Aug. 20, 2022, in Springfield, Delaware County
The day after Sarah received her 2011 Springfield High School diploma, she and some friends drove out of Delco to the Wildwood Shore house they rented on Poplar Street with hopes of an epic summer.
Josh, who grew up in East Lansdowne, Delaware County, was already down the Shore. He finished his freshman year of criminology studies at West Virginia University and was lifeguarding at Splash Zone. One day after work, he heard “Yo, Josh,” from a second story balcony. It was his buddy Joe — his childhood neighbor until middle school, when Joe’s family moved to Morton in the Springfield School District. They caught up and Josh met some of Joe’s Senior Summer housemates before continuing a few more blocks to his Poplar Street rental.
The next day, Josh and his friends set up a spot on the sand, and Joe’s housemates settled in close by. Among them was someone Josh had not yet met: Sarah. The two groups chatted throughout the day, including Sarah and Josh.
“She was so fun and outgoing,” said Josh, now 31. “She has blue-green eyes, but with this little spot of orange in her left eye that is so unique. She just struck me.”
When Sarah packed up to leave, Josh told her he was walking the same way. “Can I carry your beach chair?” he asked. She let him.
At her place, Josh asked if he and his housemates could come up for a drink.
“I thought he was being very forward,” said Sarah, who is now 29. Then someone from her house told her Josh and Joe were friends and it seemed OK. After drinks, Josh later texted an invitation for her friends to join his for a house party. That was where Sarah had to admit she liked Josh’s outgoing personality as much as he liked hers. “I couldn’t help myself,” she remembers. They kissed for the first time that night.
The summer was indeed epic. Then Josh returned to West Virginia and Sarah studied dance at Georgian Court University in Lakewood, N.J. They made no commitments, but spent every school break and a second wonderful summer together, and their feelings grew.
Sarah left school to teach dance full-time. By the time Josh began his senior year, she was running a studio and her schedule allowed her to visit him. In 2014 he graduated, moved back to Delaware County, and went to work at a detention center. The job was never a good fit. Josh found something great — financial crime monitoring with Wells Fargo, but the job was in Charlotte, N.C.
He and Sarah were determined to make their relationship work. After 18 months of seeing each other once monthly, Sarah decided to look for a dance instructor job in North Carolina.
“He’s a very caring person, especially for me,” Sarah said. “He’s always been there for me, and I knew he would continue to be.”
She received a job offer while visiting for Josh’s 25th birthday in summer 2016. But later that day, Josh got the worst phone call of his life: His twin brother, John, had unexpectedly died.
John, who had a special ability to make anyone smile, had an intellectual disability. Communicating was sometimes difficult for him, Josh said, and by the time anyone realized he had a problem with his gallbladder, it was infected. He died of septic shock.
Josh’s heart was broken. So was Sarah’s.
“She didn’t leave my side,” Josh said. “She stayed at my parents’ house with me on bereavement leave, and she was right next to me at my brother’s funeral.”
Josh could not stand the thought of being so far from his family. He found a job in Wells Fargo’s Philadelphia office and moved back home.
The couple bought their home in Springfield in 2018.
COVID-19 was tough, but it brought good things, too, Sarah said, including time at home with the rescue puppy they could not resist naming Daisy, or, more formally, Daisy Dukes.
Sarah and close friend Amanda taught dance together for years. In fall 2020, they realized their dream of owning their own studio, 313 Dance.
“She puts 110% into everything she does,” said Josh. “That shows with her new business, with our relationship, and with the relationships she has with friends and family. She’s amazing.”
On March 13, 2021, Sarah and Amanda held a grand opening celebration for 30 masked friends and family members. Josh was so proud and so happy. As he watched Sarah having fun and posing for pictures in front of the studio logo, he realized it was the time he had been waiting for.
“What’s up with you?” asked his mother, Joanne. “You’re so deep in thought.”
“I want to propose,” he said. “Now.”
Everybody had been asking the couple when they were getting married, already — including Sarah’s beloved grandmother, Mimi, who wanted Josh to give Sarah the ring Mimi’s late husband had given to her.
Mimi was overjoyed when Josh asked for the ring, but there was a hurdle: It was stuck on her finger.
Josh found Sarah’s father, Mike. “Remember when I asked you for your blessing to marry your daughter? I think it’s a good day for me to ask. But we have a problem.”
Mike, a plumber, got tools from his truck. Mimi got soap from the bathroom. A few minutes later, Josh had the ring. He asked Sarah’s niece and nephew to ask her to take a photo with them.
Joyous rumors had begun spreading through Sarah’s family. “I could tell something was going on because there was all of this commotion. And then everybody was standing around with their cameras out,” she said.
It wasn’t until the group let out a happy scream that Sarah saw Josh kneeling beside her. She hadn’t heard his question but did hear him say he really needed her answer.
She said yes and he put Mimi’s ring on her finger.
In January 2022, Josh took a new job as a financial crimes consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Seven months later, the couple wed in a Catholic ceremony with full Mass at Holy Cross Church in Springfield — where Sarah’s parents had married.
The morning of the wedding, a friend delivered a gift from Sarah to Josh — a handkerchief embroidered with the words “He’s in you every day, especially today,” a reference to both Josh’s late brother and Josh’s tattoo that honors John’s memory.
Guests passed a candle lit for John when they entered the church.
Sarah will never forget the moment she saw Josh at the altar. He won’t, either. “I had the craziest feeling where at first I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders — I was so nervous,” he said. “But then as she got closer to me and her hand was placed in mine, I felt as light as a feather.”
A reception for 225 was held at Ellis Preserve in Newtown Square. “I was very much about the dancing at the reception,” said Sarah. “We had a DJ and a drummer, and once the reception started, I kind of wanted to get the speeches over with so the dancing could start.”
The two were announced to the song “Wildwood Days,” commemorating where they met. Their first dance was to “I Will Spend My Whole Life Loving You,” by Imaginary Future and Kina Grannis.
Sarah was obsessed with having the right photos to enhance their memories. Some of her favorites are the ones photographer Ashlee Mintz captured of her and Josh with Daisy. “She’s our little baby, and I had a little dress for her and everything,” she said.
The couple honeymooned for a week in Jamaica, where their favorite thing was the lack of a schedule.
Next comes babies. “We’ve been together so long and we’ve done everything we have ever been excited to do,” said Sarah. “Now we get to do all of those things over again, and this time, with some kids,” said Josh.