FDNY Chaplain Escorts Bride After Crane Collapse, Officiates Wedding | NBC New York

FDNY Chaplain Escorts Bride After Crane Collapse, Officiates Wedding

Amid falling snow, the chaplain asked the couple if they would support each other "through crane collapses and snowstorms? Through to sandy beaches and sunny days?" according to video of the vows

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    An FDNY chaplain escorted a bride caught in the chaos that followed Friday morning's deadly crane collapse to a historic New York City courthouse, then performed an impromptu wedding ceremony for the woman and her husband-to-be. Video courtesy Merishka Pillay. (Published Friday, Feb. 5, 2016)

    An FDNY chaplain escorted a bride caught in the chaos that followed Friday morning's deadly crane collapse to a historic New York City courthouse, then performed an impromptu wedding ceremony for the woman and her husband-to-be.

    The Rev. Ann Kansfield said in a Facebook post that she saw bride Nesh Pillay leave a salon wearing a white strapless dress while the firefighter was responding to the collapse at Worth and Church streets in Tribeca.

    Pillay was planning on taking a cab up to Tweed Courthouse so she could marry longtime boyfriend Aaron Vanderhoff in what she tweeted was supposed to be a "secret" ceremony. But because of the collapse, she couldn't find a cab.

     

    A photo posted by Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) on

    Kansfield said in the post she offered Pillay her coat when she saw her shivering as she was hit with sleet, then offered to walk her the six blocks to the courthouse so she could get married.

    Pillay's planned officiant wasn't there when they arrived, Kansfield said, so she offered do the ceremony on the steps outside.

    Video of the ceremony was posted to YouTube and shows Kansfield still wearing her fire hat and coat as she officiated the wedding. Before kicking things off, she referred to the weather and the tragedy just blocks away.

    "Witnesses, do you promise to support Nesh and Aaron in their marriage?" Kansfield says, snow pelting the couple on the steps. "Through crane collapses and snowstorms? Through to sandy beaches and sunny days?" 

    The witnesses all shout "Yes!" to the pastor's queries.

    As Vanderhoff and Pillay exchange tearful vows, sirens can be heard in the background. Afterward, Kansfield pronounces them husband and wife, again touching on the unexpected events of the morning.

    "By the power vested in me, on behalf of the church and the FDNY, I very joyfully now pronounce you married!"

    Aaron Vanderhoff, the Rev. Ann Kanfield and Nesh Pillay
    Photo credit: Provided by FDNY

    The Daily News first reported on the wedding. Pillay told the newspaper that she felt lucky that Kansfield, who is also a pastor at a church in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, was there.

    "I feel so lucky she was there. There was a lot of fear over what was happening, and she was just incredible, leading us through everything. She made it seamless, even though it wasn't her job," Pillay told the newspaper.

    Pillay didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC New York.

    Photos: Crane Collapses in New York CityPhotos: Crane Collapses in New York City

    Vanderhoff, meanwhile, recounted being grateful his new wife wasn't hurt and how surprising it was to see her walk up the stairs wearing a firefighter's jacket.

    "Sometimes you have the first look (at your bride) programmed, and you have it planned out. But this was totally unplanned with the FDNY jacket (over her dress), and it made it really special, though in the shadow of something so terrible," he told the News.

    Photo credit: Provided by FDNY

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