If the Mayans are wrong and today isn't the end of the world for everyone, it definitely still is for Cinnaminson man Chris Graboski.
He’s getting married today.
But he and his fiancée, Maureen Benetz, knew this day was coming; they planned a Dec. 21, 2012, wedding three years ago.
“We knew what day we were getting married three hours after we got engaged,” said Benetz.
Benetz and Graboski, both 25 and from Cinnaminson, didn’t have a normal engagement, so why should their wedding be run-of-the-mill?
Graboski asked Benetz’s parents for her hand in marriage on Dec. 22, 2009. But Benetz’s sister stole the limelight when she and her husband were engaged on Christmas Day that year.
Graboski was then set to propose on New Year’s Eve during the Ocean City fireworks, but that didn’t happen either.
Plans changed again.
“I was throwing a hissy fit about going because it was supposed to snow,” Benetz admitted.
At the last minute, she said, Graboski made reservations at the Melting Pot, Benetz’s favorite Philadelphia restaurant.
They were engaged over fondue.
“That night, we went over to the neighbors’ house to tell them,” Benetz said, “and they said we should get married on the end of the world."
Only a few weeks later, the couple booked The Merion in Cinnaminson for today.
“For sure, I thought other brides would be doing the same thing,” Benetz said. “I think I’m the only crazy who is doing this.”
The couple will exchange vows at St. Charles Borromeo, also in Cinnaminson.
The two are 2006 Cinnaminson High School graduates, but didn’t start dating until a few weeks before graduation. One of their first dates was to the prom that year. Graboski actually dated one of Benetz’s best friends, but when that didn’t work out “she pawned him off on me,” Benetz joked.
“She’s our matchmaker,” she said.
That friend, along with two other bridesmaids and her sister, the matron of honor, are all from Cinnaminson. All of Graboski’s groomsmen—save for one—are also from Cinnaminson.
Benetz, a teacher, and Graboski, a network engineer, will leave on Christmas Day to honeymoon in Jamaica—if Earth is still here, that is.
The couple is embracing their doomsday wedding date. Some of their engagement shots show dark, ominous clouds and a certain end-of-the-world song is set to play tonight at their reception.
Benetz hopes the world doesn’t end if only so she can wear the wedding dress she paid so much for.
“If it ends,” she said, “I hope it’s after I walk down the aisle. I hope I get to wear my dress for at least five minutes. And if you think about it—if the world is going to end, why not be in a room filled with the people you love?”