When she was in grade school, Colleen Horn remembers having “sort of a crush” on Patrick Doyle.
But he was five years older — a colossal difference at that age. Patrick didn’t really notice the little girl in the plaid St. Nicholas-St. Mary’s uniform, though he knew she existed because their families had been friends for generations.
It wasn’t until she was attending Villanova University School of Law and he was working in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office that a gathering of Bishop Hoban High School alums brought them together.
In a bar filled with singing and piano playing, Colleen stood out.
“There’s a spark about her that makes you feel more alive,” Patrick said.
By the end of the evening, he asked: “Colleen Horn, why aren’t we dating?”
Thus began the courtship that led to the couple’s Sept. 14 wedding at St. Nicholas Church in Wilkes-Barre.
Both Colleen, 27, and Patrick, 32, say it was meant to be. On their wedding website, they suggest their late grandfathers, “Pop-pop” George Horn and ‘Pop’ Joseph Doyle, who were best friends and neighbors on Maxwell Street in the East End section of Wilkes-Barre, may have pulled some heavenly strings to bring the couple together.
“They sincerely believe their grandfathers had something to do with it,” said mother-of-the-bride Mary Ellen Horn.
The young couple both wanted to return to the Wilkes-Barre area where they had grown up, and Colleen was the first to have an opportunity to do so, thanks to a job offer from Rosenn, Jenkins & Greenwald.
Perhaps it was Pop and Pop-pop’s doing, then, when a big shiny car pulled up alongside Patrick as he was walking on Broad Street in Philadelphia.
“Literally, within a week of Colleen’s deciding, I was walking to work, right past City Hall, the day after I convicted a drug dealer,” Patrick said. “When the car pulled up, I was scared that it was a hit.”
But the car contained attorneys William Anzalone and Jamie Anzalone who said they’d just been talking about Patrick. Would he like to join them for coffee and discuss how they wanted to expand their Wilkes-Barre law firm?
“I loved my job in Philadelphia,” Patrick said. “But I thought, ‘This is all supposed to happen.’ I couldn’t say no.”
Back in Northeastern Pennsylvania, the couple officially became engaged on Aug. 24, 2012, in the parking lot of St. Nicholas Church.
“It was where we both had gone to school and where we go to church,” Colleen said, adding the parking lot also had been the scene of a St. Patrick’s Day kiss the couple remembers as a sign they wanted to be together forever.
“That sealed the deal,” Patrick said.
The proposal itself entailed quite a bit of planning and took place on a Friday when Colleen believed she and Patrick would be driving to the shore. She was eager to start the trip, but then Patrick’s brother called and said he needed his running shoes that were in the trunk of Patrick’s car. Patrick suggested the parking lot as a meeting place and asked Colleen to join him in rummaging for the shoes.
“It was just the two of us in the parking lot. I said, ‘Colleen, I can’t find them. Will you help me?’ Then I went down on one knee.”
After she said yes, the bride-to-be was surprised by the arrival of a limousine that whisked the couple to her parents’ home in Kingston, where Neil and Mary Ellen Horn had invited 100 people to an engagement party. Adding to the festivities was an airplane that flew overhead pulling a banner that read, “Congratulations, Colleen and Patrick … Engaged!”
Soon there was another celebration, exactly one year before the wedding, during which the couple’s pastor, Monsignor Joseph G. Rauscher, blessed the engagement ring. “It’s a family tradition,” Mary Ellen Horn said, explaining her parents, Jack and Cece McCarthy, had arranged similar ring blessings when she, her brother and her sister each became engaged.
Then the planning began in earnest. The bride found a dressmaker to custom-sew a gown and complemented it with a 12-foot veil. Three hundred guests were invited, and a flower girl and two ring bearers were chosen, along with 11 bridesmaids and 11 groomsmen, many of them friends since childhood.
“We each have friends we went to school with that we still spend a lot of time with,” Colleen said.
The groom’s parents, Patrick and Maureen Doyle, arranged a rehearsal party at the Luzerne County Courthouse. “It’s a beautiful building that so many people don’t get to see unless they have jury duty,” the bride said.
“In honor of our very Irish grandfathers,” a bagpiper greeted the couple at the church, which was decorated with white orchids on golden tree branches, giving some guests the impression of an enchanted forest. The offertory gifts, carried by the godparents of the couple, included donations to the bride and groom’s favorite charities.
“We wanted to come back here, and we want to try to make Wilkes-Barre a little bit better,” Colleen said, noting the couple enjoys serving on the boards of the St. Vincent de Paul Kitchen and Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
The reception was at the Radisson in Scranton, followed by an “afterglow” and, the next morning, by a breakfast. The honeymoon is a trip to Mexico and, upon their return, the couple will move into a new home in Plains Township.