Wedding of Annapolis transit official conducted on trolley she helped obtain

January 01, 1998|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

Guests held on by the straps.

The bride's father walked her down the aisle by stepping behind her because two people can't fit in the aisle.

And the couple's wedding vows boomed over the same address system the driver used minutes later to pitch historic and shopping sites to the out-of-towners.

Yesterday marked what transportation officials say was the first wedding aboard an Annapolis city trolley -- the new $293,000 grant-funded trolley for which the bride wrote the grant proposals.

"I didn't want to get married in the courthouse itself. It's very unromantic, it's bureaucracy. And I know enough about bureaucracy," said bride Danielle Matland, 45.

She is deputy director of the Annapolis parking and transportation bureaucracy.

Bridegroom Francis Geraci, 50, has no similar link to mass transit. A computer consultant and motorcycle aficionado, he has come to love mass transit mostly because he loves Matland.

She is such a believer in mass transit that she has a display of transportation badges in the bathroom and sends vacation postcards of buses to her friends.

Geraci said the couple would not have enjoyed trips so much had they not met local people riding mass transit in the Netherlands and Italy.

Shortly before 10 a.m., the compressed-natural-gas-powered trolley idled in front of the couple's Annapolis home. As about 45 guests were herded on board, Matland explained such mundane details as where the fuel tank is (on top) and how to tell that this is not the same as other Annapolis trolleys (it lacks an open caboose area).

Getting jostled on the ride along West Street made some people giddy. A crew giggled out, "Clang, clang, clang went the trolley," and someone quipped, "I think I am getting carsick," to laughter from the packed-in crowd.

"I have done lots of weddings," said transit supervisor and driver Ernest Harrod, the only person to wear a tuxedo for the event. City trolleys take people to 100 weddings a year at downtown churches and the Naval Academy, where parking is scarce. But this, he said, was the first one in which the ceremony was conducted on the trolley.

Robert P. Duckworth, Anne Arundel County clerk of the courts, was picked up at the courthouse on the way to the City Dock parking space where the wedding took place, and he tailored his remarks appropriately.

"Marriage is like riding a trolley car around Annapolis," Duckworth said. "There are some beautiful vistas, but there are some twists and turns."

He ranked it as one of the more unusual of the 2,500 wedding ceremonies he has performed. Other memorable ones featured the bride and bridegroom in clown costumes, the one where the wedding party was surrounded by dogs at a kennel and the one where the groom fainted.

Back at the house, friends and relatives gushed about the wedding on wheels.

"It's great. Not everyone gets married on a trolley," said Pat Tigs-Young, a city transportation inspector. Matland's co-workers took vacation time to attend the workday wedding, said James Chase, city transportation chief.

"It's a memorable experience. It's something you can't go out and buy from a store," said the bridegroom's sister, Donna Spencer. (Apparently, the groom's transportation to his first wedding was memorable as well. His sister recounted how he rode a white horse some years back to his countryside ceremony in Harwood.)

Guests armed with disposable cameras took snapshots of the trolley.

"I'm hoping that we can get some really nice photos of the trolley out of this -- ones we can use for marketing and promotions," Matland said.

She won't need one-hour developing service, however.

The trolley, which carries about three days' worth of fuel, isn't in regular use and won't be until Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. opens a natural gas pump closer to the city. The nearest one is about 15 miles away.

Pub Date: 1/01/98

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