On Love: Lili Tuggle-Weir and Andrew Koswaski wed
By Erin Williams,
In 2002, Lili Tuggle-Weir found her dating options were limited.
The Montgomery Village native was a freshman at Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Fla., and only three of her fellow photography majors were guys. One had a girlfriend. One was gay. And one was Andrew Koswaski.
Semester after semester, the two shared classes together and not much else. But senior year, a friend of Tuggle-Weir’s who was also a skateboarding buddy of Koswaski’s started bringing him around regularly. Skateboarding held little allure for Tuggle-Weir, but the more time she spent with Koswaski, the more they connected. What appealed to her, she says, was “the fact that I couldn’t predict him — we didn’t wear the same thing, we didn’t do the same thing.” But, says Koswaski, “overall, our personalities were kind of similar, so we were willing to try new things around each other.”
In spring 2006, Tuggle-Weir spent a weekend visiting her grandmother in Orlando; Koswaski was nearby on a family trip and agreed to give her a ride back to school. He had never missed a class, but she persuaded him to play hooky. They stopped at Dinosaur World, a quirky roadside attraction, and went to a movie. “It was fun,” she remembers. “We balanced each other, and he was willing to be slightly goony with me.”
After their road trip, they began to hang out together. But though Tuggle-Weir wanted their growing friendship to turn into a relationship, she wasn’t sure if Koswaski felt the same way — until Pluto stepped in. The costumed canine started playfully trying to get her attention while the two were visiting Disney World.
Pluto “started doing the ‘No, come with me’ thing that the characters do. And [Koswaski] got really upset!” Tuggle-Weir recalls. “He grabbed my hand and pulled me over the Bridge of Tomorrowland and said ‘You’re here with me !’”
From then on, there was no question that they were a couple. After graduation, they embarked on a five-week, cross-country road trip in Tuggle-Weir’s yellow Volkswagen Beetle. “We could go 100 miles and just listen to music,” Tuggle-Weir says. “He was okay with me being really nerdy about music, and I was okay with stopping every 45 minutes ’cause there was a ditch he wanted to skate or a half-pipe somewhere.”
But the two had separate post-college paths in mind: Koswaski had plans to pursue snowboarding photography in Colorado, while Tuggle-Weir had a music photography gig lined up in London.
They agreed to take a break, but time apart only strengthened their commitment to each other. “She was definitely always in the back of my mind,” Koswaski says.
“We went and did our separate things and decided it wasn’t worth doing if he wasn’t there and I wasn’t there,” Tuggle-Weir says. So after a year, they both packed their bags and moved, first to Tennessee, then to Florida, starting their own online graphic design business along the way.
In Florida, they found jobs and spent their weekends visiting Tuggle-Weir’s grandmother, who had cancer. Koswaski would watch television and talk with the ailing woman for hours — something that endeared him to Tuggle-Weir’s family. “He was there for the long haul, and he showed that he was willing to step up, which I already knew, but everybody else got to see,” she says.
The idea of marriage came up more often as she developed an infatuation with wedding TV shows. “It was really intriguing to me to look at all these people and see how a complete stranger would visualize the same event,” she says. The artistic planning and elaborate decorations in the shows opened up a hypothetical wedding dialogue for the couple that then turned serious.
“It eventually just got to the point where we knew we were gonna be together forever,” says Koswaski, now 27. “She knows me better than I know myself, which is scary. She kind of puts me on the right path when I’m not sure about things.”
In January 2010, he got permission and her grandmother’s ring from Tuggle-Weir’s parents. The following April, on another trip to Disney World, his plan to pop the question during a fireworks show was ruined by a rainstorm. Instead, he managed to coax her into getting ice cream. As they ate in a gazebo, he turned to her and — inspired by a line from the movie “Pirate Radio” — presented the ring and asked: “How ’bout it, then?”
“I didn’t know what to say, so I just hit him in the arm,” she says.
On Oct. 8, the couple wed at the Shrine of St. Jude in Rockville. The ceremony was followed by an Alice in Wonderland/Mad Hatter-themed reception at Brookside Gardens, complete with ceramic bunnies, a swing band and flashlights for guests to find their way out of the rabbit hole. The two are holding off on a honeymoon until next August, when they will visit the 2012 Olympics in London.
As for why their relationship works, “I think it’s because no matter what we do . . . I know we’re not gonna be bored,” Tuggle-Weir, 27, explains. “The two of us are gonna make it fun, and that’s something I want to do every day.”