A wedding ceremony aboard a city bus was years in the making for a New York City couple who first crossed paths on one more than a decade ago.
Osvaldo Jimenez first laid eyes on Kara Mullins during a late night ride on an M14D bus in 2003, and the two hopped on the same bus line to exchange vows in front of dozens of friends and surprised strangers on August 20.
“I’ve been riding that bus forever, I know the in and outs of it, and I knew nothing would go wrong!” Jimenez, 41, tells PEOPLE of planning the wedding on a moving vehicle. “When it actually happened, it was more than I ever expected. It exceeded all my expectations.”
With a bus packed with more than 80 people, the ceremony went smoothly, even if the ride itself was a little bumpy.
“I had five-inch heels on—I thought I was going to get on the bus and fall on my face because it was moving the whole time!” Mullins, 35, tells PEOPLE. “I was holding on for dear life, but it was perfect. All of our friends came through and did their parts.”
While a New York City bus wouldn’t make the list for most couple’s dream wedding locations, for Jimenez and Mullins, the venue couldn’t have been more fitting.
“There was something about her confidence,” Jimenez recalls of the 2003 bus ride where he first noticed Mullins. “I liked her style, and the first thought that passed through my head was that if I ever get married, I want to get married to a girl like that.”
Though the two exited the bus at the same stop that night, Jimenez watched without saying a word as she walked off in the opposite direction. As luck would have it, Jimenez saw her again just five hours later at a bar, where he finally worked up the courage to strike up a conversation.
“He was coming on strong!” Mullins says. “I thought he was cute so I gave him my number, but he called me right after I left—I hung up on him!”
Though Mullins wasn’t initially interested, she took Jimenez up on his offer of showing her around town since she had just moved there from Indiana. Romance blossomed soon after, but the next few years would see them break up only to get back together again. In March 2015, Jimenez asked Mullins to marry him—of course—while riding the M14D bus.
“To get me on the bus, he made up some crazy story about wanting to see 50 Shades of Grey, then he proposed to me in front of a ton of strangers during a snowstorm,” Mullins says. “It was really cute.”
Jimenez says that having the ceremony on the bus wasn’t just about keeping their tradition alive—he and Mullins wanted to share the moment with the city they love so dearly. “Our friends and family know that we love each other,” he says, “but I really wanted the rest of New York to be a part of our wedding.”
The couple made invites customized to look like MTA cards and devised a plan with their bus driver a week before the wedding. While the ceremony only lasted about 20 minutes, the couple and 200 other guests partied the rest of the day at the Standard Hotel. The next morning, they left for a two-week honeymoon to Egypt.
Jimenez and Mullins hope their unique wedding helps to remind people to peek up from their phones or laptops to see the world around them, even if they’re in the confines of a packed public bus.
“Sometimes, we don’t pay attention to the heartbeat of the city and the things around us,” he says. “Life is so short. Look up at the people around you and who knows what you might see—please, don’t blink.”