One fall day in my early childhood I noticed that my father was readying his cars for an event. Usually, he would tinker on one or two at a time, but never all four at once. It turned out that my uncle had requested the use of all the families’ classic cars in a brilliant and bold procession from the church to the reception on his wedding day. Ever since my uncle cleverly incorporated classic cars into his wedding day, I always knew, in some way, that I wanted to do the same.
After falling in love and proposing to my sweetheart, Eva, some 20 years later, I found myself wondering how I could incorporate as many classic cars as possible, into our wedding day. I knew I had a shot of incorporating some, given my wife, then girlfriend, supported me and my father in the restoration of my 1965 Triumph TR4A.
My first idea was to use cars for the procession; however given that our ceremony and reception would be at the same location, there would be no procession. My next thought was that I could incorporate the Triumph into some wedding photos, after all my father and I painted the car white for exactly that reason... (or white is a forgiving color for our first attempt at body work). My wife agreed it could be very "classy and cute" to incorporate the LBC (little British car). I agreed and assured her that the white paint had aged nicely over the last year to a terrific "ivory" color and would go perfectly with her dress.
Fast forward 6 months to just after "Frankenstorm" Sandy had hit the East coast. My wife and I found ourselves in a "my life is a movie" moment. We, along with tremendous support from family members, were re-planning our wedding just three days prior to the “big day.” Our venue and a number of our vendors found themselves without power, resources, or personnel. As you can imagine, this was not the easiest time for my future wife, however she was handling it fantastically. Amongst the hectic planning, packing, unpacking, filling the generator with gas, and cutting fallen trees, I suddenly realized that there was a pretty good chance there were not going to be any classic cars in my wedding. Especially given that the TR4A was not nearly clean enough to be in wedding photos, not to mention, I siphoned out all the gas to run the generator, which had become a very scarce commodity at this point.
Just moments after we agreed on an alternative venue two and a half days prior to the wedding, I worked up the nerve to see if I could go prepare the Triumph for the wedding pictures. Eva smiled, took a deep breath and said "Yes, it needs to be immaculate." Realizing there was a chance to make this happen, I thanked her profusely and hurried home. On my drive home, I realized I was not out of the woods just yet. With no gas, three out of the four back roads to the site closed, and our house still without power, the odds were not in our favor. However, our luck was about to change.
Turning on to our street, I started seeing utility and tree crews frantically working. Then I caught a glimpse of our house with the outside lights on, and every other light in the house for that matter. What a relief! After unplugging all the necessities and turning off all the ancillaries, I went straight to the garage and siphoned the remaining gas out of the generator back into the Triumph. I figured 3 gallons would be enough to get me there. Getting home was not a concern of mine at this point. I then quickly waxed the paint, vacuumed the carpets and polished the chrome. One of my neighbors stopped by while I was frantically vacuuming the carpets. I explained the saga that was unfolding with the wedding and he stopped me mid-sentence and asked "What are you doing here?! She is letting you detail your car at a time like this?!" I answered “yes” and explained what a wonderful and understanding gal I was marrying.
With the car cleaned and all things packed for our big weekend, I was off to meet up with everyone at Eva’s parents’ house in rural New Jersey. One more unexpected road block made it so all back roads were closed for my journey, except…the highways. Therefore at 11:30 pm, at 4,000 RPM, doing 60 MPH, I struggled to keep up with the rush of traffic and big rigs on I-78. However, the car ran great and safely delivered me to my destination.
The day before the wedding was full of preparation. The planned leisurely round of golf with the groomsmen was replaced with other group activities such as cutting down trees, clearing brush, and raking leaves left from the storm. Once the property was prepped for pictures and the road was cleared for the guests, I finished the final details on the Triumph - polishing the wheels, glossing the tires, and of course, checking the spark plugs.
After a successful ad hoc rehearsal dinner (my wife and I actually do not remember the name of the restaurant) and night on the town with friends from high school and college, it was finally our big day. The day was clear and beautiful, and despite some choke issues with the Triumph, everything went off without a hitch. We were even able to get some great photos incorporating the TR4A.
Later that day we made our way to the ceremony. I counted that the limo drove over seven downed power lines while trying to find a successful route to the venue. Despite the huge obstacles created by Hurricane Sandy, we had 90% of the original guest list packed into the crowded alternative venue to watch us tie the knot. My best man referred to as the “FEMA wedding” throughout the weekend. Later that night at the reception, to my surprise, I found out that my wife’s Aunt, who makes custom cakes, had designed our wedding cake to be an exact replica of the Triumph TR4A, including figurines representing Eva and me in the car. However, there was one small change to the normal seating arrangement…my wife was now in the driver seat.
After a terrific reception and brunch the following day, we packed the car and headed home. I pulled the Triumph into the driveway as proud as could be that everything worked out and that the car made it through the weekend without any problems. After unpacking the car, I turned the key to drive the Triumph into the garage only to find out that the car had a dead battery. As I stood by the car with a perplexed look, my wife, who was currently still bringing things into the house, stopped and asked “Is everything is OK?” to which I answered, “Everything is great” and pushed the car into the garage, chuckling.
1. If a wedding is meant to happen, it will happen.
2. Good people, love, and support make for a great wedding, no matter where it takes place.
3. A solid Triumph will get you 99.9% of the way there.
4. The recommended torque specs for an alternator bracket is 20lbs, and not 10lbs. (The fan belt had loosened up on the way home and the alternator was no longer charging the battery.)