During a comparative anatomy class at the University of South Florida, Anthony Dedea would often bust out quotes from Zoolander to get a reaction from his cute classmate.
"There's more to life than being really, really ridiculously good looking," Anthony blurted.
Lauren Scaglione, who was working on her second bachelor's degree, in biomedical science, was tickled by his quirkiness, but she was dating someone else. So she and Anthony, also a biomedical science major, became friends instead.
Nearly a year later, they gave in to their obvious chemistry and started dating. But dating Lauren would mean big sacrifices for Anthony.
He would land interview after interview with medical schools all over the country. Lauren didn't have as competitive an MCAT score to get in yet, so he deferred each offer.
"It was a big deal because just getting into medical school is tough, but he (deferred them) for me," said Lauren, 32.
In the meantime, while Lauren tried to get into med school, Anthony worked as a substitute teacher at River Ridge Middle School in Port Richey, and also worked at Abercrombie & Fitch and tutored to pay the bills for three years.
"I was pretty sure from early on that Lauren was the one for me," said Anthony, 28. "It felt completely right."
Finally, they both applied to Ross University, a medical school in the Caribbean, and both were accepted in May 2009.
They spent 16 months in a place they described as Jurassic Park, then they both went to Miami for a semester. For the next two years, they traveled up and down the east coast learning at different hospitals.
Lauren stressed that staying together during medical school doesn't happen by accident. "You really have to make an effort to stay together," she said. "There's a lot of stress and trying times. And there's a high divorce rate among medical students."
But they made it through school and in February 2010, Anthony proposed to Lauren at the Vizcaya Gardens in Miami.
For the wedding, they wanted a big family trip coupled with a new adventure. They picked a villa in the mountains of Italy. An English couple named Laurie and Norma, whom they had never met, set up their May 14 wedding and rented them the Vista del Mondo.
Lauren, Anthony and a handful of his family members packed their bags for a two-week trip to Spoleto, Italy, where the villa was located.
On a beautiful Italian Tuesday, Lauren slipped into her trumpet-style gown that had traveled all the way from St. Petersburg's CC's Boutique, walked out of the villa and down the yard towards Anthony.
Their reception was saved for June 9, so that Lauren's family could share in the wedding. The couple and guests boarded the American Victory ship in Tampa for a fete that featured the couple's self-choreographed dance to Elton John's Your Song and then Elvis' Bossa Nova Baby.
About a month ago, the Tampa Bay natives moved to Macon, Ga., to complete their residency. Anthony is doing his at the Medical Center of Central Georgia, and Lauren hopes to join him in July 2014.