Neighborhood Strangers from Bristol Meet at College, Bond Over Cookies, Marry During COVID

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couple with books
Image via Hieu Pham at The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Engagement photo of Christopher Sarachilli and Melanie Santiago; they're reading notes they wrote to each other as undergrads.

Bristol couple Melanie Santiago and Christopher Sarachilli grew up near each other. Their circles of friends intersected greatly. But they didn’t connect 1:1 until they shared an Italian class in college. Kellie Patrick Gates covered le nozze that ensued in The Philadelphia Inquirer.

He was an English major taking an Italian language class at Arcadia University. She was an Italian-Psych double major in the same course.

A class assignment brought Sarachilli and Santiago together. In making a presentation on ricotta cheese, Sarachilli baked his aunt’s cookies that featured the ingredient. Santiago liked them — a lot — and found herself drawn to the chef who created them.

They lunched together, shopped together, discussed short stories together.

Sarachilli’s cookies were the beginning; his red sauce sealed the deal.

“He made some really good spaghetti,” Santiago said, describing an early, official date for which he cooked.

They fell in love and got engaged at a picnic for two along the Wissahickon Creek.

The pandemic overturned their original wedding plans; however, the couple united through a self-licensing program in Philadelphia. Sarachelli’s brother witnessed.

In September 2021, they joined again, this time with family and friends.

The officiant’s opening words were in Italiano, in deference to their shared past.

More on the union of this Bristol couple is at The Philadelphia Inquirer.

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