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29/08/2016

College dorm buddies become roommates for life

Even before they became freshmen next-door neighbors at a dormitory at the University of Pennsylvania, it seemed that Naomi Kaplan and Eric Morris were destined to be friends.

In a couple of lighthearted email communications before they even arrived on campus, the two discovered similar senses of humor. And both were certain that they would be, yes, friends.

That first face-to-face meeting had its own quirkiness.

"Eric walked into our first hall dorm meeting having just spent three days camping in the woods as part of an orientation program," recalled Naomi of that long-ago day back in 2007. "He was dirty, but I couldn't take my eyes off of him."

"I saw Naomi, and immediately thought she was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen," Eric said.

But remember, this was to be a great friendship. And it was — at least for a while.

Chick-fil-A mascot

Source: A-line wedding dresses

A surprise guest at the wedding was the Chick-fil-A mascot, a nod to the couple's ongoing love of that chicken, and arranged by the bride's older sister.

Contributed

They were the kind of friends who spent time together, had lunch together, and shared an unexpected love of Chick-fil-A.

But things got a bit murky when Eric, who definitely felt the same ease and comfort, also began feeling that the friendship had reached a certain decision point.

"I wanted it to be something more, and it was a challenge to both of us to address this issue with a best friend."

It definitely was for Naomi, too.

"At first, I was surprised when after a winter break our sophomore year, Eric told me we either had to date or we couldn't be friends. I couldn't imagine losing my best friend, but I realized that if he was the perfect friend, he might also be the ideal boyfriend."

Yes, the plot really thickened. And the outcome was the kind of happy ending and beginning that makes some movies so enchanting.

+5

Mr. and Mrs. Eric Morris

Naomi Kaplan and Eric Morris after their wedding ceremony.

Contributed"We decided to give dating a chance, and haven't looked back since. We've been together for six incredible years, and we can't wait to spend the rest of our lives together," Naomi said.

But before that commitment turned into marriage last November, there was the small matter of a formal proposal. In student life, formality is rare. But Eric began planning a very special proposal and managed to pull it off brilliantly.

Fast-forward to a very special evening at a restaurant in Tarrytown, New York, the kind of celebratory evening that did make Naomi wonder.

A taxi took the couple to Blue Hill at Stone Barns, a farm-to-table restaurant that sits on a former Rockefeller property. Sensing something was up, Naomi looked for signs of nervousness in Eric, but saw none.

The couple had to climb a fairly steep hill overlooking the farm, and suddenly Eric panicked. When he had scoped out the place, he was sure there was an iron bench that would become his proposal spot. It wasn't there.

At that point, he led Naomi into a vegetable garden, and only when he was down on his knee did she comprehend that, indeed, this was "the moment."

The bride and groom are lifted on chairs above the guests at their reception as "Hava Nagila" plays.

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"She immediately started crying, big surprise," Eric said. "But I wouldn't give her the ring until she finally said yes."

A prearranged photographer popped up to immortalize the moment, and there was yet another surprise for Naomi.

Off in the distance, the two sets of parents came up that same hill to join in the celebration — with more tears flowing.

Both agree that the dinner that night will forever live in memory as the glorious culmination of a love that bloomed in a freshman dorm.

Planning a wedding while establishing new lives in New York City was both challenging, and fun, with Naomi occupied with law school and Eric launching his career as an analyst at Caspian Capital Advisors.

But the couple knew with certainty that they would celebrate their Judaism with a synagogue wedding, specifically at her family synagogue, Congregation Beth El in Cherry Hill. So attached is the bride to Beth El that back when she and Eric first began dating, she took him to see the place where, as she told him, "This is where I will get married."

A traditional Jewish wedding ceremony, officiated by Rabbi Aaron Krupnick, was highlighted by the reading of a very special Ketubah, the Jewish marriage contract, created for the couple by an artist in Israel.

A traditional Jewish wedding ceremony, officiated by Rabbi Aaron Krupnick, was highlighted by the reading of a very special Ketubah, the Jewish marriage contract, created for the couple by an artist in Israel.

Contributed

Its words and message, including the commitment to listen to each other openly and wholeheartedly, will stand as a reminder of what marriage means.

Guests then stepped into an environment that looked and felt like a lush garden, with lots of blush, ivory and champagne tones bathed in candlelight.

A surprise guest at the wedding was the Chick-fil-A mascot, a nod to the couple's ongoing love of that chicken, and arranged by the bride's older sister.

Real life has begun as Eric and Naomi, both 27, pursue their careers, she as an attorney now for a major New York law firm and he as an analyst at Caspian.

Like most couples, they do have adjustments to make. Eric cites some classic examples:

The two have different definitions of what "neat" means, he said. Seems Eric's is a bit looser than Naomi's.

Naomi is a night person and her husband is a top-of-the-morning kind of guy.

Hopefully, they will resolve their differences in the glow of the afternoon.

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