A boat makes for an adventurous wedding ceremony. Once you are on, no one can leave until it is over. That’s unless they literally jump ship when I get let off after the ceremony.
It was to be the last sailing of the river boat for the season. It was October and you could feel the bite of winter in the wind. I had advised the couple that it could be cold for the evening cruise. Before boarding, I looked at the clear plastic curtains of the boat with some concern. I really didn’t think that these would keep us warm.
We boarded with the couple being the last to arrive. It didn’t take long for the ship to be underway from the Gatineau, Quebec, shores, shortly after 7:30pm. One guarantee of this venue is that the guests certainly could not leave early. The boat motored to the Ontario side of the Ottawa River near the Rideau River falls. It was a beautiful site to be close to the falls for the ceremony. It was also mandatory to be on the Ontario side of the Ottawa River so that I could legally perform my duties.
At about 8:00pm, I began the ceremony. I was grateful that I had asked for a microphone. There was no way I could project my voice over the noise of the ship. The ceremony proceeded without any problems. As planned, the ship began a return trip to the dock. I had asked to be let off as soon as was feasible after the wedding ceremony. The cruise coordinator and I chatted and exchanged some stories as we made our way back. Meanwhile, I listened to many people sharing stories about the couple. It really sounded like they were well liked.
When we arrived, the ship did not completely dock, but just pushed itself up to the dock. This was enough for me to literally jump ship onto the dock to make my exit. To my surprise, some of the guests did the same! I made my way back to my car expecting that my evening was over. Unfortunately, I discovered that I had left my binder and marriage register on the boat – that was now heading upriver! I was left on the dock, without my materials and getting colder than I already was.
I returned home and made a quick call to the boat company. They told me they would call the boat and relay my message. They also informed me it was due back at the dock at 11:00pm. I really needed my marriage register because I had to conduct another wedding the next day. So I scrambled myself to head back to the dock in time. When the ship was within sight of the dock, the cruise coordinator was on deck and saw me. He smiled and waived my books in the air. With great thanks, I retrieved my materials and headed back home for something hot to drink.