BRUNSWICK, Maine — They knew each other only as “Patrick Attorney” and “Victoria Journalist” when they met on an online dating site.
But then there was a three-hour lunch-and-coffee date. An hour later, he emailed her, asking for a second date.
“What took so long?” she replied.
Six years later, Patrick Scully, aka “Patrick Attorney,” and Tory Ryden — or “Victoria Journalist” — are married and preparing for the ride of their lives on New Year’s Day.
That’s when Scully, a 57-year-old lawyer, and former TV news anchor Ryden, 49, will ride atop a float with other married couples and music legend Natalie Cole in the 125th annual Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif.
The cause for celebration is love — specifically, love that was made possible by eHarmony.com.
The Brunswick couple is one of seven married couples who met on eHarmony who will represent the online dating site on its first-ever float in the historic parade that precedes the annual Rose Bowl football game.
Sarah Henderson, an eHarmony spokeswoman, said Scully and Ryden and the other couples were chosen because they represent the diverse backgrounds and situations of people who meet on eHarmony.
But it was also their personal connection to eHarmony’s founder, Dr. Neil Clark Warren, that helped them secure spots on the float.
It all started in 2008, after Scully and Ryden became engaged.
Ryden said she wanted to personally thank Warren, so the former WMTW anchor did what any good journalist would do: she found Warren’s unlisted phone number.
“She has him on the phone for like 45 minutes and by the end of the phone call she convinces Warren that he and his wife need to come to our wedding — and they agreed to do it,” Scully said.
After the 2009 wedding, Scully and Ryden stayed in touch with Warren. They even had dinner together a couple of times.
“We just connected with them really well,” said Scully, who is now chief executive officer and managing partner for Portland law firm Bernstein Shur.
So well that, in September, Warren called Scully and Ryden and asked them “for a favor” — to ride eHarmony’s parade float.
“How can you not say yes to that?” said Ryden, who is now the spokeswoman for Parkview Adventist Medical Center. “I look at it as exciting, but it’s also a favor for someone who brought us [this relationship].”
Scully and Ryden met on eHarmony in 2007 after dating several other people they met using the online dating service.
They were each single parents, and knew how difficult it can be to meet new people as a parent with a demanding job.
“There isn’t a good opportunity for people to get back into that place, and you’re not going to hang out in the Old Port,” Scully said. “[So] eHarmony was a way to move forward with that.”
Because they have seven children from previous marriages — Scully has three, Ryden has four — eHarmony has referred to them as the “Brady Bunch couple.”
“I had to be with someone who has kids, it was a must,” Ryden said. “Because [otherwise] you really don’t understand what the other person’s going through.”
And it didn’t take too long until they knew it was meant to be.
“Within a couple of months,” Scully said. “I think we both recognized this wasn’t going to be a short-term thing.”
The 2014 Rose Parade can be seen Wednesday, Jan. 1, beginning at 11 a.m. on several broadcast and cable TV networks: ABC, Hallmark Channel, HGTV, NBC, RFD-TV and Univision. The eHarmony float is scheduled to be the 75th of 91 floats, bands and equestrian units in the annual New Year’s Day event.