Florida couple celebrate Twosday with nuptials at Neon Museum

Two have become one on a Twosday for the ages.

Standing in pink Converse sneakers outside the marquee of the retired hotel-casino Lady Luck, Javier Ansoleaga, 47, and Stephanie Hippensteel, 51, sealed their marriage with a kiss just before 2:22 p.m. on February 22, 2022.

The Tampa, Fla. couple love a good story, and the couple started a new chapter together Tuesday at the Neon Museum north of downtown Las Vegas.

Ansoleaga and Hippensteel were one of many couples in suits and wedding dresses at the Neon Museum and one of many in Las Vegas who timed their nuptials for the palindrome date. Clark County issued the No. 5 million marriage license on Sunday.

The couple got engaged 15 months and 3 days ago and have targeted spring 2022 for their wedding date. Renouncing the “cliché” of a Valentine’s Day wedding, they chose 2/22/22. Of course, it’s an easy date to remember. But above all, Ansoleaga said, the date creates a script for their special day. They booked the 2 p.m. wedding slot a year in advance to give themselves a chance to get as many 2s as possible.

“We didn’t want to pick a random date that no one would remember,” the groom said shortly after the ceremony ended, then jokingly “it’s also National Margarita Day.”

“We might participate in one of these later,” the bride added.

Elvis Presley’s crooning rendition of “Can’t Help Falling in Love” set the scene. Pastor Pete Starzyk of Elegant Vegas Weddings presided over their ceremony, which lasted about 15 minutes.

Starzyk cracked jokes and improvised his way through the ceremony like a man who had been in the wedding business for 47 years (which he did). Ansoleaga slipped a shimmering, diamond-encrusted wedding ring onto Hippensteel’s left hand. Hippensteel slipped onto Ansoleaga a 1964 John F. Kennedy silver dollar from his late father’s coin collection which was melted down and molded into a wedding band.

Starzyk and his wife, Daniele, run the wedding business together. The Ansoleaga-Hippensteel wedding was one of five Starzyks celebrated on Tuesday and the only one to begin at 2 p.m. Starzyk performed two weddings at the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign on a similar numerological date, November 11, 2011 or 11/11. /11 — one at 11:11:11 p.m. and another at 11:11:11 p.m.

The pastor was trying to time the end of the ceremony and the first marital kiss so that the two were married exactly 22 seconds after 2:22 p.m. that time,” though wedding reporters timed their kiss at 2:17 p.m.

In a follow-up text, Ansoleaga said, “I didn’t watch the clock then, but we’re going with 2:22” with a smiling emoji at the end.

Hippensteel said they considered a Caribbean wedding before COVID-19 hit. Rather than asking people to travel overseas during the pandemic, they settled on a favorite vacation spot: Las Vegas.

They consider themselves a non-traditional couple, so they didn’t want a “cliché” wedding in a ballroom, hotel or church. Mission accomplished. No bridesmaids, no groomsmen, no chapel, a solo walk down the aisle for Hippensteel and a quaint neon backdrop. They said they love numerology and Hippensteel added that she prefers a weekday wedding day.

“A lot of people get married on a Saturday. And it’s like, ‘No, it’s Tuesday. We are weird. Let’s do Tuesday,” she said.

Ansoleaga wore a tuxedo and Hippensteel wore a white dress, but instead of loafers and heels, the couple wore a matching set of bright pink Converse Chuck Taylor.

Ansoleaga bought her a pair for her one-year birthday, and Hippensteel, anticipating the gritty Las Vegas soil, suggested tennis shoes to wear at the wedding. They bought two new pairs so everyone had an immaculate ensemble for their big day. The couple affixed small glowing squares to their shoelaces ahead of their wedding reception on Tuesday night at The Black Tap inside The Venetian.

Hippensteel and Ansoleaga met through eHarmony four years ago. Hippensteel recognized the Columbia restaurant bar in the background of Ansoleaga’s profile picture; the place was one of her favorite restaurants, she said, initiating the first post. This is where they held their first date.

And on Tuesday, at their wedding, the pastor recalled how connecting online started a strong friendship that laid the foundation for their love.

The couple got engaged in St. Augustine, Florida, the nation’s oldest settlement founded by the Spanish in 1565, and a horse-drawn carriage ride through the streets was followed by dinner at Columbia St. Augustine.

Ansoleaga’s family is from Spain, and the Spanish restaurant in a Spanish town “was a good connection,” she said.

“We love the story,” said Stephanie Hippensteel, now Stephanie Ansoleaga. “We like a reason for things.”

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Dr. Miriam Adelson, majority shareholder of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Las Vegas Sands operates The Venetian.

Contact Mike Shoro at [email protected] To follow @mike_shoro on Twitter.

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