Dan Bove and Joe Russo realized they both had a love of the outdoors on their first date, which was at Spruce Street Harbor Park.
After meeting online, the couple met in person July 1, 2015, on a night that Russo described as “one of those awesome, warm summer evenings.”
“We both like being outside so that was a nice spot to meet up for the first time and get to know each other a little bit,” Russo said.
Bove, 35, and Russo, 37, spent the next few weeks getting to know each other and they found out how much they both loved the city of Philadelphia. This love ended up translating to their wedding last month.
The husbands were the first couple to have a wedding ceremony at the SugarHouse Casino. Russo said they were initially hesitant about getting married at a casino but said they fell in love with the venue as soon as they walked in, noting its view of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge.
“Not only did we get married in Philadelphia and have a Philadelphia theme, we also had the mayor of Philadelphia [officiate] our wedding,” said Bove, noting Mayor Jim Kenney’s role at their Feb. 11 wedding. “And having a liberal mayor at a gay wedding is so perfect.”
“He has always been so appreciative and supportive of our community,” Russo added. “Just the fact that he was able to take the time and do this for us is really cool, especially in this time.”
Bove and Russo both said they fell in love with each other quickly.
“I knew right in that first date that he would be in my life for a long time,” Russo said. “I think I knew right then and there.”
“It wasn’t very long when I figured out that this is a very interesting guy,” Bove added. “I really feel comfortable being around him. I wanted him to be a part of my life forever.”
The couple proposed to each other in May 2016, about 10 months after their first date.
“Joe told me he had an engagement ring for me,” Bove said. “He was going to give it to me but he wanted to do it at the same time. The next Friday, I surprised him with a ring and asked him to marry me and the next morning he asked me to marry him.”
The couple had different engagement rings but Bove said they were “very similar.” Now, they sport matching wedding bands.
Bove said the husbands recently bought a house that they plan to paint and make their own. They said they wanted a space where their families could visit.
“Both of our families are very important to us,” Bove said. “I really appreciate that it’s a very big part of his life because it’s a very big part of my life too.”
Russo noted Bove’s sense of humor.
“I think anybody who would meet Dan would tell you that he has this quirkiness,” Russo said. “We laugh at the stupidest little things. It’s his smile that gets me. He’s just so happy.”
The couple noted that getting married when they were a little older helped them figure out who they were as individuals.
“It’s important to know yourself,” Bove noted.
“Get to know each other and make sure that he’s the right one,” Russo added as a word of advice. “If that takes a few years, it takes a few years. That’s fine. We were on the older side when we got married and a lot of people get married when they’re younger and that’s completely fine. Just make sure you know them. Get to really know that they’re the ones.”