Wedding Bells To Chime For University Employees


Suzanne Riordan and Todd Wallace do not yet know the flavor or size of their wedding cake. But one thing is guaranteed when they cut the first piece: Suzanne will eat the icing and Todd will eat the rest.

“Eating cake was one of the first things we talked about after we met and we laughed about the fact that I don’t like icing and Suzanne doesn’t like the cake part,” said Wallace, assistant soccer coach and summer sports camp coordinator at Maryville University. “I filed that in the back of my mind and, coupled with the fact that she’s a pretty girl, I thought, hmm, this could be interesting.”

Wallace and Riordan, an assistant director of admissions at Maryville, became engaged on December 26. Their wedding date is uncertain as they would like to wait to get married until Riordan’s brother, Dan, a second lieutenant in the Army, returns from serving in Iraq. His tour of duty is scheduled to end in early 2008.

Wallace proposed to Riordan as they walked to Pietro’s, a restaurant in South St. Louis, for a gathering with about 50 members of Riordan’s family. “He was telling me how much he loved me and how he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me,” Riordan said. “And then he reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a ring.” Wallace knelt down and popped the question.

Riordan’s mother was the only member of her family who knew about the engagement beforehand as Wallace had asked for her blessing before he proposed to her daughter. Riordan knew it would be a logistical nightmare to tell each family member the news once they arrived at the restaurant. So she asked for help from an old family friend: Santa Claus.

“It’s a family tradition that we rent out the basement of Pietro’s every year the day after Christmas for a party and Santa is always there,” Riordan said. “So, when we got there, I asked Santa if he would help us out. So, he called Todd and I up there. Todd sat on one of Santa’s knees and I sat on the other. Santa got everyone’s attention and said, ‘I’d like to introduce the future Mr. and Mrs. Todd Wallace.’ Everybody started clapping and taking pictures.”

The news did not take long to travel along the Maryville grapevine as several colleagues knew of the engagement even before the couple hosted a party on New Year’s Eve.

And those who did not know quickly learned when University staff returned to work on January 3. “Beth Triplett said we’re numbers 15 and 16 to get engaged or married in the Enrollment division since she’s been at Maryville,” Riordan said.

Wallace said he had purchased the engagement ring in late summer and was waiting for the right time to present it to Riordan. He joked he was more concerned about her finding it than him losing it. “She likes to organize my closet so I had to keep moving it,” Wallace said. “I finally found a very good hiding place that only I know about.”

Wallace and Riordan, who began working at Maryville in July 2004 and July 2005, respectively, started dating in October 2005. “We would go out as part of a larger group and we found that we had a lot in common,” Riordan noted.

Both of them are the oldest child in their families and the first child in their respective families to get married, which adds to the excitement. “Our moms are already starting to plan things. I’m sure we’ll get a lot of advice on our wedding plans,” Riordan said with a laugh.