updated 10/04/2013 AT 12:00 PM ET
•originally published 10/04/2013 AT 6:00 PM ET
Emmy-winning TV pundit Stephen Colbert won’t let the government shutdown get in the way of love.
Colbert stepped in Thursday to host a wedding for real-life couple Mike Cassesso and MaiLien Le, whose own planned nuptials at the Jefferson Memorial turned out to be a casualty of the Congressional rift in Washington, which has shut down the federal government and shuttered all U.S. National Park Service facilities around the nation, as shown on The Colbert Report website.
It was not your typical solemn nuptials. Smokey Bear stepped in as best man – his previously schedule duties curtailed as national forests were closed. The bride walked down the aisle not with a bouquet but carrying one of Colbert’s Emmy statuettes.
Shots were free-flowing as bridesmaids and groomsmen took pre-vow toasts at Colbert’s comic urging. A photo of the Jefferson Memorial served as backdrop and Colbert donned a red robe, making good on his promise to provide all services taken away as the political standoff continued in Washington.
That included his “2013 Government Shutdown Wedding of the Century,” which he was able to conduct after he got his online ordination certification via the web’s American Marriage Ministries, Colbert boasted.
“Now, I’m 100 percent in favor of the shutdown, but I feel bad for Mike and MaiLien. Their story is causing a shutdown,” Colbert said, pointing to his heart in sadness. He added that although he doesn’t like to advertise the fact, “I am actually an ordained minister of the American Marriage Ministries. This is the most prestigious ministry certification you can get online while also being on the toilet.”
One bonus of the TV wedding? Broadway stars Audra McDonald and Mandy Patinkin stepped up to offer the ceremony music. Patinkin sang a “nondenominational” Jewish prayer blessing and McDonald offered up a theatrical version of Billy Idol’s “White Wedding,” as the newlyweds took their first dance as husband and wife.