Niagara Gazette

September 12, 2013

DELUCA: Chasing brides and grooms

Michele DeLuca Commentary
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — I chased down a bride and groom the other day.

I was in my car and they were in a horse and buggy, so it wasn’t very challenging. But, I couldn’t help myself.wasn’t going to do it. I had passed them in the state park coming out of the visitor’s center, accompanied by a fellow in minister garb. The bride and groom were middle-aged, and she was wearing this lovely white outfit, topped by a white hat with a bit of soft netting. She looked beautiful and he looked handsome in a dark suit. Their excitement was contagious as they burst through the center doors, and people all around them stopped to stare and smile. 

I just shook my head and let them walk by.

Don’t get me wrong. I love brides and grooms. And from the way people were calling out to them, with words of congratulations and best wishes, so do a lot of other people. It just gets on my last nerve that we have newlyweds romping through this city — I often see them when I walk through the park — and we don’t do one darn thing about it. 

Over the past few years I’ve written several columns wishing for someone to take a lead in a citywide campaign to polish our title as Honeymoon Capitol of the World. 

I’ve suggested special walkways where couples could buy bricks to commemorate their wedding days/anniversaries. I’ve wished aloud for official locations throughout the park and the city where couples can tie the knot. And for special deals offered by area restaurants like free champagne or a rose for the bride and maybe even a special wedding table. 

A couple years ago my friend Barbara Rosino, inspired by the concept, started an unofficial Romance Commission with a few of her lovely friends, but it kind of fizzled away for lack of support. It’s not something just a few people can do without support. It needs leaders, non-profits and business organizations to sign on.

I was hopeful when gay marriages were legalized in New York state and we held that mass wedding at the edge of the falls. All that rainbow bliss was sure to inspire someone to say, “Hey! Giant wedding celebrations at the brink of the falls in the Honeymoon Capital of the World ... What a swell idea!” But the anniversary of that event came and went with no big hoopla.

It’s not that people don’t want to do anything. I’ve talked to many of our city leaders and everyone agrees that my ideas have some merit. But, at all levels our leaders are immersed in the very serious issues of getting this city back on its feet. What gets lost in the shuffle is the whimsy and unforgettable joy of romantic celebrations involving white doves, flowers and public kissing.     

But when I see newly wedded couples in their best outfits, blessing our city with their decision to come here for the most exciting and important event of their lives, it just reminds me that there is nothing to indicate that anyone cares that they’re here. Sorry, you honeymoon people, we’ve got enough on our minds, so you’re just going to have to figure it out for yourselves.

Don’t get me wrong. They will continue to come as they have for decades. The couple I chased down in the carriage — only because they drove right in front of the Gazette as I was returning from my walk and I took it as a sign that I had to do something — had come from New York City and they were delighted when I stopped them. Their happiness kind of rubbed off on me and brightened my whole afternoon. And their picture ended up in Wednesday’s paper and on Facebook, where they received the congratulations from a surprising number of Gazette Facebook visitors.

So, I’m feeling renewed in my campaign.  

And I’ve been thinking. What if we could get someone really important to come here to be married. Let’s say it was someone who has demonstrated a vested interest in what goes on in this city. Who maybe even has a ring in his backpocket and is just waiting for the right time and place to get down on one knee and propose to his TV star girlfriend. 

I don’t mean any disrespect. And certainly his matrimonial status is none of my business. 

But, hey, I’m looking at you, governor.

Contact Michele DeLuca at 282-2311, ext. 2263.