ST. PETERSBURG — As young professionals in Washington, D.C., Lindsay Cox and Andy Ryscavage led full professional and social lives.
A St. Petersburg native, Lindsay is the daughter of Lynn and David Cox. She moved to the capital shortly after completing her doctorate at the University of Miami.
Andy, who grew up in York, Pa., is a son of Mary Barnes and Thomas Ryscavage. He has worked in Washington for several years as a technical laboratory manager with the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health and is a member of the Department of State's Civilian Response Corps. The post has taken him throughout the United States and abroad.
They met through a former roommate of Lindsay's, and their first date was at SEI, a restaurant that specializes in sushi and other contemporary Asian cuisine.
"We got along instantly and famously," Andy says, remembering their time together on March 9, 2010.
"I was still new to D.C.," Lindsay says, "and Andy really showed me around. It's a great city. Easy to navigate."
And rich in cultural offerings. They saw Shakespeare at the Folger Theatre and attended concerts. They traveled. "We spent a lot of time together," she remembers.
Andy, 35, who graduated from the University of Colorado and American University, where he studied molecular biology and international affairs, respectively, had lived in Ireland, where he has dual citizenship, before moving to Washington.
Lindsay, 30, is a physical therapist at St. Coletta of Greater Washington, a school that serves children and young adults with intellectual disabilities, autism and secondary disabilities. Andy was familiar with it: One of his grandmothers had served on the board of trustees, and a great-uncle had been the organization's chief financial officer. His respect for Lindsay continued to soar as he saw youngsters who had mobility difficulties walk at their kindergarten graduation ceremonies.
"The future started to make sense," Andy says now. "There's something about gaining a new best friend that becomes a part of you. You didn't know you were waiting. You wake up, and you think, this is now what you're supposed to do."
On March 9, 2012, two years after their first date, he proposed. And on March 9 of this year, the couple were married in St. Thomas Episcopal Church in St. Petersburg, where a string quartet played classics along with Coldplay and Leonard Cohen.
Andy, whose love for things Irish runs deep, had written to Van Morrison, hoping against hope that the singer and songwriter might somehow see fit to perform for their special day. That did not happen, but the Bay Players Club played some Morrison tunes at the candlelit reception in the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, and performers from Scariff-Hardiman School of Irish Dance delighted guests, who traveled from as far away as England and Grenada.
The warm breezes in St. Petersburg were a welcome contrast to the icy conditions in the Northeast and Midwest that weekend. A longtime Philadelphia Phillies fan, Andy and a contingent of friends and family took in spring training baseball games at Clearwater's Bright House Field along with attending wedding parties.
"Ireland is famous for its hospitality," Andy says, and he found St. Petersburg to be "equally hospitable, a remarkable place. The support in this community just blows my mind."