Tuesday, July 12, 2011

How to throw a cheap and fun wedding in New York City part 2: The 50 Dollar Flash Wedding

"and kiss"....."hey...where is the license?"

Wedding part II - the $50 New York City wedding

So....remember how I said we had to buy a duplicate copy of the marriage license? Well, during the course of wedding day set up, the license was lost. It just vanished. No one realized this until the end of the ceremony when the officiant and my husband were ready to walk off, and I said "hey guys, we have to sign the license".

"where is the license?"

"I thought you had it"

Gone. It was there minutes before but we never did find it.

It's really the best thing that happened to us.

You mean we have to do this again?

My husband (H) fixated on the mysterious disappearance of the license, largely because the folder that held it also contained a certified cheque for the photographer. I was much less concerned. We called the bank over brunch to put on record that we lost the cheque and eventually H chilled out and got back into the groove.

Come Sunday night it became apparent that we would have to get a duplicate license at the City Clerk's office and get married on Monday.

As we had originally applied for a license that would be used off-site, we would have to be married outside of the City Clerk's office by an outside officiant. Turns out our officiant friend (a lawyer) was scheduled to be in court on Monday morning. This would put him a few blocks away from the City Clerk's office. He agreed to meet us after court.

The Flash wedding

With the officiant squared away, we faced another small hurdle - venue. NYC has lots of laws about the use of public spaces for private events. If you want to get married in Central Park, you have to apply weeks in advance and pay a fee. We had about 2 hours to plan. That's when we decided to have a Flash Wedding.

What is a Flash wedding? It's a spur of the moment break out ceremony organized by a group of conspirators. It's just like a flash mob, with a wedding ceremony thrown in for fun.

We texted two of our friends on Sunday night asking them to meet us at the Clerk's Office. A few of H family members were still in town, so we invited them along. Sadly, none of my relatives were still around. My friend, however, effectively live blogged the event and my parents got to look at the pictures in order.

My wedding dress was completely trashed (someone had actually dropped a full glass of wine down the entire length of the dress). I found an off-white dress in the back of closet. Put my wedding shoes back on, grabbed a cardigan and spare t-shirt and jeans and we were on our way

This 2007 purchase served as wedding dress #2

While waiting in line to get the license re-issued, we decided we would like to get married near an important NYC building.

The text message invite

While H texted some of his friends that work in the downtown area, it struck me - we would get married on Wall Street. No one gets married there. I couldn't think of a place more in need of a little joy.

We quickly decided on using the steps of Old Federal Hall. This might be the most important historical building in New York City. It's the site of George Washington's inauguration and the first capitol building under of the United States under the constitution.

Every person we texted showed up during the next half hour. The lot of us rushed down to Wall street, picking up more friends on the way. Two gals ran off and bought me an impromptu bouquet. We marched down to Wall street with the plan of rushing up Old Federal Hall's steps and getting the ceremony done in under 2 minutes.

Sizing up Old Federal Hall

Our officiant peaked around the corner of the Hall to look for free space. "All clear"....except for a high school tour that was posing on the other side of the steps, press photographers, and bankers...lots of bankers.

Now, this particular area of Wall street is covered in NYPD....so I was a little worried that they might stop us for blocking traffic or not having a site license. We spied about 30 police officers within 50 feet of us - including a van of officers sitting right at the bottom of the Federal Hall steps. Turns out, they had better things to do....like keeping the peace in front of the world's most powerful stock exchange during the worst recession in 60 years.

The ceremony

We jumped up the steps.

Our officiant repeated our ceremony.

We re-exchanged rings.

A crowd gathered below us.....including one of H's cousins who we hadn't realized was in the area.

We kissed and the street went completely wild - everyone, officers included, clapped.

I threw my bouquet into a crowd of tourists.

...and then we signed the license and walked to the nearest post office to post the document back to the City Clerk's office before grabbing a quick lunch at a local pub.

The kiss.....part #2

The best thing that ever happened to us

When H and I first discussed getting married, we had settled on a plan where a few of our local friends, our parents and siblings would show up at the City Clerk's Office and we would seal the deal. We eventually decided to have something a little bigger. When a few relatives started an increasingly intense, unrelenting and, at times, very hurtful campaign for a grand affair, we reverted to this idea repeatedly. As the emails and voice messages about what a tremendous disappointment our wedding day would be continued to come in, I remember thinking "keep calm and carry on". When the anxiety of those relatives hit a fever pitch during the last weeks of planning, my attention frayed a bit and we unknowingly and slightly exceeded our budget.

The day of our wedding I remember being a little sad that my adoption of a "stay the course" attitude actually meant drifting away from our original plan of a simple, spunky, very low cost affair. When the license was lost we gained a little bit of independence, a little bit of excitement. The freedom of our flash wedding somewhat compensated for the hurtful actions those few family members engaged in even 48 hours before. In the end H and I did have the wedding we wanted - spunky, laid back and very low cost.

Happy, happy, happy

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