Dream Wedding Comes True Figure Skater Comes Back To Spokane To Marry In Style At Davenport

SATURDAY, MAY 27, 1995

One thousand roses. Twelve-hundred orchids. Hundreds of lilies.

An Edwardian wedding dress created by a Broadway costume designer, a majestic ballroom and even some flower girls in winged-pixie dresses.

That was just part of Friday’s fairy-tale wedding for a former professional figure skater and her store detective groom.

Spokane native Toyka Raol and Steven Lewis exchanged vows at St. Augustine’s Parish, then celebrated with a formal dinner, an orchestra and a 125-pound cake, in the Davenport Hotel’s Marie Antoinette Room.

Raol, 30, is a Lewis and Clark High School graduate. She now runs a thriving ice-skating school in Staten Island, N.Y. But she’s always wanted to get married back home, in Spokane.

Raol met Lewis a couple years ago at New York’s famed Macy’s department store. She sold Chanel cosmetics and perfume. He investigated employee theft.

“When I first saw her, she just looked very elegant,” Lewis said. “The women in New York have no class.”

He asked her out three times. She said no. Finally, she agreed to see “The Phantom of the Opera” with him in September 1993.

The bride’s gown was designed by Robert-Charles Vallance, who also choreographed the wedding. Vallance and Raol met while working on the traveling show, Disney’s Holiday on Ice. Raol was a figure skater, Vallance a costume designer.

She asked him to create her wedding. He said yes.

“It’s one of these things you don’t want to do, but the phone rings so what do you do?” Vallance joked. “Three fiances and 10 years later and we’re doing it.”

Raol and Lewis were engaged about a year ago, finally setting Vallance’s wedding preparations into action.

Vallance and the bride-to-be decided the wedding should have a “Phantom of the Opera” theme.

A black mask sat on the groom’s cake. A candelabra with a bouquet of flowers was at the center of each of 22 tables in the Marie Antoinette Room. The five-tiered cake was the same ivory color as the bride’s dress.

“I’m not too nervous,” Raol said before the wedding. “Robert’s doing everything.”

The father of the bride said the wedding, with its 200 guests, cost “thousands and a lot of love.”

Pradyumansinh Raol, an immigrant from India who lives in Spokane, sported a tuxedo for the wedding, but planned to change into an ornamental Rajput jacket for the reception.

The lavish reception is another sign the historic Davenport Hotel is truly back, according to the hotel’s owner.

Ronald Wai-Choi Ng watched the couple pose for photographs in the hotel’s grand lobby Friday afternoon. He also planned to attend the reception.

“The newer generation also remembers this place. That is what touched me,” he said. “It is really bringing this place to a new height.”

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