Woodbridge couple weds at Rockefeller tree on Christmas Eve
WOODBRIDGE — After 10 years of going into Rockefeller Center to see the world famous Christmas tree, a local couple made a magical memory of their own as they got married under the tree on Christmas Eve.
Cathy and Tim Vollenbroek have been together for 14 years, and engaged for more than four and finally decided to tie the knot this year. Tim said with his mother making the trip north from Florida for the first time in many years they decided now was a good time to do it, and the tree was the perfect place.
The happy couple and their guests loaded into a party bus for the big day on Christmas Eve for the 11 p.m. ceremony. Cathy said she had checked in advance to see if they needed any sort of permits to hold the wedding, but didn't see requirements to have the ceremony. Having been to the tree so many times she said they "knew the layout and the deal" of what to expect.
"Once they saw my flowing white veil they kind of knew what was going on and made some space for us," Cathy said.
There were still plenty of tourists at the tree late on Monday night, and the pair said there were plenty of tourists who watched the festivities happen. There was even a homeless person who gave Tim a bouquet of flowers to give to his new bride. Cathy's daughter Caitlyn even made a sign with #TimAndCathyWedding so that anyone who took pictures of the event could share it on social media.
Caitlyn, who served as her mom's maid of honor, said because the tree is such an important part of the holidays for her family it was a "genius" idea to get married there.
"It wasn't your typical wedding, but we're not your typical family, so it suited us," she said. "I've considered Tim like a dad for many years, but it's exciting that it's finally official."
As a singer in a band Cathy is used to being in front of crowds, but even she wasn't quite ready for the experience of getting married at one of the biggest tourist attractions in the city.
"My knees were shaking. I was so nervous," she said.
In case being in the shadow of the tree wasn't impressive enough Cathy said there were also members of the NYPD there as part of the tree's regular security detail, and all the people watching, many of them with their cellphone cameras capturing every moment.
Tim said by 11:30 the ceremony was over and they were married, and they spent the rest of the night walking around the city with their friends and family. The bus ride home was their impromptu wedding reception and included their first dance and the cutting of the wedding cake.
Cathy said one of the biggest changes for her is her new last name.
"It's funny how it does feel a little different," she said. "I woke up and said my name isn't Fitzpatrick anymore. It's been my name for 29 years."
Even with the wedding and the change of name Cathy said her friends have told her that even though she's married they plan to keep calling her "Fitz," just as they have for all these years before. As for Tim, he said that while it feels different to call Cathy his wife after all these years, it's a good kind of different.
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