We get a lot of clients asking us about our wedding day and since we’ve just shot a surprise wedding we thought we’d share our story.
February 2016, we both worked together for the same company, had both made the decision to go back to Uni as mature students; at this point I was half way through my 2nd year studying Photography & Digital Imaging whilst Nicola had just started a Business Administration Degree. We’d been engaged a little over 5 years and still had no plans on how, where or when we were eventually going to get married. With the threat of redundancy looming over both our heads and not knowing what we we’re going to do once it eventually happened Nicola found an article online about elopement.
We had already planned a holiday to America spending a week in Washington DC & a week in New York City leaving in April 2016, just 2 months later. We discussed the option of eloping and the more and more we did, it just made sense. We just wanted to be married, we didn’t really care about the big extravagant day and with the reality of having no jobs in a few months whilst still having to study for our degree’s; going all out for a big event just wasn’t feasible. Ironic considering the amount of weddings, both big and small we currently photograph now.
So we started planning, Thursday 14th April 2016 was a couple of days before we came home from New York, this would be the day we set our date. Rings were bought, dresses and suits were also purchased over here so we’re ready to do it! We flew out to Washington on 2nd April ready for our two week “holiday"
Washington was amazing, that first week we had a great time, so boarded the bus to New York City on 9th April. After a few days site seeing in New York the time to get married was eventually here.
Thursday 14th April 2016 - Woke up nice and early in our hotel room and instantly started getting ready. Showered, suited & booted, Nicola dolled up looking beautiful we jumped a taxi ready to go to City Hall to finally get married. “Work” by Rihanna was on the radio in the cab as we got in, we decided as all we seemed to do at the time was work that this would be our unofficial wedding song.
Pulled up outside City Hall ready and raring to go, walks inside, speaks to the reception desk clerk - “One wedding please” I said with a stupid air of confidence.
“No problem Sir, do you have your marriage license?”
Erm….no, we did fill out something online before we left, is that not it?
Turns out we didn’t have the correct marriage license and the only way to get one is by going to the Office of the City Clerk in the Court House over the road. Normally you have to wait 24hours between getting the license and getting married so we could technically get married the day after. Now as Liverpool fans, there was absolutely no way we were getting married on April 15th, most people in Liverpool; reds, blues and everyone else in between will know why. It just wasn’t happening.
So the clerk tells us that as we’re really early, we can take our licence to the County Court and as long as its filed before 11am, the judge goes through the license applications at 3pm and as long as there’s no issues, we should have the licence ready & signed off by 3:30pm, so we could go back and get married later that day. So thats exactly what we did.
We took the marriage license paperwork over to the County Court and gave the application to them. Paid the $60 fee, all we had to do was wait. So we spent a little time in Little Italy, had something to eat in a gorgeous Italian deli and decided to head back to the Court to wait for the verdict. A few hours of waiting around; anxious, nervous, kind of didn’t really know what to do we finally got our licence approved!!
We ran straight back over to City Hall to finally get married!
We get to the booth to speak to the clerk, paperwork, license, passports all ready. The place is like a doctors waiting room, the only difference is its full of couples waiting to get married instead of sick people.
-“Do you have a witness?” She says. “Erm, no we’re by ourselves”
So we ask the mother of the guy who’s getting married after us if she’d mind being our witness, “no problem” she says. Thankfully New Yorkers are as down to earth as scousers. We walked into the room, Nicola, me & some random woman - stand in front of the registrar, declare our names, say the “I do’s” and we’re all done, simple as that.
We rang our families to tell them, my mum was half-cut as at the time I rang, Liverpool were playing Dortmund, it was half time in that epic 4 - 3 Europa League quarter final game which I’ve still not seen all the way through. We were congratulated, phrases like “we knew thats something you’d do” were said and we we decided to embark on NYC.
We had passes for the Empire State Building & Rockefeller Centre to use so headed straight there. As soon as we got to the Empire State Building the guys working there had seen we’d just been married so decided to bump us to the front of the queue and took us up in our own private elevator. It was amazing, we were congratulated by everyone at the top, a lovely Texan woman gave us $100 as a gift, which we tried to give back straight away but she was adamant we took it. As we’d spent all day on our feet, understandably, Nicola’s were in agony. So we used the $100 to buy her a pair of Converse which were god send as we continued on to the Rockefeller Centre.
The sun was starting to go down, we were on top of the Rockefeller roof overlooking the Empire State Building as it starts to light up. We were coming to the end of a hectic, busy but amazing day. We headed back to our hotel room to get changed into something a bit comfier and went out for a bite to eat. There’s no shortage of places to go in NYC for food at any time of day but there’s only one place we felt like - Hooters!! “Delightfully tacky, yet refined” is their slogan, chicken wings and drinks what a perfect way to end the day.
Chris & Nicola x