Government Shutdown Ruins Brooklyn Couple’s National Park Wedding Plans

Couples from across the East Coast are suffering in unexpected ways from the ongoing government shutdown. Zach Kouwe and his fiancé Drake Lucas, who live in Brooklyn, are struggling to arrange a wedding in less than two weeks after their original plans to wed in Yosemite were nixed.

Their wedding was scheduled for October 13th at the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park, which is one of 400 parks that were closed as a result of the government shutdown. The closure, which is the first since 1996, may turn away more than 750,000 park visitors each day, as well as ruin dozens if not hundreds of weddings from Yosemite to the Great Smoky Mountains, Shenandoah and the National Mall.

“We’re trying to figure out a Plan B” Zach Kouwe said, explaining that he was up all night waiting for the verdict on C-SPAN. “Hopefully, Congress gets its act together.”

“There are a lot worse problems in the world than me getting married” he added, “but they need to know it affects real people.”

Another couple, Christopher Dunn and Christy Nash planned their dream wedding at Yosemite National Park. They are actually pushing off their nuptials until May 2014. They are determined that their wedding will be in Yosemite. As Dunn said, “We fell in love in Yosemite and that’s where we want to marry.”

As Dunn said, “My fiancé and I have been deeply hurt and saddened by the senseless closure of our national parks that my taxes help pay for. I wish I could fire all the politicians for not performing their job up to the standards that the American people demand!” He has a message for the government. “You are ruining peoples lives and you guys are careless because you can go home to your mansions and not worry about a single thing. You guys act like children and have no regard for others! You do nothing but hurt our country!”

These cases are not alone. Sean Coughlin, a resident of Burbank, California, planned to marry his fiancé at the Paramount Ranch in the Santa Monica Mountains. More than half of his 80 guests are supposed to fly in from the East Coast. Coughlin began his vacation this week, but “instead of enjoying it, I’m scouting new locations.”

Nicole of San Diego has a similar crisis, after scheduling her wedding at Joshua Tree National Park.

“I’m pretty much in a panic” she said. “We were aware of the shutdown, but we never in a million years thought it was going to come to it.”

“The fact that the government is standing in the way of my dream wedding is very frustrating” she added. “It makes me sad how many people’s special days are being ruined because of this.”




James Allenby is the editor of Gowanus Lounge, bringing to his position a vast background on New York, and especially Brooklyn history, culture and lifestyle. Born and bred in the heart of "the County of Kings" James Allenby knows what it means to be a Brooklynite, and imparts this meaning at all times to his readers. Contact James at info(at)