Irish radio station marries two complete strangers in social experiment almost thwarted by groom's 'nervous stomach'
Potential groom's last-minute nervous stomach almost upset the day
Published 16/06/2015 | 14:12
iRadio married two strangers in a radio event called 'Three Strangers'.
Three strangers, one woman and two men, signed up for the challenge and two of them walked away a married couple.
Speaking to the Irish Sun, Finegan said that he had been single for "eight or ten weeks" before signing up to the 'Three Strangers' experiment.
"I broke it off with her because I didn't see it going anywhere and then I said I'd give this a chance".
"I was very impressed, she looked fantastic".
Finegan admitted he was nervous ahead of the wedding but he is confident he made the right choice.
"I was a bit worried but listening back to our audio tapes... a lot of people who walked into the studio and met her said 'lucky guy who gets that girl' so I knew she would be sweet".
Ann-Marie told the Sun she had been single for about a year before signing up.
"It just seemed like a great opportunity - the radio reaches places further than my own hometown and I thought if someone was listening and they liked what they heard, there would be an opportunity to meet someone I might not have met (otherwise)".
O' Neill said that the idea behind the 'experiment' attracted her - that love is about more than appearance.
"I want a guy that suits me and my personality. I know what I want and where I'm going and I (want) someone to come on that journey".
The couple were married in a Humanist ceremony and the marriage will officially be legal in three months' time. They signed an 'intent-to-marry' form which means that, come September, their marriage will be legally binding (if they're still together).
"It wasn't for the wedding as such, (I did it) for the love aspect".
"Some people are concerned about the sanctity of marriage but it's not legal right now".
"We're going to get to know each other. It's a sacrament and I wouldn't enter into it lightly".
Speaking to Evoke.ie, Mark Cunning of iRadio defended the experiment against those who are accusing the station of 'making a mockery' of marriage.
"From talking to Ann Marie and Nigel, they are both very aware of the legalities, and are very keen to give it a go".
"They’re off on honeymoon on Sunday to Turkey, and I think I’d put a sneaky tenner on them. I do know them both better than they know each other right now".
iRadio called the stunt "the world's greatest social experiment" to "test if love really is blind".
The three strangers had been on two 'blind dates', where the bride and each potential groom were separated by a wall.
"Juno" had to pick either "Jupiter" or "Janus" to marry upon arrival at the altar at the The Hodson Bay Hotel in Athlone.
The bride was chosen by the public and the two potential grooms were chosen by Juno - which was whittled down to one at the altar.
Just as "Juno" went to walk in, though, there was almost disaster - "Jupiter" had to run to the bathroom with a case of nerves, before returning to the altar, ready to go.
"Juno", real name Ann-Marie O' Neill, walked up the aisle to meet Cooper from the morning show at the top. He asked her who she chose to which she replied "Do I get to see them first?"
The answer was no but, unfazed, Anne Marie announced that she had chosen "Jupiter".
"Janus" and his wedding party had to immediately leave the venue while "Jupiter", real name Nigel Finegan, removed his mask.
The couple were introduced and then wed, choosing not to kiss at the altar but instead kissing later in the day for the photographs.
Ann-Marie's vows promised to "do my best to be your other half... Though I don’t have the patience of a saint".
Nigel's vows promised that "As freely as God has given me life, I join my life to yours".
Audio of previous dates are available here.