My husband and I did not have a traditional marriage. I was the one who proposed. We half-imagined a nice wedding before deciding that that shit cost too much money. We got engaged after three months of dating and married four months after that. Oh, and IndyCar’s Team Penske knew we were getting married before pretty much everyone else in my life — including my parents.
Allow me to set the scene. My husband is Canadian, so the thought of throwing a party for our wedding when he couldn’t actually formally move in with me in the United States seemed goofy. So, on December 31, 2018, we popped into the Comal County, Texas courthouse to apply to get married.
Except, we had a problem: There were no available appointments for an actual wedding during the brief period he would be in the country, and we also had 90 days before the marriage application expired. We hemmed and hawed about what we wanted to do before we came up with an idea. He could fly down to Texas and join me for the inaugural IndyCar race at Circuit of the Americas in 2019, and we would get married the Monday after the race — a day that also happened to be my husband’s birthday. We’d come in just under the 90 day mark, and we’d be able to start on his immigration paperwork. It was a win-win!
Because we weren’t really celebrating in the traditional sense, we just... didn’t tell anyone. I cannot recall what our thinking was at the time. Were we just going to show up and tell our parents on Monday what happened? Were we just going to make that announcement to our friends out of nowhere? Probably.
During the weekend, my husband and I shared an Airbnb with two of our close friends, and during the Friday autograph session, I guided everyone through the ropes of the IndyCar autograph session, where drivers are split into two groups and you select the line that has the most drivers in it that you want autographs from. Our friend had had a lifelong dream of meeting Will Power, so we picked the Penske line.
At that point, I’d been to a frankly obscene number of IndyCar races in the previous three years and had become a familiar face to some of the drivers. As our good friend made his introduction to Will Power, Josef Newgarden asked me how I was doing.
“Good!” I replied. “This is our pre-honeymoon. We’re getting married on Monday!” Newgarden then got the attention of his teammates to tell ‘em the big news.
I only recently found out that our friend — the one who was meeting Will Power — had no idea we were getting married until that exact moment. I don’t know if my other friend did. But I do know that I felt compelled to text my mom to let her know what was happening, too.
As it turned out, just one friend came to our wedding. Because my husband’s family was in Canada and couldn’t be at the courthouse ceremony, I asked my family to refrain from attending as well. Our goal was ultimately to have a big get-together for everyone on Halloween of 2020, which you can imagine never happened thanks to Covid-19. And that’s how Team Penske learned I was getting married before anyone else in my life.