Windjammer Weddings: Adventure and Romance
Whether walking down the dock in wedding finery to a waiting schooner or marrying informally during a cruise, many couples find the Schooner Isaac H. Evans the perfect site for their wedding. Every summer, couples from all over the country come to the coast of Maine to pledge their love and commitment and start their new lives as husband and wife. In the presence of family and friends, or eloping in front of new friends, with rocky shores and blue ocean waters as a backdrop, there is no better place to conduct a picture-perfect wedding.
Hosting weddings on board has been a real learning experience for me and rarely a season goes by without at least one wedding or vow renewal. I write every ceremony for each couple (unless I'm provided with something the couple has created). We talk about what they want, and I try to get a real sense of who they are. It’s a fun challenge and the end result is a very personal ceremony.
The romance surrounding a windjammer wedding is quite unique – couples can pick the day, the weather, the island, or the harbor, surrounded by fresh ocean air, sounds of the sea, and a boat full of family and friends both old and new. Couples can charter the whole vessel or just book a cabin for themselves. The wedding can be as simple or coordinated as they wish; our job is to make whatever you choose run smoothly, and add a little fun as well. For one wedding, the crew went to a thrift store and bought suits and dresses to wear for the ceremony. And our cook made a wedding cake that was just amazing. Where else can you get a wedding cake baked in a wood-fired oven?
If you are not Maine residents, it doesn't matter what town you get your license in as long as the license is filed in the town where you were married. You don't even have to worry about that part...we take care of that and send you a copy for your records.
I've married couples both on the boat, either at the dock or underway (in which case we file the license in Rockland), and on islands (in which case we file in the town that claims that island). We have done a quick ceremony on the boat and filed in Rockland if there was a question about which town claims the destination island.
If you are looking for an unrivaled romantic setting for a once in a lifetime wedding, the Evans should be high on your list. For the spontaneous and highly imaginative couple, there are truly few other options that parallel this experience. Even if you’re not getting married, spending six days or even two hours on board plying the waters off the coast can be a spectacular way to see Maine. There are a wide variety of opportunities to consider in getting married on the high seas and each comes with the support you need to make it happen. A schooner wedding is a unique Maine adventure to start your lives together. The benefits are innumerable, the simplicity, romance and spontaneity are compelling. The vast, open space, the wind and the sound of rushing water all thrill your senses, heightening the excitement of an event that will change the course of your life. You might get sunshine and wildlife, or you might get clouds and squalls. If you can roll with it all and be flexible, it bodes well for married life.
Because we sail from the North End Shipyard, we have the ability to have an indoor wedding if the weather is bad. It's not necessarily what couples may have had in mind when they plan a windjammer wedding, but it provides a great fall-back plan and it beats standing outside in the pouring rain or a raging wind.
general, we can sail regardless of the weather,
but exceptionally high seas or dense fog may lead us to decide
against it. Even if the weather is clear and warm at the time of
sailing, the wedding party should come with layers of clothing,
including a windbreaker or light poncho, because it can be cool or even
cold at sea.
Wedding celebrations scheduled during multi-night trips allow for watching the weather closely and choosing the best day based on the forecast. If we do an island wedding we often do our lobster bake as a 'reception'. We do a champagne toast and bring a wood-stove-cooked wedding cake to the island for dessert.
Getting married on a windjammer is unique, adventurous, fun, and memorable and we do all we can to make it everything each couple hopes for. A windjammer wedding is romantic, but it can also be an adventure. That may be just what's in order if the couple is prepared.
If you or someone you know is planning a wedding this year, consider a windjammer wedding aboard the Evans. After all, millions of people can say they’ve been married in a church, but how many can say they’ve been married on a beautiful, traditional windjammer? It’s a great way to start a life of adventure together.
photo credit for top and bottom photos: Rob Colclaser