After 9 years ( sometimes it seems A LOT LONGER), My partner, now "Husband" and I were married in Nanaimo, BC September 18, 2005.
John and I are frequent Celebrity cruisers and had planned a long weekend on Mercury to the Pacific Northwest for our 9th Anniversary.
Celebrity has always been respectful of our relationship from the beginning. We enjoy the "Hoppy AnniBersary" and Chocolate event cakes we recieve year after year on our cruises....sometime to the surprise of our fellow tablemates at dinner who seem to suspect we are brothers for some reason.
This year with Canada finally aquating true Equal rights into their legal system...we decieded to look into matrimony.
Our cruise had already been booked when we deceided to do this soit took some good planning to get this accomplished.
My first step was to call Celebrity and contact their wedding planning department. They were very informative and led me in the right direction.
From the Department of Vital statistics I was able to find Commissioner Hamilton who resides in Nanaimo BC, which is where we agreed to hold our ceremony.
We flew into Seattle from Chicago Thursday night arriving around 10 pm to meet our friend Audrey ( a virgin to cruising..but now has the bug), rented a car and drove to Vancouver that night.
Friday morning we went first thing to the Vital Statistics office and applied for our marriage certificate. We didn't know what to expect and we were pleasantly surprised with how we were received. They were more than nice, and very congratulatory toward us. They helped us take photos, talked with us, etc... We left with smiles on our faces. Then off to Sears to get some make-up that Audrey forgot to bring. (Sears in Canada is like Bloomingdales in the States...at least the upscale atmosphere reminded me as such.
We drove back to Seattle that morning to arrive at the pier for 1:30.
The first night at dinner we were seated at a table for eight ( although Audreys husband could not make the cruise). The was a newly married couple, a couple that had like ten kids and were running away for a weekend...and us. Introductions were made and after some slight confusion the other two couples realized that Audrey was alone and John and I were together. Being as I am I let the Maitre'd know of the honey mooners and bought a bottle of champagne for them as well as had the staff bring a cake for desert. From the start they seemed a bit conservative, but I was determined to break the ice.
First stop Victoria...and what a great place. We went whale watching and had three pods surround us. It was the most amazing experience...and so were the two church going conservative republican sisters that sat next to me with their pro-life pro Bush agendas. Being the button pusher I am I was so happy when they inquired why I was on this trip. It was fun watching them squirm with me on one side and John on the other. There were also a LOT of smiles from the onlookers.
That night was FORMAL, and John and I donned our Dinner jackets and bow ties, the other men at the table wore dark suits and the women , gowns. You would have thought this to be a 7 night cruise with the adhearance to the dress code. We were greeted at the diningroom door by a couple who had the earlier seating but overheard us talking and wanted to wish us well tomorrow.
Being our anniversary, we ordered a bottle of champagne for the table, and following suit to our surpise the other two couples also bought bottles.
we toasted to the newlyweds, our anniversary, Audreys first cruise, and the other couples ability to escape from their children. It was a good time for all. We had the annual "Hoppy Anibersary" song and the cake, along with a handshake and congrats from the maitre'd.
Next morning, donning the same outfits with freshly pressed shirts we boarded the tender for Nanaimo only to find the two sisters from the previous day...THey made the sign of the cross and ducked around the corner from us. Some one asked if we were going to a wedding and of course we said we are, ours. We had some confused looks, stares a couple of smiles and MANY congratulations.
At the pier we met Commissioner Hamilton ( We had only communicated via E-mail, never spoken) standing with a Mountie...I didn't think we needed police protection...come to find out they were friends.
We packed into the Commissioners car ( us, he and his wife( who was our second witness) and Audrey), and proceeded to a REALLY beautiful spot in the woods near a pond and a waterfall where the ceremony was to be held.
We were married.
I cried and almost didn't make it through my vows.
Four years ago we had a huge commitment ceremony with 100 guests, sit down dinner, string quartet, lots of flowers etc... I made it through the day with out shedding a tear...this tiime it was different...it was real even though it will be a while before the US catches up to the rest of civilization.
That night we were greeted by so many strangers, had SO MUCH champaign sent to our table, it felt like our reception was the cruise...this attention carried on to debarkation with people exchanging e-mails and promisses of pictures...and most of them did sent pictures and told stories of how the wish their friends, neighbors or children could have been involved in our experience.
While gettting into the cab to rent a car to sightsee and drive back to the airport the two religious sisters came out of the terminal..it looked like one of their bags broke open.
I just thought to my self: KARMA
Thanks! I just wanted to share a great experience