ST. PETE BEACH — Adam Bohn linked hands with Michelle Chang as the pastor approached the altar and asked what usually amounts to a throwaway question at other wedding ceremonies.
"Should anyone here present know of any reason that this couple should not be joined in holy matrimony, speak now or forever hold your peace," he said.
A knight — wielding a sword and dressed in a suit of armor — sauntered down the aisle and bellowed, "I object." He issued a challenge to Adam for Michelle that elicited laughter and surprise from the ballroom full of guests at the Loews Don CeSar Hotel on Nov. 9.
It was the first of many challenges for the bride in what became a full-on epic battle for the right to call Michelle "Mrs. Bohn." For seven minutes, Adam and Michelle played the roles of a lifetime — a knight in shining armor and his damsel (who could take care of herself, thank you very much). The fun, cheeky event showed those present who this couple was and who they will be going forward as man and wife.
"Michelle's an angel. She's pure. She's kind. She's smart," said Adam, 37, of Lutz. "She's perfect."
Adam is creator of the online game Adventure Quest and CEO of Artix Entertainment, a Pasco County company that develops online games.
Five years ago, Michelle and Adam met. They won't say how, but it's clear their connection was immediate and intense.
"He was very selfless and caring, and he treats everyone as family," said Michelle, 34. "The night we met he was like that. And his humor, the self-deprecating humor let me know he was a special person."
Adam, who is originally from Altoona, Pa., moved to Florida shortly after his parents did, leaving a grueling developer job in California's Silicon Valley. "I was working three jobs and I had no social life," he said with a laugh.
Michelle, a Trinidadian, went to college in Texas and then came to Florida to work for Verizon IT, where she still works as a process engineer.
From the outset, they seemed different. Adam lived in a house that was practically all black with carpeting, drapes and even shampoo bottles to fit his theme. His first visit to Michelle's place was a shocker. "He said, 'It's blinding. Everything is so bright,' " she laughed. Still, there was more common ground than differences. They both loved gaming, anime, technology and taking silly selfies.
"I went over to her house and she showed me her thesis, where she wrote this program to collect all the photos in an area and put them on a map," Adam said. "I thought, 'Wow. I'm in love,' " he said.
He proposed in January, and they planned to get married before the end of the year. Adam's mom took a leading role with the vendors and helped with the big things so Adam and Michelle could focus on the important matters — how to make this wedding unforgettable.
They landed squarely on the scripted sequence in which challengers would vie for Michelle's heart during the ceremony, only to be defeated by Adam, Michelle and the wedding party. Fairytale Productions, which did the videography, brought in six cameras to capture every minute.
Originally, the challengers were supposed to be a knight, Adventure Quest's Chairman Platinum and his ninjas, wrestlers from Micro Championship Wrestling and a team of bellhops. In the runup to the big day, the wrestlers had to drop out for another gig, leaving a hole in the show.
In stepped Jon Fudge of Your Total Entertainment with an idea. "How about we have Batman and Iron Man come into it?" he asked Adam. The couple was skeptical about how the mainstream characters would fit, but after talking to the actors, Adam was sold.
"We didn't even write any script for them," Michelle said. "They did it on their own and it turned out great."
After all challengers were defeated, World Wrestling Entertainment star Jimmy Hart came in with his signature heart-covered jacket and a bullhorn to get the wedding back under way.
"Adam, you are worthy," said the pastor.
The laughter was brief. The smiles lasted longer.
To watch a video of the wedding, which has gone viral with more than 2 million hits, go to Links in today's Times at tampabay.com.