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It’s just what we all need to hear — college sweethearts, first friends, then more, get engaged. This heartwarming story of Natalie and Alastair’s courtship shows that love always wins, even in the midst of a pandemic. Natalie telling the story of being quarantined together is positively charming — as is their whole fairy tale.

Photo courtesy of of Natalie Cloak and Alastair Borillo

How did you meet?

Alastair and I met at a social event at Widener University in fall 2017. He was a junior and I was a freshman. We didn’t talk for a while, and then reconnected in spring 2018 through a mutual friend. Alastair needed a date to his fraternity formal and asked me. We had an amazing night getting to know each other, and from then on we basically talked every day.

I returned home to Maryland that summer, while Alastair stayed in Pennsylvania. We talked daily and became best friends. At the beginning of the fall 2018,  we went on a college-sponsored excursion to Philadelphia and Alastair asked me to be his girlfriend. We took our first official picture in front of the Logan Square fountain! (See photo above.)

Alastair graduated from Widener spring 2019. I again went home to Maryland again for the summer, but we did visit each other frequently. 

Photo courtesy of of Natalie Cloak and Alastair Borillo

When did you “know”?

The following year in March 2020, when Widener and the world shut down, I stayed with Alastair because I wanted to stay close to campus and had no idea how long this “COVID” would last (if we only knew…!). As scary and uncertain this time was, it was one of the best things that could have happened to Alastair and me. Being quarantined with each other allowed us to become even closer — we were all each other had! We went on many hikes around Pennsylvania and tried every hard seltzer under the sun. We supported each other through his job going remote and my doing nursing school virtually.

In spring 2021 I graduated from Widener University School of Nursing, and we moved into our own apartment outside of Philadelphia. 

Photo by Matthew Porter Photography

Tell us about the engagement moment!

On Aug. 24, 2021, we went into Philly to have dinner. When we approached the Logan Square fountain — which we’ve passed so many times since that first day as a couple — Alastair got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. It’s a sentimental location, to say the least! 

We began planning our wedding very soon after. We looked a various indoor city and outdoor venues and ultimately decided on Robert Ryan Catering & Design’s Barn on Bridge.

Photo courtesy of Natalie Cloak and Alastair Borillo

How is the wedding planning going?

Going into our venue search, neither of us had any clue what we wanted. We quickly narrowed it down to outdoor venues, though. We found that a lot of venues were booked all of spring and summer 2022. We were feeling pretty discouraged until I came upon Barn on Bridge in a Google search. I’m pretty sure I literally typed in “outdoor barn wedding venue” in the search! After scrolling through the website, we instantly felt this is a place we have to visit because we loved the simple, rustic feel. I reached out and quickly got a response back from Amanda Frangoulis. We checked it out, and simply loved the outdoor ceremony space at the venue, along with the renovated barn. It felt like it fit our personalities — it’s not over the top, but it is really beautiful. Aside from the perfect venue, it was Amanda who really sold us on Robert Ryan’s event planning team. Neither of us really had any idea how to plan a wedding, but Amanda assured us that she would help us step-by-step. She is always quick to respond to emails, and always has the answers to all of our questions. 

We’re really excited! We can’t wait for Aug. 6, 2022!

Photo by Melissa Vergo Photography

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Robert Ryan Catering and Design plans and executes over 400 events each year, boasts a five-star rating on WeddingWire and has received WeddingWire’s Couple’s Choice/Bride’s Choice Award seven years in a row. Learn more about Robert Ryan Catering & Design and tour our venues. Subscribe to our e-newsletter for exclusive offers, up-to-date news and recipes from our executive chef.

Nina Malone

Featured photo by by Melissa Vergo Photography