In honor of Valentine’s Day, the love story of Mary Beth Lacki and Paddy McFadden
Submitted on behalf of parents Michael and Margaret Lacki of Grand Island, and Mark and Helen McFadden of Eastbourne, East Sussex, U.K.
Our story begins ...
When Mary Beth met Paddy, she was a year out of university, with eyes on the future to teach English in France. Paddy, still in “uni” in England, with floppy hair and a Cookie Monster T-shirt, was thrilled at the prospect of living in the land of wine, cheese and mustard – and to have it all count toward his degree.
In an effort to make a new friend, Mary Beth reached out to Paddy in a mutual teaching group over Facebook and asked if he’d be her friend. Why Paddy over anyone else? Well, yes, his picture was cute but, if we’re being honest, it was actually his name that caught her attention: Paddy McFadden. With this guy, Mary Beth was certain of three things: He’d have an accent; he’d have a great personality; and he’d be funny.
She was right.
When Paddy met Mary Beth, he liked her from day one. But geography, circumstance and Paddy’s teenage awkwardness meant that any romance had to bide its time. Even between care packages, birthday well-wishing, and Mary Beth staying with the McFadden clan in 2014, there was still no romance in the air. Only what-if daydreams … including one where Paddy envisioned marrying Mary Beth.
He was right.
In 2017, on a work trip in Massachusetts, Paddy drove past the most blatant sign you could imagine: a street-sign labeled "Mary Beth Lane." While there was no burning bush or lightning bolts, it was enough for Paddy to level up his confidence and invite Mary Beth to visit him in London. Sensing adventure (and cheap travel), Mary Beth said “Yes” without hesitation. Their first date was amidst the twinkling stars at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, and the rest is history.
It didn’t take too long for Paddy and Mary Beth to realize the depth of their affection was shared. Though they only saw each other about every six weeks, they both believed they’d found their match.
Mary Beth and Paddy on Aug. 14, 2021 ... (Submitted photo)
In September 2018, Paddy proposed at Gapstow Bridge in Central Park, having secretly flown up to Buffalo the day before, been granted Mike's blessing, and bribed Peg with a lovingly wrapped sack of onions as per McFadden tradition. Post engagement, a long-distance relationship continued, further strengthening their commitment, patience and love.
On Valentine’s Day in 2020, the couple sent off Paddy’s visa paperwork with the expectation that it would take no more than five to seven months to be processed by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. One global pandemic, 301 days apart, and successfully maneuvering for months through all of the red tape and hoop-jumping of the governments, Paddy's visa was finally approved in March 2021. Paddy and Mary Beth entered the U.S. together on the sixth of August 2021 and were married in Dene's Summerhouse (“The Treehouse of Dreaming”) in Central Park, on the 14th of August 2021, in the presence of her parents, brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew, and virtual presence of Paddy’s parents and brother, and their family and friends. (Thank you, Zoom!)
July 14, 2022 … (Submitted photo)
But they wanted to celebrate in person with everyone! On the 14th of July 2022, 10 members of Mary Beth’s family flew to Paddy’s hometown (Eastbourne, England) for a second wedding. Their fairy tale wedding was celebrated at St. Pancras, a 12th century church in Arlington, followed by a celebration of love at the Milwards Estate, set in the beautiful Sussex Downs countryside of Laughton.
And not to forget her family and friends here in the states, eight family and friends of Paddy’s flew to Grand Island this past fall for a third wedding! The celebration took place at St. Stephen’s Church with a beautiful reception at the Buffalo Launch Club, overlooking the scenic Niagara River on Oct. 1, 2022.
One husband and wife, and three amazing dresses! It was and is a dream come true.
Mary Beth and Paddy now live in Queens in New York City. Mary Beth keeps forgetting that Paddy is as tall as he is, and Paddy likes being able to talk to her in person without the signal dropping.
Eleven years after they first met, and four years of a long-distance engagement relationship, Mary Beth and Paddy are so excited start this next chapter of their lives together – and to have celebrated with all those close to their hearts! After all, why not? If we’ve got one life to live, here’s to making every day count!
And Oct. 1, 2022 (Submitted photo)