Stephen Colbert to the Rescue! How He Saved a Government Shutdown Wedding

What would you do if your iconic wedding ceremony venue suddenly closed? Enlist the help of Stephen Colbert, of course!

That's what Mike Cassesso and MaiLien Le did when the Jefferson Memorial, which was supposed to host their nuptials, closed to the public as part of the government shutdown. The Today Show featured the couple in a segment on brides- and grooms-to-be in similar quandaries. Seeing this, and noting that he promised to provide all canceled government services during the shutdown, on Thursday night's episode of The Colbert Report, the host married Cassesso and Le, and brought some entertaining guests to seal the deal.

In a two-part segment he called "The 2013 Government Shutdown Wedding of the Century," Colbert crammed an entire weekend's worth of wedding festivities into less than 15 minutes, even including brief bachelor and bachelorette parties.

Homeland star Mandy Patinkin offered a "nondenominational Jewish blessing" for the couple, and Broadway singer Audra McDonald performed a ballad version of Billy Idol's "White Wedding" for the couple's first dance. Colbert, an ordained minister of the American Marriage Ministries, officiated the ceremony.

The most hilarious part? National park icon Smokey the Bear stood in for the best man, who was unavailable to attend. We can only imagine who he would have chosen as a replacement bridesmaid!

Any couple planning to get hitched in a national park or at a monument during the shutdown is likely facing the same last-minute disappointment as Cassesso and Le, but at least this couple will look back on the government crisis with a laugh and an unforgettable story.

—Terri Pous

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