They've been the Lou and Laura couple for 10 years but even their closest friends were flabbergasted when text messages popped up on phones last Aug. 23.
Lou Mellini and Laura Muir were eloping at the top of Vail Mountain the next day. Quietly.
Deciding that the word "quiet" in no way fits the vice president/GM of heavy-metal KILO and alternative RXP FM, and his bride, president of Momentum Advertising and Public Relations, friends decided to roast/toast the couple for charity.
A rowdy group of 305 turned the annual Cheyenne Village fundraiser Feb. 8 at Cheyenne Mountain Resort into a makeshift wedding, "since they didn't invite us to the real one," griped one roaster.
Mellini responded, laughing, "Ciao, baby. All those wedding gifts you were going to give us, please give them to Cheyenne Village."
The nonprofit helps adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities live full and independent lives.
Emcee Ralph Routon stood in for Rich Tosches, who was traveling to be with family after he received word of the death of his newspaperman father, Nick.
On stage for the wedding re-enactment were previously roasted dignitaries Chuck Murphy and Jim Maguire, who had walked Muir down the aisle following "matron of honor" and flower girl Mary Ellen McNally.
Routon tried to keep the roasters in line, a futile endeavor: KILO's Ross Ford and Virgina Swanson, Muir's son Nick Lane, Jay Cimino, Brent Green and Dot Lischick.
Guests learned a lot about the couple from the roasters, starting with several lines borrowed from Tosches' script: "Why wait all those years to get married? Laura said, 'Marriage scares me. I read that half of all marriages go on forever!'" Mellini's darker-as-the-years-go-by hair and beard: "Lou has kept Grecian in business."
Some other loving zingers:
- "Lou can talk to anyone about any subject, which he may or may not know something about. He thinks he has a sense of humor, and sometimes he does!" - Nancy Lewis
- "You have Greenwich Mean Time. You have Mountain Standard Time. Then you have Laura Time. Every clock in the house has to be set a half-hour ahead." - Nick Lane, on his perpetually late mother, whom he also called "the hippest mom on the block."
- "He's a loud, East Coast fellow. The Fonz of Colorado Springs. She's innocent, dingy, with a little bit of a halo. Sally Fields as the Flying Nun." - Dot Lischick
The audience learned Laura should never be trusted behind the wheel. Lischick said Muir gets so involved in talking she slows "almost" to a stop on I-25. Lou, on the other hand, is a lead-foot East Coast driver, prods his wife.
Not in dispute was that both Lou and Laura are staunch supporters of their community, serving on innumerable boards and capital campaigns.