Christie Lugar walked into the office Halloween party last week wearing a beige cocktail dress. It wasn't obvious what she was going for, so people were asking, "What are you supposed to be?"
"Bride," she said. Seriously, I'm getting married today. Right here.
Yeah, right, everybody at the Indianapolis office of the educational software company Blackboard figured. They all knew she and Tom Hochstetler were an item. The two application analysts had been dating since June. She is 29. He is 39. HR had said it was OK.
But bride? Here? Today?
Hochstetler showed up looking like one of the Blues Brothers, with the hat and all. A typical Halloween outfit like that wouldn't raise eyebrows.
But. If you're a Blues Brother, and if you remove the hat, you could pass as a groom.
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Hochstetler and Lugar, whose first marriages ended in divorce and who have five children between them, let word out they were going to tie the knot at noon in the media room. But their co-workers remained skeptical, except for Kelley Tortorici, who ran out to buy white hydrangeas and champagne despite being dressed as a duck.
About the only preplanning was Christie's procurement of a former colleague from Butler University who was an ordained minister.
At noon, just minutes after the conclusion of the office chili cook-off, Hochstetler got rid of the hat and moved with the bride into the media room.
The wedding guests gathered. The pirate. The piglet. The Green Bay Packer. The guy who was done up like Zach Galifianakis in "The Hangover Part III," wearing a fake beard and a fake baby strapped to his chest.
"Then we turned to face the preacher, and all the power in the building just shut off," Hochstetler said.
The blackout wasn't planned, but it had the perfect effect. The room was suddenly bathed in natural light. Everyone was quiet. "You could hear a mouse fart," is how Hochstetler put it.
The wedding was underway. It was short, with a couple of prayers, the vows, a kiss, applause.
But it was moving.
"Tom cried," Lugar said.
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