Church wedding

A long weekend turns into eternity

Lansie Sylvia & Andrew Panebianco

October 9, 2021 in Philadelphia

During a competitive first-person arts storytelling panel, Lansie’s concentration was robbed by the baby crawling directly to an electrical outlet under the table.

Her huge extended family had prepared her for this moment. She jumped under the table and turned the little kid who, like a mechanical toy, continued to crawl in the new direction.

“You just saved that kid’s life!” said Andrew, another storyteller who saw the little drama unfold.

Now Lansie and Andrew were very pleasantly distracted from each other and having a wry conversation about children. Lansie said she loved toddlers. Andrew said he loved babies, but didn’t want to see them again until he was 25. “Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a Philly Kid Share?” Lansie suggested. Some mothers in attendance seemed a bit offended by the concept of renting children, but the couple couldn’t stop laughing at their ridiculous idea.

They flirted for the rest of that March 2012 meeting. When it was over, she threw a softball at him, “Hope I can see you again.” Andrew didn’t even swing. “Yeah. Well, see you later,” he said and walked out of the room.

Two steps from the door, he was talking a little to himself: “You idiot! A discarded, pizza-stained paper plate was just the prop he needed. “I almost forgot to help clean up,” he said, hovering around Lansie. They left together and Lansie made another pitch: “It was great fun, and I hope to see you again.”

“See you soon!” Andrew said as he walked away.

What’s with this guy?Lansie wondered. Either way, he could hit rocks. She put on her headphones and headed out on a date with someone else.

What is happening to me ?, asks Andrew. He ran, turning to a stop in front of Lansie, whose lips escaped in a startled curse.

She took out an earphone. “Yeah?”

“That thing you said, where maybe we could hang out again,” Andrew said. “How would we do this? »

Their third date spanned a full weekend together, starting Friday at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where Andrew, who is now 40 and grew up in Voorhees, and Lansie, now 37 and from Medford , showed themselves their favorite works. “I don’t really want to stop hanging out with you,” she told him at the top of the stairs Rocky immortalized. “Me neither,” he said.

On Sunday evening, Lansie, then director of development at the Philadelphia Film Society and now brand strategist and consumer researcher at MoStrategy, and Andrew, then assistant English professor at St. Joe’s and now associate editor and creative director at Allen & Gerritsen , really had to say goodbye. She lived in Rittenhouse and he in Collingswood. Trying to delay their separation, they broke into a Catholic church near the PATCO station. It was Palm Sunday and someone handed the couple a palm leaf. As a child, Lansie learned to make crosses out of them and she gave one to Andrew.

This cross has become a valuable Christmas decoration.

They hadn’t been dating for a year when Hurricane Sandy hit the area. Fearing the closing of the bridges would separate them, Lansie and her two cats, Deputy Whiskers and Miss Chairman Meow, traveled to Jersey to join Andrew and his cat, Opie. The cats formed an uneasy alliance as the couple watched The imposters together for the first of many times. When they still loved each other after days without power, they knew it was forever, Andrew said.

In 2013, the two got an apartment in Chinatown. Andrew decided that the auxiliary life was not for him and turned to advertising. “I had never worked anywhere other than a restaurant and a college campus,” he said. “Lansie helped me choose the right clothes and learn how to be around business people.”

In 2016, the couple moved to South Philly, where they still live. Whiskers and Chairman have passed away, but the couple and Opie now share their home with Henson, a Sheepadoodle named after the creator of the Muppets.

In 2018, Andrew’s father gave him stones from jewelry that belonged to his mother, Claire, who died aged 16. Several months later, the couple spent a cold, drizzly November night at the Philadelphia Zoo’s LumiNature light show. They rounded the corner and it was as if the zoo had erected a monument to Lansie’s personality: a two-story flamboyant pink Christmas tree made of flamingos and neon lights.

“Baby, we need a picture,” Andrew told Lansie, who was literally bouncing up and down on the exhibit. He held out his phone to strangers, whispering what he was about to do.

“One, two, three,” he counted, taking one knee out of three.

News of their engagement beat them to the door, where excited ticket ladies rushed the couple with congratulations and demands to see the ring.

The couple had planned to get married on October 10, 2020. With the pandemic developing in April, they pushed the date back a year, but they had no idea how difficult 2020 was. In June, the father of Lansie, Ed, had a fatal heart attack. “Andrew was the functional adult in our relationship for a while,” she said.

Her grandfather, Jack, had died the previous year. Losing the two in such a short time was more than terrible, but they got through it together. “And that’s exactly the point of marriage – to be with someone that even in the midst of an absolute nightmare, you can make the other person smile,” Andrew said.

On October 9, 2021, they were married at Ridgeland Mansion and photographed by Rebecca Barger – the only vendors chosen before they canceled their original date.

“I wanted people who never knew each other to sit together; instead, we had to sit by family,” Lansie said. “We demanded that everyone be vaccinated. And we gave everyone wristbands – red, yellow or green – to indicate how comfortable they were hugging or being around others.

Friends of the couple arranged flowers which were a gift from the bride’s uncle. Cosmo Baker – a friend from the dog park who happens to be a renowned DJ – has agreed to play reception.

Before anyone had heard of COVID-19, Lansie had chosen a fairly traditional wedding dress. In the spring of 2020, just before it all came to a halt, the couple passed Carolyn Zinni on their way home from brunch and saw a sequin and beaded jumpsuit in the window. “Oh my God!” Lansie said. Go buy it, Andrew said.

Lansie’s brother, David, walked her down the aisle. Andrew’s father, Paul, was his best man. Friend and pastor, Reverend David Norse guided them through their vows. Afterwards, the couple and their guests danced down the aisle as Snacktime Philly played “Skokiaan,” the song that plays at the end of The imposters as the cast dances off set. Andrew has made an instructional video that anyone can watch ahead of time.

Several people have asked the couple to share the contact details of someone they met at the wedding. “People left with new friends, and the fact that we made it through a global pandemic, we really had everything we wanted, even if almost nothing happened as we had hoped,” said said Andrew.

The couple hope to one day be able to spend their honeymoon in Japan safely. They had hoped to own a house now, but with the real estate market on fire, they chose to keep saving for their dream house, with a large garden and places to look for Lansie, a large kitchen for baking bread, ‘Andrew and a huge backyard with room for a whole bunch of dogs and other people’s kids. “We want to be the cool aunt and uncle all our friends send their kids to for the weekend,” Lansie said.