Wedding couple asks: Who invited Irene?

Matthew Baker of New London surveys the damage to Waterfront Park as Katherine Stearns, right, of Waterford takes a photograph of Baker with his bride, Kimberly, in New London on Sunday. Matt and Kimberly were married in a brief ceremony at the El 'n' Gee prior to the photographs. The wind and rain of Tropical Storm Irene whipped through the city earlier in the day.
Matthew Baker of New London surveys the damage to Waterfront Park as Katherine Stearns, right, of Waterford takes a photograph of Baker with his bride, Kimberly, in New London on Sunday. Matt and Kimberly were married in a brief ceremony at the El 'n' Gee prior to the photographs. The wind and rain of Tropical Storm Irene whipped through the city earlier in the day.

New London - Reasonable people can disagree about the wisdom of getting married on the day of a hurricane, but one thing's for certain: It's pretty punk rock.

Punk fans Matthew Baker and Kimberly Ash got married Sunday at their favorite music venue, the El 'n' Gee Club, just a couple of hours after the heavy part of Tropical Storm Irene left the region.

"It's not your typical wedding," said Ash, 25.

The couple, who have been dating for three years, were supposed to hold their wedding in a backyard in New London, but the forecast ruled that out.

Ash said postponing their nuptials was also out of the question.

"I work as a live-in nurse and I had to work 25 straight days to get the day off," Ash said.

So the couple made a panicked phone call to El 'n' Gee owner Kate Gear to see if they could use the legendary New London club for their wedding.

"The Gee is a special place for me," said Ash, a New Londoner. "I've been coming here since I was 15."

Gear agreed, but Irene forced Baker and Ash to spend the night at the club in case travel was impossible.

"We slept on air mattresses," Ash said.

And their wedding day did not start out smoothly.

The club lost power Sunday morning and several guests decided not to make the trek because of the storm.

Baker also had to drive up to Montville to pick up the wedding cake and the couple had to find an officiant after a justice of the peace backed out because of the storm.

The couple contacted their friend, Josh Banks, who is authorized to perform weddings, to see if he could fill in.

So, holding a biography of Clash singer-guitarist Joe Strummer, Banks asked Baker and Ash to say "I do."

And in front of a small crowd of about 10 friends by a window in the candle-lit Gee club they did.

The ceremony took about 45 seconds, shorter than the average punk song.

s.chupaska@theday.com

Matthew Baker, right, of New London and his bride, Kimberly, second from right, cut their wedding cake after a brief ceremony at El 'n' Gee in New London on Sunday. Dylan Bishop, center, of New London watches the cake cutting.
Matthew Baker, right, of New London and his bride, Kimberly, second from right, cut their wedding cake after a brief ceremony at El 'n' Gee in New London on Sunday. Dylan Bishop, center, of New London watches the cake cutting.

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