Laurie Ann Phillips, 41, is senior director of communications at the Consumer Electronics Association in Arlington County. Dan Rosenthal, 46, is head of finance for Texas-based Fonality, a technology firm. They live in Tenleytown.
Wedding date: Feb. 14
Location: Empire State Building
How they met: Laurie Ann Phillips, who is divorced, and Dan Rosenthal, a widower, were set up on a blind date in fall 2011 by a mutual friend. They e-mailed for a while before deciding to meet for dinner at Et Voila, where they talked for a couple of hours and discovered how much they had in common. Single parents of two children each, they had to return home earlier than they wanted to relieve their babysitters. The relationship progressed; they met each other’s children (all under 12), went on a spring break together and “fell into a rhythm of a unit of six,” Dan said.
The proposal: Dan and Laurie Ann made a decision to buy a house together in June. When Laurie Ann said she felt as if she should be wearing a house on her finger, Dan bought her a silver ring with a tiny house. For her birthday in August, Dan gave her a diamond band to be worn as an engagement and wedding ring.
The wedding: While researching a family trip to New York for Thanksgiving, Dan was looking at the Empire State Building Web site, where he learned that couples could enter a contest to be chosen as one of three to get married in the famous building on Valentine’s Day. “Let’s apply,” Laurie Ann said. They made a two-minute video about why they deserved a wedding there, submitted it to the contest and got word Jan. 23 that they had been selected. Celebrity event planner Preston Bailey created a ceremony and reception for each couple and 20 guests. Their table, covered in a green cloth with pink and green accents, was topped by an awning of orchids, hydrangeas and roses.
The honeymoon: A five-night vacation in Anguilla is another perk of winning the contest. Laurie Ann and Dan are planning to go — without their children.