National Cathedral Offers Site for “Shutdown” Weddings

The National Cathedral wants to help couples who had to cancel their weddings because of the government shutdown.

Two dozen couples had planned to marry at memorials on the National Mall this month, but the sites have been closed down. Now Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde, the Episcopal bishop of Washington, is inviting the affected couples to tie the knot at the Bishop's Garden at the cathedral. Budde says the ceremonies will be free and open to all faiths.

In all, about a dozen of those couples had already contacted the National Cathedral by mid-day Friday. Two of those couples will tie the knot at the Cathedral this weekend; another wedding is booked for next weekend.

"The shutdown’s impact on people’s lives is incalculable, and we’re all struggling to find ways to support our neighbors,” Bishop Budde said in a press release.

The Bishop's Garden features a large lawn edged by a garden outside the diocesan offices on the grounds of Washington National Cathedral.

The weddings on the National Mal were scheduled with permits in advance, but were postponed indefinitely once the government shutdown went into effect, said National Park Service spokeswoman Carol Johnson.

"It's frustrating that it happened," said Michael Cassesso told Washington's News4. "Everyone wants their wedding to be exactly how they pictured it."

Cassesso and his fiancee, MaiLien Le, were scheduled to get married at the Jefferson Memorial on Sunday. But they probably won't take Bishop Budde up on her offer.

Late-night host and apparently ordained minister Stephen Colbert married the couple Thursday night on "The Colbert Report."


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