There have been hundreds of Chicago weddings in the last year, but not a single one has used fireworks. Why? Well it’s illegal to buy fireworks in Illinois. Thousands of dollars worth of them are smuggled in from Wisconsin, Indiana, and Missouri each year for the forth of July – but the fines attached to them are so astronomical that only the most reckless souls will actually light them up.
As I child I always loved going into the city to watch the dazzling display of professional skylights overhead. There was something so exhilarating about watching enormous balls of flame burst above me in a spectacle of brilliant light and color. Getting ash in my hair because I sat closest to the front was always an added bonus.
So, I was getting married in two weeks – and we were having our wedding reception in the Chicago suburbs, well outside the city. And more than anything else I wanted to integrate fireworks into my ceremony. It was driving me crazy that it was becoming so difficult. I mean, short of breaking my budget to hire a professional or moving the venue to another state, I was out of ideas.
I discussed it with my bride-to-be, and she seemed to think the whole notion was silly. “Maybe we can have sparklers or something on the tables?” She suggested. The only problem was, in August there was no place to even buy sparklers. But then I had an idea. I was only planning to get married once in my life, and we weren’t going to be an an overpopulated area in Chicago. If I could just get my hands on some fireworks, then surely we would get away with it on the day of the wedding. It had to work!
I called my brother who lived in North Carolina to see if he would join me in my plotting. “Steven,” I began. “How much would it take to bribe you to go into South Carolina sometime before the wedding and pick up fireworks for me?”
He didn’t respond for a moment. But then, “You’re telling me you want to blow things up on your wedding day? That’s awesome! I’ll totally do it!” I was so happy I couldn’t breathe.
So, Steven delivered the goods a couple days before the ceremony, proving that he was my best man for more reason than just family ties. He was a man who understood my need to make things bigger than life. And on the main day of the event, after everyone had gorged themselves on chocolate wedding cake and an enormous amount of cheap alcohol, he and I sneaked out the back – still wearing our tuxedos mind you – and lit off the entire box of magnificent fireworks.
Yes, it was probably really stupid – but totally worth it. My wife even came up to me afterwards, kissed me, and told me how amazing it had been. Truly, my wedding went out with a bang – and it was both ridiculous and unforgettable.