The story of my wedding day all begins with the cockroaches on the airplane.
Yep, you’re reading that right. Instead of snakes on a plane, I’m talking real, live, creepy-crawling roaches on a plane. A plane that my then-fiancé, Harry C. Marsh and I found ourselves stuck on back in 2011.
Sadly, my friends, I am not allowed to tell you the complete story of the cockroaches on the plane in great detail due to an agreement we reached with the airline. Legally, all I’m allowed to say on the official record is “It has ended”.
To give you some sort of insight into the cockroach incident, I’ll share this CNN video about the viral news story that swept the nation eight years ago, featuring yours truly, Harry C. Marsh and myself 🙂
When you click on the play button below to view the CNN news story, you will have to also click on the link that says “Watch this Video on YouTube” to be redirected back to YouTube to actually watch it. (They want advertising $$$)
Remember when I told you that being married to a man like Harry C. Marsh should come with it’s own instruction manual, or at the very least, a prescription for Xanax?
Well, I rest my case.
The story broke late on a Friday afternoon when the lawsuit was removed from state court and refiled in federal court by the airline’s attorneys in a power-play attempt at intimidation. By doing this, they opened the case up to the public record, and it immediately became accessible to anyone and everyone under the sun. (sidenote: isn’t this airline now bankrupt and defunct? Perhaps they should have had better lawyers… but I digress).
A journalist from our local WSOC-TV Channel 9 found the lawsuit and immediately covered the story on the 11 pm news that Friday night, live from the Charlotte Douglas International airport. From there, the story exploded across the nation in a matter of hours. It was featured on every MAJOR news outlet in America (and many other countries). In fact, the story was so popular, it stayed on CNN’s top trending stories for 5 days straight. We received calls from the Today Show, The O’Reilly Factor, Good Morning America, CNN, CBS Television Studios and many, many others, begging for in-person interviews.
In the words of Harry C. Marsh himself, in an email to his boss containing a link to an online article about the lawsuit, “Oh lord, I’ve stirred up some shit.”
By Monday or Tuesday the following week, I was a nervous wreck. As someone already prone to anxiety, you can imagine what something like this would do to me. Literally, hundreds of news articles about us were plastered all over the internet with thousands of posted comments (a lot of them negative). People even found our home address online and they were posting it in the public forums. I was an absolute basket case of anxiety.
At the time this story took place, Harry and I had been engaged for well over a year. We already lived in a house we owned together and we even had shared bank accounts. In our minds, we were as good as married already, just not legally.
Both of us had never been keen on the idea of a big wedding, or even a wedding at all. Instead, we thought our money would be wiser used on real estate investing or some other venture. Neither one of us liked the idea of being the center of attention in a room full of people, and the task of planning a wedding never appealed. We had never counted on a big, large event in the first place; it was never in the cards for us. That being said, when the cockroach lawsuit story swept the nation, we hadn’t had any immediate or active plans to wed. We both figured we’d just get around to it when we had some spare time or a day off.
However, the media circus we found ourselves caught up in had me absolutely distraught. I remember laying in bed one night talking to Harry, on the verge of tears, asking him what I should do if someone came to the door. (I worked from home at this time and our address had been published online in numerous places). I was legitimately scared about the situation.
In an effort to take my mind off of the situation, Harry did what Harry thought made the most logical sense at the time – he suggested we go and get married. The tactic must have worked. I don’t remember the exact conversation, but obviously, I agreed. Apparently, we both thought that when you find yourself in an extremely crazy situation, just go ahead and make it crazier. Getting married seemed to fit the bill.
We figured Friday would work as good as any day, so we set in motion to obtain our marriage license downtown at the county registrar. We knew that the magistrate would be the easiest option for us, and we made plans to go on Friday afternoon, after work.
Believe it or not, there was a time before Harry Marsh Law existed. At the time, Harry was working for a landscape management corporation as their in-house corporate legal counsel. He must have gone into the office that Thursday morning and told everyone of our wedding plans. It was a smaller company with about 20-25 employees, so word of the pending nuptials spread quickly.
Shortly thereafter, another executive at the company, a man by the name of Randy Ream, approached Harry about the wedding and posed a suggestion, “You know, I’m an ordained minister and I could marry you right here at the office. We can do it during lunch on Friday and everyone can watch it.” Harry, realizing that this would be much easier than driving to the magistrate’s office and waiting in line, readily agreed to the suggestion, thanking Randy for the offer.
According to a gmail chat between us that day, here’s how Harry broke the news to me:
me: no way
Harry@gmail.com: Yes, Randy wants us in the war room at NW on Friday at lunch.
me: you cant make me
I agreed. Why not? After all, I decided that it would indeed be easier to have Randy perform the service than driving all the way to the county courthouse and waiting in line to see the magistrate. Harry and I have always been about convenience and our own wedding was no exception to the rule.
Friday morning rolled around and began like any other day. I set out to work at the computer for the morning, while Harry went into the office like normal. Business as usual.
Meanwhile, Harry’s co-workers were busy preparing… a little. Someone even took the liberty to download a video of a trellis situated on the beach, set before the ocean sunset. They projected this video on the whiteboard to serve as the backdrop to our ceremony, a pleasant touch to the cold, war room setting.
At the office, Harry was catching hell for not having wedding rings for us. So, he enlisted the help of someone to run over to the local Walmart next door and buy a nice set of sterling silver weddings bands for us, both of which set us back a grand total of $35.
To this day, eight years later, these $35 wedding rings still adorn our ring fingers.
I arrived at the office 10 minutes early, and was greeted by the sight of everyone sitting at their desks, working away, as though they would be doing on any normal day. It was just a normal day, after all. I found Harry in his office and he notified everyone else that the bride-to-be had arrived and we could all commence with the wedding. He introduced me to Randy Ream, the officiator, and we all filed into the war room to set the service in motion.
The 20-25 employees filled the seats and as I stared out at the sea of stranger’s faces, present to witness our Holy matrimony, I was filled with a gratitude for their fascination, enthusiasm and encouragement over our vows. I imagined that I was playing a role in an episode of “The Office.” I was Pam and Harry was my Jim.
The ceremony was short, sweet and got the job done. After the kiss, we turned to face the room, welcomed to a roar of applause as Harry’s co-workers cheered us on. A woman I had never met before stepped forward and gifted me with a small candle. It was touching and I was moved by the support and dedication they showed us. Both of us relieved to be finished with the task at hand.
Afterwards, Harry and his co-workers went back to their desks to work, and I left to go back home to finish my work for the day. I called my parents on the drive back to share the good news with them. My dad was the most supportive of all and offered me the following words, “I’m just so relieved to hear you aren’t living in sin anymore.”
So there you have it. A story that ends as quickly as it begins. Within a few more days, the media frenzy moved on, but our love remained unwavering as we celebrated the days of our marital bliss.
It will be forever known to us as the week of the cockroaches and of our wedding. It was a week of trying tribulations, and some of the most exciting days of our lives. A week packed full of many emotions – disbelief, excitement, nervousness, fear, confusion, love.
LOVE. Yet more proof that even in the most scary and trying circumstances, love will and does find a way to conquer all. Even under the threats of a cockroach-laden airline, hungry journalists, and incompetent lawyers, we learned that love wins in the end of the story. Especially, and most definitely, when a man named Harry C. Marsh plays a part in it.