Thanks, all, for being interested in my courtship story and asking for the wedding tale! Knowing me as well as you do, you probably already know that we didn’t have a traditional ceremony.
We got married in Cleveland, rather than Ireland. It made tons of sense to do it in the States. Biggest reason is that I’m not Catholic, and it was dammed difficult to have a secular ceremony in Eire. Especially with his family pushing for a big church do! Money was the other deciding factor – the Cuyahoga County Courthouse only needed $20 and a day’s notice. We wanted easy and simple, because nothing else involved in importing me to Ireland was going to be easy, simple, or cheap.
Being as we were only engaged from Dec 31 to April 22 of the same year (unheard of in Ireland), not many people from iDJ’s home could come over. We didn’t have anyone who was older than us by more than a few years, which was actually quite wonderful (sorry, family). It meant no pressure to do anything but what we wanted, and it meant a lot of fun could be had without having any worries of upsetting or inconveniencing anyone. Of course it would have been nice to have my dad and his mam there, but we did give awfully short notice.
Himself took me shopping and helped me pick a dress from a department store, along with shoes and a useless wee handbag. The shop assistant was fantastic, she spent hours with us and I think she had a great time helping us, as she was fun and funny. The dress did turn out to be white, by the way. White wasn’t on purpose, but it suited.
The lads that came from Ireland (all men) are his best mates from childhood, and I’d met them all on my visit. I had loads of friends in Cleveland, and my sister and my best friend came in from out of town. All of the ones who travelled came out drinking and dancing the night before, and it was fantastic. I think the Irish lads drank at least one pub dry. There were only three of them – never underestimate how much an Irishman can drink, especially when it is happy hour and they have never heard of happy hour before!
This is also when we learned that getting a taxi in Cleveland is nigh on impossible. So the best man, somehow, found a service that would be on call for us for a few days – turned out it was the same service LeBron James used. These guys were amazing, turned up in seconds and loved the craic with the lads. Saved us, that idea – and we even took one of the drivers through a McDonald’s drive through (against the rules) and bought him a late dinner.
The morning of is a bit of a blur. I had a coworker come to my apartment to do my hair and makeup (she sold Mary Kay). It felt like there were people everywhere and everyone was in a rush. Our time for the courthouse was 10:30, I believe.
We rolled into court looking like a proper wedding party: suits, flowers, white dress and all. A good number of my local friends came, too. Ready to go!
And we waited…and waited… our time-slot came and went and went again, as more and more couples got married. One man came out and shouted to those waiting, “Y’all didn’t see me here! This never happened!”
Being good natured to a body, we were patient if grumbling a bit. The best man had a long chat with a man who had driven across the USA just to bail out his friend. Never underestimate how much an Irishman can talk!
Finally there seemed to be no one left but us, but we were still waiting. A bit strange…
When we were called in, we found out why there had been a wait. The room, while still a small courtroom, had been decked with tulle and and the judge told us she had seen where Himself was from, and had prepared (and read) an Irish poem for us. I was astounded – pretty sure the couples in sweatpants and tee-shirts didn’t get such special treatment. They must have seen us out there waiting and made a special effort, and wow was it appreciated.
I bawled like a child when it was official – all I remember saying is, “I didn’t think it was going to actually happen!”
After the ceremony, we went to a gorgeous restaurant for brunch – it has a lovely greenhouse-like room full of plants, where we took loads of photos. We insisted on paying for the meal, as no one there had to come to a boring old courthouse wedding – our thank you for coming (and waiting).
Next we went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which is in Cleveland as it should be. Spent a good few hours in there wandering around and getting told to put my heels back on by the staff. I’m afraid I didn’t comply – me and heels don’t get along! I’m sure the champagne at brunch didn’t hurt, either. I wanted to show off my adopted city’s attractions to the lads, of course – not many Irish choose Cleveland as a tourist destination, but it is a dammed fine place (lack of taxis notwithstanding).
After that, we had about an hour or so to settle and get ready for the party, so we split up back to our hotels or apartments. My hair by this time was no longer very curly, but I don’t own a curler so it just had to suffer.
The reception was in my friends’ pub in Lakewood, and my boss surprised us with a beautiful cake (I’d said I wasn’t going to bother). The DJ was iDJ – he had made several CD’s (which we intentionally left behind, and they were played often afterward). We danced around the pool table which was covered in plywood and a tablecloth and then huge amounts of pizza (and the cake!) and I ruined my dress with Guinness stains from the floor – because it was a long dress, and I was of course barefoot again. The Irish lads were a bit baffled by my very geeky and nerdy friends, whom I miss loads because being geeky and nerdy isn’t a common Irish trait.
The booze and food was also on us – we didn’t believe in making people pay for our wedding, even if it was cheap and cheerful. We didn’t do invites, and asked for presence, not presents. At the end of the night we went to pay the tab, only to find it was about $200. We were thrilled that we had such a great night so inexpensively, and put it down to amazingly good prices and maybe a friend discount.
Years later I found out that my wonderful geeky friends had been sneakily putting money into the tab as they left – and not a single one told us they did so.
I couldn’t have had a better wedding day.