Deidre Smith and two of her girlfriends were dressed as "the Three Amigos," inspired by the movie of the same name. They were decked out in colorful ponchos and the requisite oversized sombreros. Stephen Pfister and a few of his buddies were costumed as highway road cones, complete with flashing yellow lights atop their heads.
It was the day after Halloween in 1996. Because they were among only a handful of Fells Point bar-goers in costume, Deidre and Stephen believe now that they were destined to meet.
The couple -- both die-hard Halloween lovers -- assumed all of Fells Point would be marking the Thursday holiday on Friday. And that is how they both came to be dressed in costume the first time they saw one another -- at Max's on Broadway.
But one of Stephen's buddies proceeded to talk Deidre's ear off. By the time Deidre had a chance to chat with Stephen, her friends were ready to head to another Fells Point bar.
The road cones and the amigos met again later that night at the Admiral's Cup. But Stephen was dancing with another woman -- whom Deidre (wrongly) assumed was his girlfriend. And Stephen's buddy cornered Deidre for conversation once more.
After the last call of the night, as the two groups of costumed party-goers were exiting the bar, Deidre did something completely out of character. She walked up to Stephen -- whom she'd barely spoken to -- and told him how attractive she thought he was. (Since she was the designated driver that night, it definitely wasn't the beer talking, Deidre recalls laughing.)
When Stephen didn't respond, Deidre walked away, a bit embarrassed. A few minutes later, Deidre heard footsteps behind her and saw a flashing yellow light out of the corner of her eye. She and Stephen exchanged phone numbers.
A week later the couple met for dinner and deep conversation at a Chinese restaurant. (Stephen, who grew up in Carroll County, was working as a field-service technician for a regional biomedical firm at the time. Deidre, a graduate of Loyola College, had returned to the Baltimore area from her native New Jersey to take a job and reunite with college friends.)
When Deidre told Stephen she was tired of guys who were only looking for a short fling, she was sure she'd scared him off. But Stephen, too, was looking for a long-term relationship. Before the night was over, the couple decided they didn't want to date anyone else.
After a two-year courtship, Deidre and Stephen got engaged on Christmas Eve 1998. On Aug. 14, they were married in a Roman Catholic Mass at St. Joseph's Church in West Orange, N.J. Stephen's sister Julie was a bridesmaid. His brothers Robert and James served as ushers, as did Deidre's brother, James D. Smith Jr.
The 130 guests included Deidre's parents, Beverly and James D. Smith Sr. of West Orange, as well as Stephen's parents, Harriet and Robert Pfister of Mount Airy.
Shortly before they wed, Stephen, 33, and Deidre, 30, realized a longtime dream of Stephen's and moved to Great Falls, Mont. Stephen, an avid outdoorsman, had spent much time visiting Montana and wanted to live there. Deidre -- who shares Stephen's love of hiking, camping, horseback riding and other outdoor activities -- made his dream her own shortly after they met.
Deidre and Stephen postponed their honeymoon so that Deidre could begin teaching anatomy and other courses at a branch of Montana State University near their new home. Stephen is looking for a job in the biomedical field.
They are already planning their first Halloween as husband and wife. "It was always my favorite holiday," Stephen says. "And now it always will be," he adds, flashing Deidre a brilliant grin.