November 25, 1997 in Nation/World

Bride Is Stood Up At Altar When Groom Backs Out, Woman Turns Ceremony Into A Party

New York Times
 

Nicole Contos’ telephone kept ringing Monday, but none of the callers had the voice she had first heard on a beach in Greece in August a year ago, the voice that belonged to the man she had expected to marry on Saturday evening in a Manhattan cathedral filled with friends and relatives.

The wedding never took place. The prospective bridegroom, Tasos Michael, sent the best man with a message: He’s calling the whole thing off. Contos, 27, changed from her wedding gown into a black dress and turned what had been planned as her wedding reception into a party. Her brother gave a toast, and she danced to the disco hit “I Will Survive.”

On Monday, with television talk shows calling to ask her to appear as a guest, she considered the mystery of where Michael had gone. A doorman said that Michael, in his tails, was last seen hailing a taxi outside Contos’ apartment building on the Upper East Side. But he never made it to the church.

Did he go to Fiji or Tahiti or wherever it was that he was planning to take her on the honeymoon? Ms. Contos did not know. He had planned the wedding trip as a surprise and had not told her the destination.

“At this point, if anyone’s going to call anyone, it’s going to be him calling me,” Ms. Contos said.

Her mother, Carol Contos, sat on the sofa in the apartment her daughter had planned to keep after moving to London, where Michael, 35, is a lawyer and shipping consultant. “I think this is therapeutic, talking about it,” Carol Contos said.

Nicole Contos, who had taught kindergarten at Public School 18 in Manhattan, said that there had been clues that Michael had doubts about going through with the wedding, but she brushed them off as last-minute jitters.

“I spoke to him at noon” on Saturday, she said. “He said that his feet were like jelly, but he also said he’d bought tuxedo shoes.”

“He made a spur-of-the-moment wrong decision, and he’s paying for it now,” Ms. Contos said of Michael. “He’s probably saying, ‘What have I done?’ The larger message is: If something like this happens, hold your head up high, move on with your life and keep busy so you don’t think about it.”

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