidst all the activity. She turned to his voice, he knelt down and she said yes.
Paul was beaming. Laurie cried. After their family members hugged them, strangers also stopped to hug them.
Due to Laurie’s work schedule, they only saw each other on weekends. She had asked Paul to move in several times, but the man who stayed in her townhouse on their first date always pushed back.
“I knew I was going to do it eventually, but moving in is a huge step, and I had to make the right choices first,” said Paul, now 38. One of the most important: finding a job in Pennsylvania.
His last day at his warehouse job in Jersey was a Friday in January 2018. His first day at Almac, a company that conducts pharmaceutical clinical trials, was this Monday. The weekend in between, he and his cats moved in with Laurie into what is now their home in Eagleville. Paul is now the production coordinator. Laurie, now 37, also works at Almac. She is the project coordinator.
All Paul wanted was to marry Laurie in a way that made her happy and drink white Russians. All Laurie wanted was to marry Paul and have her glasses of coffee liqueur, vodka, and milk be the only place where the color white was predominant.
“I wanted a wedding for Halloween. i wanted a beetle juice wedding. I wanted dark purple and black. I wanted our centerpieces to look like [director] Tim Burton’s Scary Trees, ”Laurie said. “I was not wearing a white wedding dress.”
At David’s Bridal, Laurie found a silver gray Vera Wang dress and an employee who understood her vision and suggested that she sew black tulle. Paul’s outfit was found at Spirit Halloween. It’s a beetle juice costume, but no makeup, so the nod to the movie wasn’t too campy, Laurie said.
The couple didn’t get married on Halloween – Laurie listened to her nephews’ pleas for this day to be her own glorious thing – but the next day. Inspired by their love of animals, they hosted the ceremony and reception at the Elmwood Park Zoo. Their photos were taken with Luna the Jaguar, Sally the Cockatoo, Slash the Red Panda and Stella the Eagle Owl. Their 62 guests also met Stella at cocktail hour.
Due to COVID-19, special precautions had to be taken. Each guest was given a mask, and each table carried a large bottle of hand sanitizer with a sign saying, “Spread the love, not the germs.”
The wedding party walked down the aisle to the theme of the grand finale of Edward Scissorhands. Paul cried, and every time Laurie looked at him, she cried too.
Laurie’s best friend in college was ordained to lead the ceremony, which included a prayer for the deceased loved ones.
The couple’s first dance was a country dance on “Boardwalk Angel” by Eddie and the Cruisers. The bride danced with her father on the Alabama version of “My Girl”. The DJ taught everyone a dance on “Soul Man” from The blue brothers – one of Paul’s favorite movies.
The highlight for the couple was finally getting married. For Laurie, the second best part was watching her unusual take on marriage come to life. Paul was thrilled that they found a safe way to be with almost everyone they love despite the pandemic.
It took two and a half years to save for the wedding, so Laurie and Paul hadn’t planned on going on their honeymoon right away.
“We hope for a birthday we can go somewhere special,” Laurie said.
“How about Salem on Halloween?” Paul suggested.