A Liverpool couple who decided to wed at New York City Hall panicked when they realized they needed a witness. But the internet came to their rescue.
Dan and Gill McCauley, who met two years ago at a pub, decided to tie the knot in New York City. Both had been married before, each have children and they wanted to do something “just for us,” they said.
They booked a date at the New York City Marriage Bureau, but just weeks before they were due to exchange vows, they realized they were missing one crucial thing: a witness. To be legally wed in New York, a couple needs to have a witness, and the British couple didn’t know who to turn to.
Dan had an idea, but it was a long shot. Without expecting much of a response, he posted on a community page for New York City residents on the online platform Reddit.
“Hi peeps I need a witness for clerks office wedding we're coming to nyc in 2 weeks and we're panicking over a witness,” the post read.
Within a day the couple was overwhelmed with responses from New Yorkers willing to give up their mornings so the couple could get married. Dan and Gill said they had about 15 responses to their call for help, but Michael Robinson stood out.
"We've got a guy called Mike who has agreed to be a witness and take photos for free," Dan said. “He just seemed like a really, really nice guy."
Come Tuesday, the couple were found just inside the revolving doors at the New York City Marriage Bureau, standing as though meeting a blind-date of sorts, looking out for "Mike." The bride wore an apricot dress with lace sleeves and matching apricot trainers that sparkled with silver sequins. She also held a matching bouquet a friend had made her, which she'd brought over in her hand-luggage.
“I have high heels in my bag, I’m going to change into them,” she giggled. She didn’t, and the groom joked after the wedding that now he was unlikely to ever see them on her.
It was the perfect day for a wedding: blue skies, not a breath of wind and at least 50 degrees. Outside the Marriage Bureau, the entrepreneurial flog bouquets of flowers, confetti and even cheap rings. Two men lingered with professional-looking cameras, one with a small display of couples who have come before perched on the stone wall of the building. Multi-colored petals lined the concrete steps up the to bureau, along with a few cigarette butts.
Robinson arrived through the revolving doors at 9 a.m. on the dot, as promised. Also from the U.K., he had recently quit his job to take photos and focus on professional development and, with his DSLR camera, he snapped photos of his new friends as they waited to marry. He said, when used for good, Reddit could be really good.
After going through the metal detector, the couple was given a number -- much like at the Social Security Office. On green felt couches, alongside other grooms and brides to-be, they chatted with Robinson about their adventures in New York City so far — getting lost on the subway and going to Rudy’s tavern to get a beer, a shot and a free hot dog.
“C003” came over the loudspeaker. After hearing their number, Dan, Gill and Robinson made their way first to the license counter and then to wait their turn for the chapel.
“I'm really nervous,” Gill said. Dan was, too. “We’ve got all the paparazzi here,” he joked.
Soon the couple were called into the chapel for their turn with the Bureau’s celebrant. Like the most traditional of weddings, the lovers recited their vows, exchanged rings and sealed the promise with a kiss. Robinson snapped away on his camera, and dutifully captured a close-up of the rings, as requested by Gill.
With the rest of their lives planned, what did they plan to do with the rest of the day? “We’re going to get a drink with Mike,” Dan said. And the happy trio wandered off into the sunshine.