07/21/2014 02:15 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

I Was Married By An Astronaut.

2014-07-21-wedding1.jpgOn my wedding day we fired the minister. Our photo album documents the woman leaving after she got her pink slip. Hearing my daughter talk about wedding dresses takes me back to the scene of the crime.

It was a tricky dismissal because guests were due to arrive in one hour. But we had lost faith in this minister, and when you lose faith in a minister, that's a sign.

Our clergy woman was routinely late -- even on our wedding day. When asked why she didn't arrive early as promised, she said, "I was visiting a dying man in the hospital."

My brother-in-law, Rick, our family's calm psychologist, fumed, "There are phones in a hospital and she could have called." Rick pulled me aside and suggested we fire her. He even volunteered to do it for us.

I huddled with my beloved groom and we both agreed to let the fallen minister go. Rick did the deed.

Luckily we had a family friend as our back-up, a NASA astronaut named Marcus. We knew he was certified to perform marriage in California, but even he wasn't sure about Illinois. At that point, nobody cared.

Legally or not, we were married.

We decided if the marriage didn't take, we could get married at the county courthouse, and have a picnic for our reception.

Looking back on that harrowing day, I'm grateful we followed our instincts rather than social convention. We simply trusted ourselves.

When you follow your instincts, magic happens.

Marcus led the ceremony seamlessly with warmth and grace. None of the guests even realized we changed the minster line-up at the last minute.

It turns out our astronaut didn't need a test flight.

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