Upper Darby residents Troy Bandel and Jun San Juan wed in an intimate ceremony July 30 at the Allentown Rose Garden.
Bandel, 51, is a native of Indianapolis who’s lived in the Philadelphia area for 24 years, and San Juan, a native of the Philippines, has lived in the area for eight years.
The couple met online and knew that they had a connection after their first date at a Korean restaurant in Upper Darby.
“My very first impression when I saw him was how cute he was,” Bandel laughed, “but then through our conversation I saw how much more there was to him.”
“He just seemed so nice,” San Juan added. “We had a great time.”
Bandel said their relationship developed naturally from that point.
“It was almost like we had already met in a different time, to be honest,” he said. “I had never met anyone like him and I was just so comfortable right away. There was never this ‘get-to-know-you’ period or any fears or red flags. Everything literally flowed perfectly. It was just like, Wow, this is supposed to be.”
San Juan jokingly brought marriage up, but the conversation eventually became more serious.
While there was not a formal proposal, Bandel did work in the element of surprise when getting their marriage license.
“We had been talking about it so I figured out where you apply for marriage licenses and we went downtown one day. We were walking around and I told him we had somewhere else to go. He was trying to figure it out and we were walking closer to City Hall and he finally was like, ‘I know what they do here!’”
After getting their license, the couple contacted a non-denominational LGBT-friendly officiant, who suggested the Allentown Rose Garden for their venue.
“We didn’t want to do it in City Hall because that’s a bit too sterile so the rose garden was just a beautiful choice,” Bandel said. “It was a beautiful, outdoor private ceremony, just him and I. There were gazebos and a stream, and the whole thing was just beautiful.”
The couple said that the legal recognition hasn’t changed their relationship.
“It just seems normal,” Bandel said. “We’re the same people we were the day before but the only difference is we’re married now.”