Metro-monial Bliss

By Jonathan Mummolo
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, May 3, 2008

In this era of matrimonial excess, many couples spare no expense to create lavish, traffic-stopping celebrations. They arrive in stretch limos, Hummer stretch limos, even horse-drawn carriages.

But newlyweds Anneliesa Clump and Scott Alprin found a way to turn heads yesterday for $1.65 a guest: They took the Metro, at the height of rush hour, to their reception.

"Weddings get so kind of out of hand," said Clump, 35, a project coordinator at Georgetown University who lives in Cleveland Park. "We're city people, we take Metro everywhere. It just kinda made sense. . . . You know, no fuss."

Well, not quite.

Fresh out of the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue in Chinatown, the couple, along with dozens of wedding guests in suits and spring dresses, hoofed it a couple blocks about 5:30 and entered the teeming Gallery Place Station, which was flooded with weekend-bound commuters and Washington Wizards fans arriving for last night's playoff game.

Clump handled the first obstacle -- the escalator -- with poise. Her veil flapping in the breeze, she hiked up the skirt of her white gown a bit and stepped onto the contraption with her tuxedo-clad groom.

The two began the slow ride underground, the wedding photographer's flash firing while confused and bemused strap-hangers, including work-weary commuters and tourists, looked on with grins. Some yelled "Congratulations!" as the newlyweds passed.

At the fare gates, the party produced pre-distributed one-way fare cards and eased through. As they arrived at a packed Red Line platform, the train pulled in, like clockwork.

"It's definitely a sign," said Alprin, 37, a trademark attorney. He held the door as his new wife and guests squeezed in, nearly filling an entire car.

Inside, the giggling group surrounded May and Joe Ho, visitors from San Diego, who clutched their suitcases in bewilderment.

"Very unusual," Joe Ho, 65, said.

"Fun," said a chuckling May Ho, 62. "Different."

A nearby commuter shook her head in amazement.

Three stops later, and it was off at Dupont Circle. The ride took about five minutes, a slightly quicker result than the Friday afternoon gridlock of downtown streets would have produced.

"I think Metro's easier than driving during rush hour," Clump said. "I've taken the Metro my entire career in rush hour. And it's always quicker than cabs or cars. . . .

"I just thought it would be a fun processional march, and a way of getting strangers involved in sharing our joy."

As the party ascended the cavernous exit at Dupont Circle, the strumming of a street performer grew louder. A leisurely stroll in the sunny, 76-degree weather to the reception hall ended their amazingly hassle-free parade.

Still, looking back, would they have rather had a limo?

"That was our limo," Alprin said.

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