Yep that’s right we had a secret wedding in New York.
Here’s how it all happened…
The wedding proposal
We were sitting on the sofa at our farm house sit in Canada. The log fire is roaring and we have a cup of tea in hand. Rob turns to me and asks…
“Do you want to do something fun when we’re in New York?”
Me: “Yeah, ok, what have you got in mind?”
I was thinking it would be some sort of food tour.
Rob: “Do you want to get married?”
Me: “Shut up…no…are you serious?…no…do you mean that…no.”
I said no a lot.
Rob: “Yeah I’m serious, let’s do it, just you and me… somewhere cool!”
Tiniest of pauses.
Me: “Okay let’s do it” as I leapt into to Rob’s arms screaming!
And so that was it, we were getting married in New York. Our favourite city. In six weeks time!!
A change of heart
Marriage wasn’t on our radar. If I’m honest it terrified us both. All the organising, the pressure to do things a certain way, inviting your third cousin twice removed and being centre of attention for an entire day. Nope, it just wasn’t for us.
Being married however is something we could do. We’ve travelled together for 16 months, spending pretty much 24/7 together. If there was a test you had to pass before you got married, I think that we’d ace it.
Plus I’ve known from an early stage, Rob and me are going the distance. Previous crap boyfriends helped make this decision easy.
Once Rob popped the question in his typical understated way, something changed. I instantly felt much more secure and closer to him. I was shocked how a simple question can make you feel so different.
Our little secret…
We’d decided early on this was just going to our little secret. This made the build up even more special for us. It felt like ours. Something that was just about the two of us, which was just how we wanted it to be.
The ‘lengthy’ six week engagement flew by. We spent the time searching online, cobbling together some funky threads for the big day, as well as finding the all important wedding meal venue, putting together our favourite ‘Us’ tunes on a Spotify playlist, and finding cool vintage shops for last minute outfit purchases.
Before we knew it we were saying goodbye to our house sitting duties and jumping on a plane, New York bound.
Our journey to New York was not without event. Our flight from Toronto to New York was cancelled as we sat on the plane on the tarmac. Gutted is not the word. Snow has a lot to answer for.
A night in an average airport hotel was what we were in for, instead of our lovely Airbnb apartment in Brooklyn. The following morning we awoke bleary eyed at 3am to hop on a red eye flight.
The grumpiness didn’t last long once our flight was off the tarmac and 100% on the way to NYC.
WE. ARE. DOING. THIS!
Every now and then we would just look at each with giddy smiles.
No amount of giddiness could stave off sleep. Our plans to take The Big Apple by storm were halted by an essential power nap, as we finally reached our apartment a day late. A couple of hours later we began our New York story.
We landed on the Saturday and spent 3 days exploring, before our wedding on the Tuesday. The whole trip had a completely different focus to our last tourist filled trip 4 years ago.
We almost completely ignored the usual sights. Instead we discovered the cool Williamsburg area, packed full of vintage shops (which are incredible by the way. Cheap and full of clothes thanks to the hipsters who frequent the area).
We also had to sort out the paperwork, heading to the City Clerks office to pick up our marriage license, which you have to do at least 24hrs in advance of the ceremony.
The wedding day
On Tuesday 24th March we practically leapt out of bed, both on a high.
The day was perfect and although not traditional in any sense, it was exactly how we wanted it. We ate breakfast together, drank bucks fizz and listened to our favorite music whilst dressing in the finest clothes we could find. After 16 months of living out of a backpack, I’d like to think we rocked it with our wedding outfits!
We organised a carriage to our wedding… Sorry, I mean we caught the subway train! And walked passed the impressive City Hall and all the grand court buildings to the City Clerk’s office.
Can I get a witness?
Now, one of the problems you have when organising a secret wedding is the fact that you need a witness. A willing witness complete with identification.
I think this was the only thing that brought nerves to the day. The witness would in fact also have to be our photographer, and filmographer. Quite an important job for a complete stranger.
We stepped into the City Clerks office with some trepidation. The first person we spotted was a lady leaning against the art deco walls reading a book. She could read! This surely was a good sign.
Rob approached her and got straight to the point, “We are getting married today and would love you to be our witness.”
She beamed from ear to ear, “are you serious? I would love too! Oh my God this is amazing! I’m just about to become a Minister so I can marry my friends next week! Oh wow!”
This was Uli. Somehow this complete stranger managed to make our amazing day even more awesome as she agreed to be our witness. Uli has the energy and excitement of someone who loves life. I can see why her friends had asked her to marry them.
She took our camera and immediately began snapping pictures and getting us to pose, in between complimenting even the tiniest details of our outfits. Then handed us a little book of inspiration she carries with her, as we waited to be called for our ceremony.
When you pick someone random to be part of your wedding day, you take a chance. Our roll of the dice paid off, I could not have been happier. Uli truly enhanced our day and I’ll be forever grateful she was part of it.
The wedding ceremony
We weren’t really sure what to expect from the ceremony, however I probably could have given Rob a heads up as to what finger the wedding ring goes on.
This awkward moment was quickly followed by the stunned silence of Rob when the Clerk asked him if he wanted to say anything to me. His off the cuff bumbling was full of sentiment and love…although he’ll tell you different. My teary eyes told the full story.
We then headed out onto the steps outside as Uli snapped more pictures. The whole thing flashed by.
Then our star witness was gone, and it was just the two of us again hugging on a park bench surrounded by the incredible New York skyline.
“You want to go eat Mrs Ward?” Rob said.
We went uptown for steak and cocktails, before heading back to our apartment where I made a cup of tea and put my slippers on. Not the normal end to a wedding day, but we had a flight to catch that very evening. Jetting back home to spread our exciting news to our shocked family and friends.
Our day was perfect; I wouldn’t have done a single thing differently. I’m incredibly lucky to have met such a wonderful, kind, funny and tolerant person and I’m even luckier that I get to call this man my husband.
So what’s next? A honeymoon of course! Probably not your typical honeymoon.
Next week we head off to Europe, with a tandem bike! A three month cycling adventure is the plan… More to come very soon.