Love was in the air at the Oceanside Library on Nov. 3, where Oceanside residents Tricia Balsan, 30, and Steve Schuster, 33, got married. As they exchanged vows, they were surrounded by shelves stacked with everything from comic books to historical guides.
Oceanside Library has been certified to host weddings and vow renewals since June 1. Balsan and Schuster’s ceremony was the second that the library has conducted.
“We’ve become the center of this community,” said Assistant Director for Community Services Tony Iovino. “We wanted to offer an opportunity for people who may otherwise have to take off work to go to Town Hall, or don’t have the money to go elsewhere, to have their ceremony here. It’s a nice place to do it, too; people with close ties to the community feel this library is their home.”
“Home” is exactly how Balsan described the Oceanside Library — a reason why she said she was elated to discover that she could get married there. As a child, she frequented the facility with her mother and worked there from age 14 to 21. In May, she and Shuster attended the library’s trivia night when Iovino mentioned they would begin hosting wedding ceremonies soon.
“We just looked at each other and thought, ‘That’s it. That’s what we want to do,’” Balsan said. “We knew we didn’t want a big to-do, just something small and casual.”
Balsan and Shuster met three and a half years ago via the popular online dating app Tinder. They chatted for a few weeks before meeting in person at Balsan’s favorite dive bar, the now-defunct Trainors in Island Park. “We really hit it off on the first date,” Balsan said.
The couple was engaged a year later after a proposal gone so wrong it was right. Schuster had contacted Balsan’s favorite Food Network celebrity, Alton Brown, before they went to see him at a live performance. Schuster was meant to propose when Brown gave him a secret signal during the show, but the signal never came.
“When Steve confessed all this on our way back to the car, I told him it didn’t matter how it happened and he should just do it then,” Balsan said, “He did, and everyone in the parking lot cheered for us.”
Two and a half years later, the sweethearts and book lovers finally said, “I do” beside the comic books section of the local library. Schuster’s tie and boutonniere were decked in colorful comic book pages, as was Balsan’s bouquet — which she bought on Etsy, an online marketplace for all things handmade. Twelve close loved ones attended the ceremony, and afterward, celebrated at Salumi in Massapequa, where Schuster first asked his now-wife to “go steady.”
“The day went perfectly, and everyone at the library was so helpful,” Balsan said. “I want to thank Michael Ambrosio and Tony Iovino at the library, as they were instrumental in making everything run smoothly and we couldn’t have done this without their support.”