A number of years back, in 2010, my colleagues and I were invited to attend a beach wedding. We had played a role in the organisation of the wedding, being, at the time, the local agent of the yacht at the centre of it all: the gulet, ECCE NAVIGO. Designed as a fun, festive event by a couple who were totally smitten with each other as well as the beautiful southern coast of Turkey, this was to be an unusual style of ceremony.
We had teamed up with the bride and groom in the weeks prior to go through the finer details of the event, and design a menu to fit in with the entertainment on offer at "1001 nights" -inspired reception to be held afterwards and so were privy to the details, while the other guests — close friends and family members — were left to wonder about the kind of magic that would befall them in this most exquisite of settings. It’s not every day that wedding vows are exchanged in the soft light of the setting sun, on a pebble beach at the foot of a rugged mountain, while everyone looks on with champagne in hand.
The half-hour wait as the sun slowly descended was jovial, as anticipation filled the air, and a motorised tender spotted in the distance caused more than just a ripple of excitement through the crowd of well-wishers: false alarm, this was not the tender. To this day, I recall how elegant everyone looked in linen suits and summertime dresses of flowing silk, softly billowing in the early evening breeze which descended off steep slopes and smelled of sun-warmed thyme and wild lavender. These well-dressed ladies, gents and children lined the pebbled shore either side of a wooden jetty, perkily jutting out into the cove had been taken ashore by tender from their respective Turkish gulets — an up-to-date version of an ancient style of wooden yacht — and a fleet of these vessels now lay at anchor in the cove.
The bride and groom-to-be were making the final preparations to clothing perfectly made-to-measure in Europe and yet, as they finally arrived ashore to the sound of cheers and applause from the crowd, I recall my surprise and delight as I witnessed the scene: “… but, wait!… the beautiful bride stepping out of the tender is barefoot!!!” I smiled a big, broad smile. I loved this touch: it seemed so fitting, so in keeping with the rest of the beach theme… water, water everywhere… and there, as a golden backdrop for some golden moments, a most glorious sunset… just as planned!
And so the music played, and the crowd cheered a few more times, mostly in response to the bride and groom’s unrehearsed dance! There were enthusiastic hugs and kisses for the closest members of the clan... a very touching scene. I felt happy and honoured to have been there to witness something as feel-good as this, something as natural as the untouched surroundings of this sleepy little cove. I watched as the bride’s face glowed with joy and her husband picked her up and swung her from the small jetty across an expanse of pebbled beach and onto a nicely-worn path that led, zig-zag fashion, up the adjacent hillside and into the rustic “lokanta” where the real party was to begin. What a creative way to say, “I do”… and a relaxing one, too, I might add.
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