A persistent light rain did not dampen the exuberant celebration of over 100 people during an April 1 wedding and reception that featured the Gulfport Gecko Amalgamated Marching Band.
“We both have odd senses of humor so we thought April Fool’s Day would be suitable,” said Denise Keegan, the bride. “We knew we wanted a funky Gulfport non-traditional wedding.”
Ian O’Hara, the groom, said, “This is the most amazing day of my life.”
The wedding of Denise and Ian was no joke though laughter was the main ingredient.
As one of two officiates, Gulfport’s Gecko Queen Jon Ziegler, who was wearing a merman tee shirt – Denise, a local artist, is known for her interpretations of mermaids – donned a red and white exaggerated top hat in the middle of the ceremony to deliver the keynote quote of the vows that is often attributed to Dr. Seuss:
“We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.”
Then, Jackie Kreuter, the second officiate, pronounced the bride and groom, “Weird and Weirder.”
The ceremony was originally scheduled to be outside on the south side of the Historic Gulfport Casino, 5500 Shore Boulevard, with the band playing on the exterior deck
But just before the 2:30 p.m. start time, it began to rain.
First, the ceremony was moved to the exterior steps under the entrance canopy where the bride and groom, officiates and band members could huddle.
Then, the city’s Cultural Facilities Events Supervisor Justin Shea opened the Casino’s doors and everyone filed inside where impromptu plans were quickly changed again.
In Gulfport, people know how to immerse themselves into a party in any location amidst any weather conditions including a wedding.
Cue the tubas, trombones, trumpets and base drum for Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March.”
After the ceremony, the O’Haras and their guests, with umbrellas in hand, marched down the east sidewalk of Beach Boulevard as band members played “Funkytown” by Lipps Inc. with these lyrics in their heads, “Gotta make a move to a town that’s right for me.”
Stepping over puddles of rainwater along the way, the group gathered at El Chapo Taco on Beach Boulevard for the reception. Here, the band played “Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple “because Ian is a cigar enthusiast,” said band co-founder and tuba player Toffer Ross. Afterward, Peter Suarez played music for about an hour and was followed by disco DJ Richard Morykon.
The wedding was “perfect and it’s exactly what I pictured,” said Denise O’Hara. “It was my vision other than the rain. It was a beautiful turnout and I’m very touched that Justin opened the Casino for us. That was wonderful.”