Day 11: Being the witness to a wedding ceremony at City Hall is BTS

Admit it or not, everyone’s a sucker for “The One That Got Away” stories. But when  “The One” happened to get away in New York City, it becomes a tragedy of cataclysmic, epic proportions. Who could possibly not fall to pieces when Deborah Kerr got herself run over on the way to meet Cary Grant on top of the Empire State Building, leaving him moping and pouting over his lost ladylove? Didn’t your eyes just glaze over when Barbra Streisand walks up to Robert Redford and purrs, “Your girl is lovely, Hubbell”, as the opening strains to “The Way We Were” proceed to yank at your heartstrings? Carrie Bradshaw, on the other hand, is the type of Manhattan gal who doesn’t take late bridegrooms sitting down – well, not when you’ve got a spread in Vogue’s wedding issue. She might not have gotten a man to the altar, alright, but that girl sure knows her way with an unused wedding bouquet.

With some research and better planning, these star-crossed lovers would have come across a place in New York City where the getting away is not only harder to pull off but both parties can be bound to each other — in two minutes tops! — ’til death do them part: the Office of the City Clerk. (One of the big-screen couples mentioned above eventually got wise to the government agency and exchanged “I Do’s” minus the Vivienne Westwood dress.) The people here mean business; this isn’t some fly-by-night drunken ceremony officiated by an Elvis impersonator.  When you take the woman in front of you in her tube and shorts after a long day in Manhattan that hasn’t been particularly flattering to either of you to be your lawfully wedded wife, it must be love.

And that was how I met Tom and Josie, a lovely couple from Southern Ireland who are in vacation in New York City for a few days and decided to tie the knot at the City Clerk’s office that day after years of being together and a morning at the American Museum of Natural History. They tentatively approached me in the waiting room by the “chapel” asking if I was there attending a wedding. Fifteen minutes later, after they’d paid $25 for the wedding ceremony and I’d signed a form saying that I will be the witness to their wedding, I was in the smallish chapel with the bride and the groom as they exchanged their vows in front of the judge faster than Jason Biggs could prematurely ejaculate in “American Pie.” Laszlo, darling as always, was fawned over by all of us and the newlyweds had a picture taken with him (above). Looking at the picture, it’s hard not to be convinced that Tom and Josie are content, maybe even ecstatically happy, even though her top was not by Vivienne Westwood. As June brides go, she could not have been more becoming.

I always thought wedding ceremonies at City Hall seemed a trifle impersonal and unwelcoming but my new friends had been so artless and at ease as they exchanged their vows that fanfare of any sort would have been missing the point. What I witnessed may have seemed too short for a formal ceremony but it was nothing short of heartfelt. If you ask me, I wouldn’t mind doing this sort of thing one day, where after not washing my hair for a few days and going on physically battering errands all day around Manhattan, I and the guy I’ll be calling my boyfriend take the 6 train down there* and, on a whim, ask a judge to marry us. If the boyfriend still says “I do” then and kisses me, then I’d think that I’ve really found “The One”. By then, this blog will be so over that my new husband and I can go home, have sex and live happily ever after. 

*If New York State still doesn’t allow same-sex marriages then, then we’ll take the Chinatown bus going to Boston not later than 11AM. 


6 Responses to “Day 11: Being the witness to a wedding ceremony at City Hall is BTS”

  1. what a beautiful moment… one day, we’ll be just as happy as that, L. 😉

  2. Caroline Says:

    They must be so in love and so secure in that love to be able to knock it off a tourist’s To Do list with little fanfare – it must be meant to be…

  3. what absolutely lovely way to spend the day… it’s lucky you were there! 😉 They sound so much in love.

  4. josie Ireland Bride Says:

    Hi- just back to Ireland and checked out your web site , thank you so much for the story and was good to meet you and your puppy.We had a great time and look forward to my pictures from NYC. If you do ever detour to Ireland please e mail Tom and I . Bye Bye Vince love Josie n Tom

  5. sandra skilling Says:

    thats the way to do it, congratulations to Josie and tomxxxxxxxxxxx

  6. colin and helen Says:

    Hi, Josies aunt and uncle. sad we missed it but Colin has had a triple by-pass recently. But will be over to ireland 16 July to see them. Glad they met you. C& H

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