John and Stephanie were some of the first guests aboard MV Great Escape for the 2018 season. They decided to renew their wedding vows after thirty years of marriage. Here is their story.
We had actually already booked on the Great Escape before we realized it was going to coincide with our 30th wedding anniversary. It was about six months later that John asked me what we were going to do to celebrate. He suggested that we had better make it something pretty special.
John has seven brothers and sisters. Most of them have been married on Easter Sunday. The boys can never remember the actual date so they always just celebrate every Easter Sunday, irrespective of what day it falls. The girls always celebrate on the actual date which for us was the 3rd of April. I realised we were going to be on the cruise and told John. He was delighted.
It was perfect because we were booked on Great Escape for an exclusive charter with some of our closest friends. We’ve always shared our special wedding anniversaries. It was our first Kimberley cruise, but our friends had cruised with the Great Escape before.
It wasn’t really a formal ceremony in the sense that Amanda isn’t a registered marriage celebrant. It just started as a bit of a silly conversation really when we all got together one-weekend pre-cruise. We just thought, oh well; let’s turn this into a bit of an event. Lily is an event planner and Amanda loves those sorts of things so I said okay. I thought I’d better go and get a veil for the cruise then!
To be honest with you, we were absolutely overwhelmed by the enthusiasm shown by the crew once they heard the plan. They knew it was all just a bit of fun and they really got on board with it all. It was so nice.
Earlier in the day the crew went exploring to get all the greenery to dress the bow of the boat and make an arbour out of sticks. They even made me a bouquet of flowers. They suggested I wait in my room until they had everything ready.
They told me to have my dress on by 4:30 pm. Olivia, my daughter, walked me down the ‘aisle’ and everybody was waiting out on the back deck. They were all there cheering and John was standing underneath the sticks. My son Jack was there to present the rings. It was all very funny during the vows, lots of joking about, not serious at all.
Then they said you’ve got to throw the bouquet. I stood on the top of the deck near the spa and all the girls lined up ready to catch the bouquet. I had to be careful that I didn’t throw it over the back of the boat.
It was all timed to perfection. The Skipper made sure that we were moored in exactly the right spot. They made sure that it was all happening at exactly the right time so that the sun was setting over the water just as we were saying our vows.
The Northern Kimberley coast was absolutely amazing. It was early in the season so we got to see an incredible amount of water. We were really lucky with the weather. Our skipper always managed to find the best places for us to fish.
We loved having some of our closest mates there to celebrate with us. It was a bonus to have our two kids at this wedding anniversary celebration too. It was just all very, very special.