Feliece Terwilliger and Joseph DeMichele were planning on having a quiet, secret wedding ceremony on Saturday afternoon so they could surprise their families on Christmas. Instead a series of unfortunate events turned them into minor celebrities, but thanks to the efforts of a kind police officer, they’re happily married after all.
The Long Island, N.Y., couple decided to get married at the local town hall, with just their two children and two witnesses attending, according to ABC News. That morning one of the witnesses had to cancel. Then, while the bride and her daughter were having their hair done, the stylist burned the little girl’s face with a curling iron.
“My morning didn’t start out well,” Terwilliger told ABC. Still, she said, their spirits were high as they drove to the wedding. “We were so excited. We were taking pictures. Well, I was taking pictures, he was driving, and we were all just very excited to be finally getting married after being engaged for six years and together for seven.”
That’s when another car making a U-turn crashed into them headfirst. Fortunately no one was hurt, but their Jeep got a flat tire. The police officer on the scene, Suffolk County Police Sgt. Thomas Kennedy, asked why the family was so dressed up. When they told him they were about to miss their 1:30 ceremony, he took action.
Feliece Terwilliger & Joseph DeMichele didn’t expect “something blue” to be a #SCPD officer when planning their wedding. But after a minor car crash in Shirley @SCPD7thPrecinct Cody Matthews drove the couple & their kids to their wedding at Town Hall in the Village of Lake Grove pic.twitter.com/UPioGF1mKj
— Suffolk County PD (@SCPDHq) December 22, 2018
“He didn’t hesitate,” DeMichele told ABC. “He was like, ‘OK, you go do the paperwork with her, and you take the info from him, and we’re going to get them to their wedding.’”
Officer Cody Matthews piled the family into the back of his squad car, turned on his siren and rushed them to the town hall, where Lake Grove Mayor Robert Scottaline was waiting to marry them. According to the newspaper Newsday, DeMichele, a plumber, had done some work for the mayor, and the mayor had opened the town hall just for the occasion.
There remained the small problem of the canceled witness, and the couple needed two to be married officially. DeMichele asked Matthews if he would step in, and he did.
“If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have gotten married,” DeMichele told Newsday. “Everything was perfect. It still is. I’m the happiest man of all — I got to marry my best friend.”
After the wedding, the police tweeted out a photo of the happy family with Scottaline and Matthews, and the local news immediately picked up the story. That blew one of the couple’s holiday plans.
“We had shirts made up, and it was gonna be our first Christmas as Mr. and Mrs., so we were going to go surprise our family in Brooklyn,” Terwilliger told ABC. “But then they all saw in on the news. So it was like, ‘Surprise!’”