(Photo: REUTERS/Jason Reed)
The Episcopal Diocese of Washington has announced that couples whose wedding plans were disrupted by the government shutdown can use the National Cathedral's grounds as a new site.
Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde stated Wednesday evening that couples forced to cancel their weddings because of the shutdown may hold the ceremonies at the gardens on the Cathedral grounds.
"The shutdown's impact on people's lives is incalculable, and we're all struggling to find ways to support our neighbors," said Budde in a statement.
"As one modest gesture, we invite those whose outdoor wedding plans were unexpectedly changed to consider the Bishop's Garden as an alternate site, and we offer it to them free of charge."
Jim Naughton of Canticle Communications, spokesman for the Diocese, told The Christian Post that the offer came via the suggestion of a member of the Diocese of Washington.
"Budde said she made the invitation after a member of the diocese proposed the idea in an email after reading of the plight of Mike Cassesso and MaiLien Le, whose wedding was scheduled to be held on the west lawn of the Jefferson Memorial," said Naughton. "There haven't been any weddings yet because the offer was only made public late Wednesday night."
According to the National Park Service, twenty four weddings were scheduled to be held at the National Mall during the month of October.
When the federal government shut down earlier this week, one of the many side-effects was the closure of museums and public parks.
This meant planned events had to be canceled, including the marriage of Mike Cassesso and MaiLien Le, which was going to be held at the west lawn of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial.
"Shutdowns are one of those things that on an intellectual level you know are going to impact an average person, but you really don't get it until it hits you in a way like this," said Cassesso to The Washington Post. "There are plenty of people around the country who may not understand that this isn't just going to hurt nameless government workers and that, in a depressing way, it impacts your wedding plans with just a few days' notice."
The couple would eventually have their wedding performed by Stephen Colbert, comedian and host of Comedy Central's Colbert Report, on his program.