As we couldn’t get married on a Caribbean beach back in 2005, we decided to do it for our 10th wedding anniversary which was in June this year. We picked a southern Caribbean cruise on NCL Getaway in November as it included some islands that we wanted to visit. We thought of doing the ceremony in St. Lucia but as we had been rained off the last time we were there, we thought we’d just go with the flow and pick the first good day. As Aruba was our first port with beautiful beaches and the weather was warm and sunny, we thought let’s do it! I wore a simple white sundress with the same hair piece that I’d worn on my wedding day and Drew wore white trousers and shirt.
Along with our friends, Pat and her husband Terry, we caught a local bus ($4 return) to De Palm beach. The bus stops by a passage way which leads down to De Palm pier and the beach. Most people seem to turn to the right on the beach (nearest the hotels and rest rooms), so we turned left until we reach a more secluded spot. There we renewed our vows using the sand ceremony. At its simplest, the sand ceremony involves a symbolic blending of two different coloured sands representing the couple (in our case pink for me and blue for Drew) into a single vessel. Our vessel was a lovely cut glass perfume bottle that I found in a charity shop on Isle of Wight last year. The meaning is clear – the blending of two sands into a single, inseparable unit. Impossible as it would be to separate out the grains of sand, that’s how difficult it would be to separate the couple. This was done after saying vows which were spoken for us by Pat as the officiant whilst Terry photographed the ceremony. We were going to write our own vows but found this on the internet which summed it up perfectly for us.
‘(Groom, Bride), as a symbol of your union, we take the sands of your lives, each grain being an event, a memory, well executed plan and or disappointments of your past. These vases represent you as an individual before today, I ask you now to fill your hearts desires by blending the sands of your lives together, as the grains spill and scatter and mingle among each other so do they unite as you do today. As you have mixed the grains of your past, so do you build a united future. Just as the sands have endured the tests of time and nature and proven stronger so now do you face your future, and because you are together – so are you stronger. Just as it is impossible to separate the sands you have just united, so is it impossible to separate the two of you completely anymore.’
After this we returned to De Palm pier for a celebratory drink (or two) at the bar. We spent the rest of the day sunbathing and strolling along the beach.
On our return to the ship, unbeknown to us, our friends, whilst speaking to the maitre d’ at one of the restaurants had mentioned our vow renewal and NCL provided us with a small cake with their compliments. We had taken our original cake topper with us so was able to put it on the cake and, complete with some glasses of prosecco, we toasted the occasion.
I know that you can have special renewal ceremonies on the ships but as there was only the two of us plus our dear friends, we thoroughly enjoyed our simple but beautiful ceremony on the beach.