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ETHERIDGE m@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2005-06-04 published
Nicola ETHERIDGE and Joseph SPINOSA -- Match:
By Judith TENENBAUM, Saturday, June 4, 2005, Page M4
Some couples just want to have fun, and for Nicola ETHERIDGE and Joseph SPINOSA, the ties that bind include making special occasions contagiously funny. "We go pretty crazy at Christmas," Ms. ETHERIDGE says. "But we both love Halloween."
Spotlights and gravestones appear on the lawn of their century-old home every October 31, along with cobwebs and scary monsters. "We try to get the kids to scream. It's a riot."
"It's all for the children, and we're both kids at heart," says Mr. SPINOSA, who describes himself as "an oldie, goldie fan" who often dons an Elvis wig and costume to dish out treats.
Halloween, 2004, will probably remain their most memorable. With October 31 falling on a Sunday, Mr. SPINOSA planned his marriage proposal for Saturday evening at a dinner theatre in a legendary Stouffville haunted house. But Ms. ETHERIDGE felt under the weather, and he had to wait until their usual exchange of gory gifts on Halloween morning for his opportunity. Rummaging through her gift bag, she pulled out a skull candle, plush bat and a small white box containing a mock severed finger wrapped in blood-like stained cotton. Mr. SPINOSA gingerly removed the cotton to reveal a diamond.
"I freaked out, threw the tissue and we hugged and kissed," she laughs. The tissue was ignited by a candle. "It kind of killed the mood, but made it memorable."
The mirth in their relationship makes up for a rocky beginning. The pair, who met when Mr. SPINOSA was a supplier to the company where Ms. ETHERIDGE worked, Reaction Promotions Inc. (now called Accolade Reaction Promotions Group), initially dated for three months, just long enough for Ms. ETHERIDGE to become vulnerable. Mr. SPINOSA closed his firm, began work at hers, and for some murky reason about business and pleasure not mixing, abruptly ended the budding relationship.
"I knew back then he was the one," Ms. ETHERIDGE says.
The transition to a mere collegial Friendship left Ms. ETHERIDGE with a plummeting heart.
"I stayed away and looked elsewhere," Mr. SPINOSA says. "The Friendship we maintained was better than any relationship I'd experienced and eventually I came to my senses," he confesses.
Two years later, with some trepidation, Ms. ETHERIDGE gave him a second chance. The next five years were almost idyllic as they continued to work together at a Toronto promotional products company, she as operations manager and he as marketing manager.
Mr. SPINOSA continued to spend much time with the 30-strong cadre of buddies he had kept since attending St. Michael's College School and the couple added a 600-square-foot deck to their heritage home, big enough to fit all their Friends for annual keg parties.
The fun times rolled until a pivotal moment at a friend's wedding in September, 2004. A teary outpouring by Ms. ETHERIDGE in the church blanched Mr. SPINOSA. " It's my birthday next month and I'm sick and tired of waiting for you," she told him.
Motivated, he reviewed the situation. "I have a large family, a lot of nieces and nephews that are a huge part of my life and seeing Nicky childlike with them I realized the excellent qualities in her and that was part of moving forward."
Wedding planner Cynthia MARTYN located a perfect venue, the Capitol Event Theatre. Says Ms. ETHERIDGE, "I'm 36, I didn't want a fancy wedding, just a big party with an Elvis twist, a band and dancing."
Mr. SPINOSA, 38, a collector of Elvis memorabilia with a bust of the rock legend in his office, notes, "Her mother told me, as a kid, Nicola used to impersonate Elvis and she never thought it was weird. It's just a little connection we have."
On May 13, Reverend Dorian BAXTER, who is also an impersonator known as Elvis Priestley, officiated (assisted by Laura STANGRET,) as the couple recited traditional vows in front of their guests. After cocktails, Elvis Priestley reappeared, this time complete with white jump suit, sunglasses and guitar to croon Love Me Tender for the couple's first dance.
"There is some trepidation as you buck tradition," the bridegroom notes, "but I wanted people to get a glimpse of how we are as a couple."

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ETLIN m@ca.on.york_county.toronto.toronto_star 2003-11-29 published
ETLIN / KATZ -- Sonia and Cal ETLIN are thrilled to announce the engagement of their son, Brad to Aliza, daughter of Nina and Eugene KATZ of New York. Proud grandmothers are Esther SINGER and Meme DUBLER.

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