YOU’RE ON A BOAT WITH NOTHING BUT THE OCEAN STRETCHING AS FAR AS THE
EYE CAN SEE, AND YOUR CLOSEST RELATIVES AND IN-LAWS ARE
MEETING FOR THE FIRST TIME. SURELY,?THIS SITUATION WOULD BE
CAUSE FOR ANXIETY FOR MANY, BUT FOR DAISY LEE?AND MATT VARDY, IT WAS
THE WEEKLONG WEDDING CELEBRATION THEY’LL NEVER FORGET.
“It kindled the relationship,” Daisy recalled of the ship’s intimate quarters.
On March 7, Matt and Daisy’s and their families set sail aboard Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship. The Canadian couple’s family travelled from Newfoundland, Vancouver, New Brunswick, Ontario, and Hong Kong, to Florida, where the family assembled in the days leading up to the ship’s departure. On the morning of March 7, the couple chartered a bus that took all 55 guests to the port, and they boarded as a group.
Daisy and Matt outlined a schedule of events and suggested activities for downtime. There was plenty to do for every age group. Kids enjoyed structured activities and were treated to a skating show based on the hit Disney movie, Frozen. Adults enjoyed surfing in the ship?s wave pool and using the zip line. In the evenings, the family took memorable strolls in the park, where they began to cement the relationships that Daisy and Matt had hoped would grow as a result of their love.
The ship first docked in the Bahamas, where the Vardy-Lee family took in some local culture, before heading further south to St. Thomas, where the two would marry.
Although the ship provided an excellent context for the east meets west family bonding, organizing the wedding with the ship?s vendors was too cost prohibitive for the Vardy- Lee’s liking. Instead they contacted Amber Ambrose, owner of Blue Sky Ceremony, to facilitate the planning for their destination wedding in Magens Bay, St. Thomas. Amber set up the ultimate beachside wedding, with transportation from the ship and back. She crafted a seamless plan that allowed the group to disembark and enjoy the day, without any stress or concern for small details.
At 10 a.m., the Oasis of the Seas docked in St. Thomas, where a chartered safari van took Matt and Daisy’s wedding guests directly to Magens Bay, one of the world?s most beautiful beaches.
The ceremony site was a simple and elegant set up: 55 foldable white chairs were set up in two groups, facing the ocean and an altar made of bamboo arches, decorated with sheer flowing fabric. Seashells outlined an aisle in the center of the chairs. The ceremony began with sounds from a local musician playing steel drums. All bridesmaids wore pastel purple and blue beach dresses and flip flops, while the groom and his wedding party wore khakis and bare feet. The beach wedding was going off without a hitch despite Matt and Daisy’s concerns.
Daisy had prepared her father for his role in the wedding? he would walk her down the aisle slowly, and they would hug. When it came time to present his daughter to her soon-to-be-husband, however, Daisy’s father hugged her, then hovered awkwardly behind her, unsure what to do next. The officiant turned to him laughing and said, ?Okay, your job is done now!? Guests shared a sweet laugh, evoking the kind of lightheartedness Daisy and Matt hoped for when they?d asked Amber to find them a funny officiant. For that job, Amber looked no further than one of the funniest men she knows: her husband, Michael Motylinski.
?There are three rings in total,? Michael said as the couple was on the precipice of saying their vows and exchanging rings. ?The first is the engagement ring, the second is the wedding ring, and the third is the suffer-ring.?
Even his silly proclamation underestimated just how funny the ring exchange would be. After four days of eating and drinking on the ship, Daisy?s custom-made ring from Vancouver could barely fit over her swollen fingers. Embracing the utter joy and lightness of moment, Daisy called to one of her guests to grab some sunscreen to lubricate the process.
?Look,? Michael called out. ?The worlds smallest handcuffs! No wonder they don?t want to go on!?
?It was perfect for the mood,? Daisy recalled. ?We wanted everyone to enjoy themselves. That?s why we?picked a destination wedding, so they could vacation. How often, when we grow old, do we really get to travel with our parents and our relatives??
Part of the experience of family travel and vacation was creating and bonding over funny memories. Daisy, Matt and their new family embraced it all. And the capstone moment to their joy filed, no worries, fun style wedding ceremony? The couple took the plunge, literally, running into the ocean at the culmination of their ceremony.
It took a special photographer to capture this lightness, and for that job, Daisy and Matt hired Michael Garcia, of Sand in the Toes Photography. The photos that he took throughout the day were non-invasive, fast, and revealing.
After the ceremony, the guests enjoyed lunch on the beach. Amber?s team had set up a picnic style lunch with brown lunch boxes, simple table d?cor with a daisy flower centerpiece, and white tablecloths. Not skimping on the more playful aspects of the wedding meal formalities, Daisy, Matt and guests dined on a cake with flavors of passionfruit, white chocolate, chocolate, and coconut.
There was a changing room and washroom nearby where guests ditched their wedding ensembles before hitting the waves. They enjoyed snorkeling and swimming, while the land lovers passed a rugby ball and enjoyed conversation on the sand. After some eating, playing, and speeches, the group boarded the van back to the boat, safely and with good time to board and soak in their last moments on St. Thomas soil.
It may have been risky to get 55 family members and friends to bond for a week on the cruise, but Daisy thinks that diving in paid off. ?Guests contact each other without me now,? she said. ?The support of family and friends is positive. It reinforces the journey.? – Amanda Williams
?WE WANTED EVERYONE?TO ENJOY THEMSELVES.?THAT?S WHY WE
PICKED A DESTINATION?WEDDING, SO THEY?COULD VACATION.”