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How I got married in a bar

Tuesday, 3 January, 2012

Before I tell you how I became Mrs. Scientist I should give you a little back story, but first let me begin by saying I am not a girly girl. Fancy dresses? No thanks. Shopping? Pass. Makeup? If it’s not mascara I have no idea what I’m doing. A wedding? Kill me now. I’m obviously the product of two hippies.

The first time I got married we actually eloped. My ex-husband and I went to a place called The Hitching Post, where you could walk in without an appointment and get married. It’s a local institution, around for almost 100 years, and is nice inside and not at all Las Vegas, getting married by Elvis (not that there’s anything wrong with that). It was exactly my style.

The Scientist had a real wedding for his first time around, something he had no desire to repeat. So we were on the same page: it wasn’t technically an elopement because we told our parents (who were all thrilled) beforehand, but something similar to The Hitching Post would be ideal. Houston is a big city, so that should be no problem, right?


We searched for places and when nothing immediately showed up we started considering contacting a judge. Then I stumbled across a website that offered walk up weddings in Houston. The minister officiated ceremonies on the weekends, but on Monday-Thursday you could come to his location and he would marry you there. The website was nice, I called and everything seemed professional, and we decided this was the place.

The Scientist and I get there and the outside is nothing special. There was a sign outside saying it was called something like the Westward Club, and I remembered that the website said something about a dance floor so I figured this was probably a hall you could rent out. The Scientist started making vague rumblings like ‘I don’t know about this’ but I assured him it was totally legit.

So, you know in the movies when someone walks into a situation where they don’t fit in AT ALL and there’s a record scratch and right then you know craziness is about to ensue? Yeah, that’s this part right here.

We walk in and it’s a bar. Not kinda. Not sorta. A for really reals bar, complete with dart boards and country music. Very Texas. At this point The Scientist and I both turn back towards the door, then back inside, and then look at each other like WHAT DO WE DO. And then the bartender calls out something like ‘How can I help you folks,’ like it isn’t completely obvious, me in a dress and a handknitted white shawl and The Scientist in his best suit. I mumble something about wanting to get married and he comes out from behind the bar, introduces himself, and asks us if we want a Christian or civil ceremony. We say civil.

At this point I’m understandably confused and there’s still a part of me that is thinking there must be some room in the back we can’t see that’s nice and, you know, NOT A BAR where the actual ceremony will take place. The lone customer, a woman, calls someone and is telling them that Paul is about to marry us and that is when I realize two things: 1. The bartender is the minister 2. There is no other room and we are about to get married in a bar OH MY FUCKING GOD. Then two rednecks walk in, and they’re filled in on the situation and they shake our hands and congratulate us.

Paul turns off the music and leads us to the entrance to the dance floor, where there is an arbor decorated with fake flowers, and the ceremony begins. Something tells me in good old Texas the civil ceremony isn’t often requested, and the reason I’m guessing this because Paul keeps forgetting the words. But he makes it through it, and The Scientist and I exchange rings, say our vows, and share our first kiss as husband and wife, bathed in the glow of multiple neon beer signs.

And that is how I got married in a bar. It might not have been perfect, but as The Scientist said later, there was a lot of love. So at least we got that part right.

The Rays – Christmas 2011

24 Comments leave one →
  1. Laura Hall Briedis permalink
    Tuesday, 3 January, 2012 9:19 pm

    That’s wonderful. Congratulations and Happy New Year to you and your new family.

    All the best.

  2. Tuesday, 3 January, 2012 9:23 pm

    This is probably one of the best wedding stories ever. 🙂

  3. Jess permalink
    Tuesday, 3 January, 2012 9:26 pm

    I love love love love this! Congrats x a million!!!!!

  4. Mom permalink
    Tuesday, 3 January, 2012 9:29 pm

    It is a great story and one you will tell over and over. So much better than the conventional wedding – anyone can do THAT. Remember Dad and I got kicked out of a hardware store on our wedding day…I guess you are just following our lead. And really, Christian had it right – lots of love is all it takes.
    ps – I have enjoyed telling your story here in Idaho – way to go girl!

  5. Tuesday, 3 January, 2012 9:44 pm

    Congrats! What a great story! I’m with you – no silly fancy weddings if that’s not your style. Hubby and I had a ‘traditional wedding’ even though it was so counter to what we wanted (I let my mom talk me into it). I’d always wished we had done something a little more low key.

  6. Tuesday, 3 January, 2012 11:41 pm

    I LOVE this! What a story!

  7. Wednesday, 4 January, 2012 12:03 am

    Congratulations! That is definitely a memorable wedding.

  8. Wednesday, 4 January, 2012 3:45 am

    Congratulations! That’s a great story. 🙂

  9. Wednesday, 4 January, 2012 7:05 am

    Congratulations! I love the story and would have loved to be the fly on a glass to witness a Texan Bar Wedding

    I guess no more “a scientist walks into a bar” jokes for the two of you 😉

  10. Bertha permalink
    Wednesday, 4 January, 2012 8:39 am

    This is an amazing wedding story!! Congratulations on your new family!

  11. Wednesday, 4 January, 2012 9:33 am

    Fantastic story! Love it!

  12. Colleen permalink
    Wednesday, 4 January, 2012 9:57 am

    So happy that you had the wedding that you wanted to have!

  13. Riaknits permalink
    Wednesday, 4 January, 2012 3:17 pm

    The Beatles got it right, all those years ago when they said ‘love is all you need’.

  14. Wednesday, 4 January, 2012 6:41 pm

    Congratulations! Fun story too and definitely memorable for future anniversary stories. 🙂

  15. Wednesday, 4 January, 2012 8:10 pm

    Congrats Little Sis! Love the story and can’t wait for the day that i get to meet The Scientist!

  16. Catalina permalink
    Thursday, 5 January, 2012 5:48 am

    ¡Felicidades! Congratulations! My best wishes for your life together.

  17. Saturday, 7 January, 2012 12:20 pm

    That is HILARIOUS! I understand the whole “not wanting a wedding” thing, too. I eloped and got married in a courthouse–but your story is much better!

  18. Saturday, 7 January, 2012 7:05 pm

    Wow…what a great story! Many congratulations to you and your new family!!!

  19. Sunday, 8 January, 2012 1:54 am

    Hi, what a special photo of you & your new family…Peace on earth.

  20. Elizabeth permalink
    Thursday, 19 January, 2012 8:33 am

    I was googling brides that had their reception party (and ceremony) at a bar or pub, but made them into wedding venues, not this… but this is so hilarious. The story is funny, but the way you tell it makes it much more appealing, couldn’t stop reading. Congrats.

  21. Court permalink
    Saturday, 7 April, 2012 3:01 am

    Love the story. My boyfriend and I are going to go there next week. I hope its as rememorable as urs. Thanks for the story!!!

  22. Emily permalink
    Tuesday, 12 May, 2015 6:39 pm

    Beautiful story ❤ Its years passed now but congratulations 🙂 me and my husband recently got married in the bar my sister works at that we had our first date at 😀 it was really last minute as we planned it for outside and it decided to be a poor weather situation. But the love was really all that mattered and i could not be happier ^_^


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