LIMESTONE, Maine — You could say being married in front of 30,000 people makes it a large wedding.
You could say that, but you’d be wrong.
Craig and Lynn Phair knew that they’d become husband and wife in a small, meaningful ceremony even before they had set a date. Dedicated Red Sox fans, the two found Fenway Park to be the perfect venue to join hands in marriage on May 19, during a Boston vs. Detroit game.
Wearing their favorite Red Sox apparel and surrounded by their fellow fans, Craig and Lynn were wed by a justice of the peace in a three-minute ceremony between innings.
They weren’t going for shock value or a spoof of any kind; their wedding was small, powerful and perfect, which is apparent in their “wedding video” (a fan sitting near the Phairs recorded their union and posted it on Youtube).
“We weren’t aiming for something unique,” Craig said. “We wanted to do something fun and something we could both relate to.”
The couple always had planned on holding a reception after their wedding — a more formal occasion to celebrate with family and friends — but the ceremony itself was going to be done their way.
Craig and Lynn talked about getting married at the Limestone Country Club in a very small ceremony, a place that reflects where the two of them met. They had known each other quite a while before their courtship began, and it wasn’t long after they were dating they realized it was meant to be.
One evening, the thought cropped up about possibly getting married at Fenway. They tossed the idea around for a few days until they realized they had found “their thing,” — a wedding and venue they knew was right for them.
After a quick Internet search, Lynn found out the couple could indeed do this.
On Saturday, May 19 — the day of their union — Craig and Lynn went to City Hall in Boston; Massachusetts has a three-day waiting period to get married, which the couple needed to get waived.
Their arrival at City Hall set in motion a series of coincidences that fiction would have a hard time one-upping.
For starters, the court clerk was a 25-year veteran of Fenway Park Security who just recently had retired from the ballpark. When he found out the couple had planned a wedding for the game that evening, he took the Phairs under his wing, walked them through the paperwork, and brought them before the Honorable Terry Craven.
Judge Craven asked the two where they were from, and they responded, “Maine.”
She then asked them why they were in Boston.
“I said, ‘Because the Boston Red Sox don’t play in Maine,’” Craig recalled.
The couple says after the judge realized they were getting married at the Red Sox game that night, the atmosphere in the courtroom lifted. She grandly asked if anyone in the courtroom objected to the Phairs getting married at Fenway that day; when, of course, no one did, she dropped the three-day waiting period requirement and the courtroom echoed with celebratory applause.
Not big on the traditional fanfare surrounding weddings, the Phairs donned their favorite Red Sox fan gear and waited in front of their hotel to catch a cab to the stadium later that day.
A younger couple strolled out of the hotel a short time later, decked out in red and blue and clearly on their way to the ball game. The Phairs offered to share their cab with the young couple, which coincidentally turned out to be newlyweds visiting Fenway for their honeymoon.
Arriving at the ballpark, the Phairs met up with their justice of the peace — a season ticket holder who had crafted the wedding vows knowing there were three minutes between innings.
The game began, the fans cheered, and the Phairs watched their favorite team. The three were seated in a row, Craig with the aisle seat, and fans walked up and down the stairwell with hot dogs, beverages and ballpark snacks. Just before their wedding, the justice of the peace turned and asked fellow Sox fans to possibly dissuade spectators from coming up and down the aisle for a few minutes so the Phairs could get married.
The fans gave the Phairs a definite “no problem.”
Between innings Craig and Lynn stood for their wedding, the justice of the peace recited a sermon appropriately styled specifically for their union while sports fans in the section stopped everything to bear witness to their ceremony.
“It was even better than I thought it was going to be,” said Lynn. “Everyone’s a fan, so everyone just wanted to participate in some little way, and that’s what made it so special. And as sports fans ourselves, it couldn’t have been any better.”
After the game, the newlyweds toured the Boston streets a bit before waiting for a train to take them back to the hotel. Waiting at the same station was the newlywed couple with whom they earlier had shared a cab.
“How’d it go?” the couple excitedly asked the Phairs.
Craig and Lynn’s wedding may not have been traditional, but it’s fair to say that it was as close to perfection as the couple could have imagined.
“I personally don’t think it could have happened any better,” Craig said.
The Phairs plan to hold their wedding reception next month, and the Red Sox?
They won that game in the ninth inning, 4-3.