AFTON, Minn. (KMSP) - It’s not the obvious day for a wedding. In fact, JP Armstrong recognizes that the 4th of July has a thematic problem with matrimony.
“I really like the irony of getting people hitched on Independence Day,” he said.
Armstrong, who lives in Lakeland, is a licensed marriage officiant who has performed close to 200 weddings - most of them for free.
This coming Tuesday, he’s also not charging. But, he will be moving.
“I was talking with a friend who has been in parades before,” he said of the idea’s origin. “I just said, 'you know, I should do a float and I can marry people on the float during the parade.' And he thought that was the funniest and craziest idea, and it’s just spread from there.”
He calls it “The Love Float,” and for the past two weeks it’s been taking shape in his driveway in Lakeland, built on the bed of a friends hay trailer.
On the back, a giant wedding cake formed from 2 by 2’s and plywood. The middle has makeshift church pews, and a stage covered in a pergola. It has a lot of finishing touches yet to be applied, including a way to hang on.
“There’s got to be a podium here so everybody can hang on and don’t fall off the float if someone slams on the brakes,” said Armstrong of the front end where he’ll stand and perform the weddings. “And the couples will be standing here and we’ll all be kind of hanging on for dear life.”
He pitched the idea to the Afton 4th of July Parade committee, who loved the idea. So on the 4th of July, he’ll be going down the street on a float either marrying or renewing the vows of whoever is interested.
So far, three couples have confirmed spots. He’s hoping for 8 to 10 total. And he’s open to anyone hopping on and off during the parade for a quick vow renewal, too. Afterwards, the city has made space for him at Town Square Park and plans to provide cake and champagne.
Don’t ask what he’s spent; he has his own marriage to think about.
“I can’t say because it would get me in trouble with my wife.”
To confirm a spot on the Love Boat, email JP at JpArmstrong@rocketmail.com or confirm through Facebook here.