It has now been 5 years since my husband Jimmy and I said “I do” in New York City. Yes, that’s right folks. People from all over the world pay top bucks to get married on the beaches in the Caribbean, and this island girl’s idea of romance was yellow cabs and skyscrapers.
At that time I was still an event and wedding planner and knew only too well how a wedding tends to take over and make the nicest of persons into a raging dragon dressed in white, spitting fire and insults at anyone that comes too close. Save to say that I’ve seen my share of bridezillas.
Like any girl I was ecstatic to start planning our wedding and the very next day after he popped the question I was making up the guest list. I got to 200 guests in less than 30 minutes. The thing about living on an island is that when it comes to weddings you cannot leave anyone out. People take that shit seriously. Don’t invite your mother’s hairdresser’s cousin and you will get the evil eye for the rest of your days.
So to avoid a complete circus we decided to elope. We told our immediate family and some close friends and asked everyone to respect our wishes. Moms were hurt, friends were confused but at the end I’d like to think that they all understood that it was our day and nobody else’s.
Why New York?
Vegas was of course our number one choice but after extensive research online New York made perfect sense. That and of course the scene in the Sex and the City movie when Carrie married Mr. Big at the city clerk’s office was enough for me to say I DO to New York City.
The day prior to our nuptials
We stayed at a cute little hotel in Brooklyn and were joined by my best friend who could just not accept not being a part of our big day. Jimmy’s cousin who was living in the city at the time would be our witness.
As soon as we arrived we went straight to the City Clerk’s Office to complete the application. We were stunned to see a line of people in their wedding attires waiting their turn to enter the “chapel”. It was quite comical actually and it made me more convinced that our decision to do it this way was indeed the right one. The whole scene was just so us.
I still hadn’t found my outfit at this time so after getting our license we all quickly headed to SoHo for some last minute shopping. I got my “Carrie” outfit, my makeup and my “glass slippers”.
After the retail therapy there was nothing else to do but wait the 24 hours before we could get married, so we did what any other Caribbean couple would do: We went and got liquored up on margaritas and stuffed ourselves with tortilla chips and home made guacamole at this fantastic Mexican place we found online called Mad Dog and Beans.
The day of the wedding
It was the morning of our wedding. My bestie helped me get ready, Alicia Key’s hit song New York blasting in the background. Jimmy got dressed in one part of the room while we made the bathroom our sanctuary. Then it suddenly hit me: My life was about to change. Holy shit! Did I give this enough thought? Was 9 years together long enough to get to know a person? What if it didn’t work out? I was freaking out and was hyperventilating and everything. Meanwhile, Jimmy was whistling to himself and making his way to the hotel lobby to wait for us and all I could think was “how can he possibly be this calm?”
We took a cab to the City Clerk’s Office where we were met by our witness, Jimmy’s cousin Carolyn. After the signing of the necessary documents we took a number and waited our turn.
The City Clerk’s Office underwent a major upgrade just before 2011 to better accommodate all the wedding requests but also to compete with Vegas in the wedding market. They now have a few chapels and a last minute wedding store with everything you might need from bridal bouquets to wedding rings.
So here is the thing you need to know about the actual wedding ceremony: it’s over and done before you know it. All I remember really was Jimmy struggling to put the ring on my finger and muttering something about too much guacamole the night before.
We were now husband and wife. Yay!
After the ceremony it was all a blur of wedding photos on the Brooklyn bridge, county offices to get an apostille, quick lunch at a Diner and a nap at the hotel before going out to celebrate at another awesome place we found online, a vodka bar in Soho called Pravda.
Post wedding glow in the city
If you think you’re going to get the best sex of your life on your wedding night, think again. We were both so exhausted from a very long day and a little drunk after a night of partying in the city that we collapsed on our hotel bed, clothes still on.
We spent 5 more glorious days in the city before heading back home to the Caribbean. It was my first trip to New York and even though I have not yet found my way back, it has made quite an impact on me. Our wedding in the City that Never Sleeps will forever be one of the most special days of my life.
What do you need to get married in NYC?
To my amazement the whole procedure was quite easy. We needed to apply for a marriage license online, complete this application once in the city, get it stamped and signed and wait 24 hours before we could take the plunge. Being from the Caribbean we then would have to complete the tedious task of getting an apostille on the marriage certificate so it could be recognized in the Dutch Caribbean as legit.
Are you interested in getting married in New York City? Visit the Office of the City Clerk of New York website for more information.
Where did you get married? Share your story below.
Much Love, Laugh and Travel.
Riselle a.k.a. The Traveling Island Girl