Lane Stowe '90 got married on camera

When people go to a live broadcast of a TV talk show, they usually expect to see their favorite host or maybe a celebrity guest. What they probably aren’t expecting is to meet the person they want to spend the rest of their lives with — as Lane Stowe ’90 did.

On a tour of New York City, Stowe and a friend went to see Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb do a live broadcast of the Today show. While waiting for the show to begin, Stowe struck up a conversation with Jenn Mendez, who was there with her mother and daughter. After talking for a bit, Stowe and Mendez decided to exchange contact information.

“So we communicated through Facebook, and we just started texting and talking,” Stowe said. “That first night that we met, we talked on the phone for over three hours."

Six years later, in fall 2015, Mendez called in to Hoda Kotb’s XM radio show and told her that if it hadn’t been for her and Kathie Lee Gifford, she never would have met her fiancé. After hearing their story, Kotb and Gifford invited the two to be on the Today show in December, where they then offered to host their wedding on the show.

“Our original plan was to get married on a weekday with our pastor at our local church in Alexandria,” Stowe said. “So we still had our small wedding on a weekday with our pastor — it just happened to be broadcast to millions.”

Though it was the Today show that brought them together, it could very well have been fate. As a teenager, Mendez had been accepted into Ithaca College and Penn State, but she chose to go to Penn State.

At IC, Stowe studied music performance with an outside field of business. Currently, Lane works for the Interior Federal Credit Union in the Department of the Interior as the manager of call center operations. Working in business has always been his day job, but he has been playing music and singing professionally on the side since he graduated from college. He even has a CD out titled Have Groove, Will Travel, which is available on Amazon.

Stowe credits the many mentors he had at IC — such as Dave Riley, founder of the Ithaca College Jazz Ensemble, and Steve Brown, a jazz professor at the School of Music — for getting him ready for life. He also credits the experiences that he had while at Ithaca College.

“You really get a lot of chances to experience what the real world is like,” Stowe said.

Some of those real life experiences for Stowe included the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, and the chance to record an album, Autumn in New York, with other jazz performers.

Stowe said, “The thing that I look back on during my time in Ithaca is how fortunate I was to be a part of that culture."

Though Stowe and Mendez didn’t meet at IC, they eventually found their way to one another. The two were married on the set of the Today show — a very short distance from where they had first met — on May 12. It seems fate may have just needed time to catch up to them.