A sassy Salt Spring Island wedding, BC.

Sunday 3rd July 2016 – the marriage of Sarah Justine Packwood and James Brett Clibbery.

Hello friends!

How are you today? I hope this finds you all in fine fettle! It’s been a while since my last post. I’ve been a bit preoccupied with getting married and sailing off on honeymoon! I’m writing this little missive at the table in our main salon in ‘Theros’, while anchored in Winter Cove on Saturna Island. This seems to be the perfectly peaceful location to jot down a few memories of our wedding day just about a month ago to share with you. Why? Well, firstly, I want to include you, readers, in our joy, that we went for it and got spliced just about three months after we became engaged! Hurrah! Why wait around for months on end when you know it’s right, eh?

Secondly, our wedding day itself is an example of co-creating adventure with some amazing people, including our guests, who contributed their talents to co-create and incredible day with us and they deserve a few ‘shout outs’. Thirdly, it’s unconventional nature, may inspire other betrothed folk to step fully into their own creativity, in order to break the mould and realise the nuptial celebration of their dreams that totally suits who they are and, at the same time, won’t break the bank.

Righty-ho, here goes then. Straight off, our wedding day was everything we had hoped for and even more. We wanted a low-key, low cost, small, intimate, yet fun-filled and laid back wedding in the newly painted cockpit of ‘Theros’, our Gib’Sea 42 ft yacht. Theros is named after the God of perpetual summer personified and represents our new life together, realising our dreams. We had docked at Kanaka Wharf at Ganges Harbour a few days earlier to ensure we could get a prime spot near the gangway. The guys who run the marina were thrilled and told us that ours would be the first wedding on the wharf!

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Theros docked at Kanaka Wharf, Ganges Harbour

The God of perpetual summer didn’t disappoint, for our wedding day dawned bright and clear and we were up and about by 6.00 am. I packed up a few bits and bobs, like my wedding dress and shoes and left my handsome groom as he dropped me off at the Sea Breeze Inne at 7 ish, where I met my lovely maid of honour Laurie, from California. Incidentally, I met Laurie last year at the auberge in Orisson on my first day of walking el Camino de Santiago. We connected through our mutual appreciation and practice of reiki (a Japanese form of energy healing) and became firm friends. Laurie and her husband Richard kindly allowed me to use their room so I could shower and change and even arranged for me to have some breakfast. What stars!

At 7.30 am we picked up the wedding flowers from Thrifty Foods florist at the harbour, two bouquets (for the bride and maid of honour), two button holes (for the groom and best man) and 25 long stemmed red roses that played a role later on. Charlotte, the floral designer a Thrifty’s, did an amazing job and matched the beautiful hair posey that Laurie had created for me with her artistic flair and her love of flowers. The bouquets consisted of ivory white roses and sprays of blue, pink and yellow flowers. We gave the button holes to Brett, who we happened to bump into in the car park (it’s a small place!). Richard kindly kept the bouquets and red roses hidden from view!

By 8.00 am I was at the Island Magic Touch Hair Shoppe ready to meet Joanna, who recreated a Veronica Lake inspired, soft Hollywood-wave hairstyle for me and put Laurie’s hair clip firmly in place as the finishing touch. I stepped out of the hair salon at 8.45 am, feeling glamorous already and Halanna and her friend Staci, whisked me back to the Sea Breeze Inn so that I could have my make up done. I’ll digress for a moment as I need to mention the amazing Shawna and Lenice at Spa by Lenice on Grace Point, who thoroughly pampered me the day before the ceremony and set the ground work by doing a fab job of tinting my brows and lashes and coaxing my nails into a classic French mani and pedi! Meanwhile, back at Sea Breeze, Staci used Bare Minerals, Maybelline, NYX, and Revlon to artistically replicate a vintage 1950s Hollywood look for me. Halanna, my soon-to-be daughter-in-law and our official photographer for the day from Charlie’s Smile Photography, captured the moments of preparation through her natural eye for reportage.

Soon the time came for me to step into my bridal gown. My “Alice” dress was a 1950s vintage-inspired creation by Natalie at Sister Organics in Brighton. I had three reasons for choosing it. Firstly, the gown encapsulated my mum’s style of wedding dress when she married my dad in the early 1950s, and I thought it would be a good and fitting way to remember them both, as sadly, neither of them were alive to see me get married but I’m sure they looked on in spirit. Secondly, Natalie’s dresses are eco-friendly, sourced from organic cotton and lovingly crafted from hand made English lace. Thirdly, I wanted to wear a simple, classy yet practical style so that I could climb on and off the boat without tripping over! Natalie made my dress to order and sent it to me within a month. Luckily, before I left home, I tracked down some ivory lace peep toe flats by Pink Paradox London at Bea’s Bridal boutique in Southam, which matched my dress perfectly. In addition, I snapped up a rockabilly style, ivory white, net petticoat from Amazon to set off the full skirt. Pearl necklaces from my mum and dad (a gift for my graduation) and my auntie (a family heirloom) and a diamante and pearl brooch from June, one of my mum’s close friends in Long Itchington, completed the look. (Am I beginning to sound like a fashion blogger?…save me please…note to self, must get back to travel blogging…)

Meanwhile, back at Theros, my handsome groom put the final touches to the cockpit, while he and his best man James waited for our guests to arrive. Brett chose to wear an ethnic navy blue and white batik print tunic, from Thunder Bay, sailor pants from The Wardrobe in Fulford harbour, and navy shoes by George. James complemented Brett by also wearing blue. They are two very stylish gentlemen!

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Brett placed a large, bouquet of flowers, two video cameras and a macbook computer on deck. The latter enabled him to connect to my Auntie Josie by skype a few minutes before the start, who waited patiently at her home in Easenhall, UK to join the ceremony so that she could give me away. Isn’t technology marvellous? As our guests arrived from near and far, including two more of my Camino friends, Shelley and Dale from Mission, three songs from our wedding playlist welcomed them through our recently, installed speakers in the cockpit:

  • “My heart will go on”, theme from Titanic, from Love songs for sax and piano, by Bill McIntosh and Christopher Philips (I know that you are thinking, was that a wise choice? Well we liked this version and it worked, as long as you don’t remember the outcome of the movie)
  • Theme from “Somewhere in Time”“from the soundtrack to the motion picture of the same name, by John Barry and Roger Williams
  • “Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini” by Rachmaninov, from the soundtrack from the motion picture Somewhere in Time, by John Barry and Chet Swiatkowski

When the final piece of music faded away, Laurie and I reached the pagoda in front of the Tree House Cafe at the harbour, the cue for Brett to play the fourth song on our playlist. No traditional wedding march for me. Instead, “Nadal de Luintra”, from Cantigas de Nadal, by Galician folk band Berroguetto accompanied my walk down to the boat. Some of you may be familiar with this track because it appears in the film “The Way”, by Emilo Estevez about el Camino de Santiago. It is one of my favourite pieces of folk music and I find it incredibly moving and uplifting. At just past 10.00 am, Laurie and I walked down the gangway (instead of an aisle!) in time to the music. The tide was low so we took care to negotiate the steeply sloping walkway down to the dock.

Safely on board, our celebrant Hazel Gardner welcomed everyone and began the proceedings. Hazel must have tuned in telepathically to us as she was dressed in blue and white! Her choice of words resonated with our hearts and at the opportune moment, my Auntie Josie gave me away by video call, with a resounding “I do”, then Brett and I said our vows and exchanged our rings.

Brett designed my wedding ring and Dave Warnock, from Victoria turned his beautiful vision into reality. The ring is a Jacob’s ladder made from white gold and, on alternate rungs of the ladder, sit the birth stones of our respective parents and ourselves. This was Brett’s way of including my parents in the occasion and bringing our families together in an eternal circle- a lovely, thoughtful and heartfelt gesture. When Brett and I went on a road trip up to Tofino, back in April, we called into the House of Himwitsa to admire the works from First Nation artists. Brett was drawn intuitively to one ring in particular by Gilbert Pat from the Coast Salish First Nations Territory, so I bought it for him. It is made from sterling silver and has the image of the orca engraved upon it. The notation enclosed with it reads:

“The orca symbolises the traveller and a free spirit. You are master of your own adventures, and navigate life with your heart”

This certainly suits Brett down to a tee. The orca is also considered the protector of the sea.

Hazel included this moving First Nation poem in our ceremony:

“Now you will feel no rain,
For each of you will be shelter to the other.
Now you will feel no cold,
for each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now you will feel no loneliness,
for each of you will be companionship to the other.
Now you are two persons, but there is one life between you.
So go now to your dwelling place
to enter into the days of your life together.
And may your days be good and long upon the earth”

And went on to bestow these blessings upon us:

“We wish for your a love that continues to give you joy and zest for living,
We wish for you a love that provides you with energy to face the responsibilities of life.
We wish for you a home and boat filled with love and laughter for yourselves and all those who enter.
We wish for your a love that helps you have compassion for all mankind.
And finally, we wish that at the end of your lives you will be able to say these two things to each other:
“Because you have loved me, you have given me faith in myself. And because I have seen the good in you, I have received from you a faith in all humanity.”

And may you be enfolded in joy inhabited by hope, bathed in the infinite spectrum of light that is LOVE and may you always be infused with it and beautifully illuminated by it.
So today, as you are joined in marriage, there is a vast and unknown future stretching out before you. The possibilities and potentials of your married life are great; and now falls upon your shoulders the task of choosing values and making real your dreams.”

At this point, with the nod from Hazel, who was in the know, I surprised Brett by giving him one of the long-stemmed red roses as I sang to him “My love is like a red, red rose” a traditional, Scottish love song, with words by the great poet Robbie Burns, while Laurie gave the remaining roses out to each guest. Brett really wasn’t expecting this and I could tell he was visibly moved. He deserved something special.

Brett and I signed the register under a shower of eco-friendly confetti that my friend Annie gave to me, consisting of hand-dried peony petals from her garden in Tooting. All too soon Hazel gave us the final blessing, after which we disembarked to Billy Idol’s “White Wedding” played loudly over the speakers (well, you can only appreciate Billy Idol at full volume, don’t you agree?).

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We, and our guests, rocked up the gangway to the Oystercatcher Seafood Bar and Grill, where we sat down and tucked into a delicious wedding brunch. Brett and I enjoyed the traditional eggs benedict, washed down with some bubbly. James stirred everyone to tears with a killer best man’s speech. He is a natural poet and orator! Meanwhile, guests passed around our celebration book from Old Salty, a thoughtful gift from Laurie and Richard, so that everyone could write messages for us to remember the day by, if they so wished. After that, it was time to cut and share out the wedding cake, a wonderful, zesty and light, three tiered, lemon gateaux by lovely folk from the patisserie counter in Thrifty Foods.

Halanna ushered us outside again for a few more photos in the park and then we hot-footed it back to Theros, in time for a quick change in readiness to welcome guests back on board for a half day sail around Salt Spring Island.

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As we set sail, our wedding playlist resumed:

“Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding
“Sweet Summer Rain” from Come the Ruination by Manitoba Hal
“What a Wonderful World” by Luis Armstrong
“Bus Stop” by The Hollies (in remembrance of where Brett and I met!)

Thankfully the weather stayed fine and we were even able to put the sails up for a while. It was great to chill out on deck, relaxing with friends, absorbing the atmosphere, feeling the sun’s rays shine warm into our faces and the soft sea breeze accompany us back to Ganges. It was the perfect end to a perfect day!

If you enjoyed reading this post and it has inspired you to co-create and fulfil your dreams, whether it is to be married aboard a boat or to go sailing, then feel free to get in touch and drop me a line in the comments below or wander over to Brett’s Theros Sailing Adventure website and you can contact us there.

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Feel free to follow my blog to find out what adventures we got up to on our honeymoon…and into the wild, blue yonder.

Peace, love and light,

Sarah xxx

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