Renewal of Vows – Freeport, Grand Bahama Island – Part 1

The View from Mars

I’ve got to admit that a Renewal of Vows wasn’t high on my “Must Do” list. I’m probably more in the mindset of “I told you once and I’ll tell you if anything changes”. Linda’s been keen for a while though and marriage is all about give and take, so when the opportunity arose to have “top notch” Janet Albury (owner of And Two Become One) mastermind it for us on Grand Bahama Island, my resistance crumbled.

Awaiting the 'bride'Organising the ceremony was easy (for us), just about a dozen questions by email and Janet did the rest with her trusted team of local vendors.

Stepping off the plane in Grand Bahama I was a little anxious. I’m normally the organiser and have things well planned out before we arrive, how would things work out? I needn’t have worried though, there was our charming chauffeur Chris and luxury sedan waiting to whisk us to our accommodation and give us a quick rundown on the area.

The big day arrived and the ceremony took place at Lucayan beach, outside of Riviera Towers. A magnificent setting with powdery white sand backed by a warm and gentle blue sea, it was very relaxing. Chairs were set out in the sand for our very small party and I chatted to our quests, all set to the lilting and unmistakably Caribbean sound of the steel drums. So what’s the secret to being married for 30 years and wanting more, they ask. All I can say is that listening to your wife is like reading the terms and conditions of a website. You don’t understand what it says but you agree anyway.

Ceremony delicaciesAs I stood with Janet in the heart shape in the sand, made with seagrape leaves and conch shells, I can see my Renewelless (is she the Bride today?) walking towards me. The yellow bouquet of tropical flowers perfectly matches her yellow dress, set off with pink pearl earrings, bracelet and necklace.  Janet explains the purpose of the ceremony and that it has no legal status, but that it’s an affirmation of our continued commitment to each other. Then it was our turn to lock eyes and deliver our own personal message to each other, and then, well, I got to kiss the Bride again. At that point 2 dolphins erupted from the sea, squeaking and somersaulting, a shaft of sunlight burst through the clouds and lit just the two of us and doves circled overhead! Well none of that really happened of course, but in the movies it would, it was that type of moment.

After the photographs (they came out well, even I looked good, no small photographic feat I can tell you), we socialised around tables laden with sumptuous goodies until the daylight was gone. Much fun was had drinking bubbly from the oversized cocktail glasses, tucking into the mouthwatering lemon flavour cake, tropical flavoured cup cakes and some to die for handmade chocolates. Fortunately others had some of the chocolate covered strawberries otherwise I would have exploded from eating them all. Dennis was very good to keep on playing the steel drums to accompany our indulgences, so we rewarded him with a Silver Travel bag photo opportunity … priceless.

Chocolates to die forSo here’s the philosophical bit.  In life and marriage everyone is played a hand and they hopefully play that hand to the best of their ability. Some are destined to fold, whilst others are fortunate to still be at the table many years later. However well you play your hand, it’s hard not to get caught up in the trivia and urgency of everyday life. Perhaps you don’t get to say the things that you’d deeply regret not saying if your hand folded unexpectedly. So this ceremony is the chance to search deep and publicly say those words in the most beautiful surroundings and circumstance. It’s all you’ve got to do as Janet and the highly professional team she assembles do the rest, as smooth as silk. Am I a convert, you bet. Saying it once is not enough.

Should I have failed to get the mood over to you in words, then I’ll try to do it in song. Good gracious no! I’m not singing, but thanks to Lady Antebellum for their track Just a Kiss and see if that does it for you (close your eyes & listen).

With 'best bag'The celebrations were far from over. Dinner that night at China Beach (yes more food) and a few nights at the splendid Grand Lucayan Resort, with a room overlooking the same 7.5 acre beach. Enhanced by a couple massage in the Senses Spa. Would that be a Roveymoon?

The whole thing was topped off by The Scurvy Few, some local bikers who took Linda on the back of their Harley Davidsons for a ride to the West End of the Island. I must count how many things got ticked off of her bucket list this trip.

I’d like to thank the following Vendors who supported such a outstanding occasion in our lives, Janet, Liz, Lisa, H. Forbes Charter, Ministry of Tourism, Grand Lucayan Resort, Colombian Emeralds, Riviera Towers, Sweet Affairs, The Awards and Signs, Take the Cake, Dennis Thomas, Foto Factory, Bootleg Chocolates and Solo Rent-a-Tent.

Renewal of Vows – Freeport, Grand Bahama Island – Part 2

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Steve Aldridge

Award-winning travel writer

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