It was a magical moment when my husband and I exchanged our personal vows on a beautiful boat, surrounded by our family and friends with the stunning scenery of the Thames passing by.
It was private, it was intimate, it was romantic – and it was more fun than we could have ever imagined. We are honoured to share our story with Turk’s – a wedding ceremony on a boat has a relaxed exclusivity you can’t find elsewhere.
Here’s what we did:
From our first enquiry Turk’s were so accommodating and knowledgeable with regards to what works best on their boats. We chose the Yarmouth Belle as it suited the size of our party and has the spacious outside deck. And it’s such a pretty boat.
Our Celebrant Ceremony
The boats aren’t licensed to hold a legal wedding ceremony, but you can hold a celebrant ceremony.
The legal signing of our marriage we kept very low key at the register office a few weeks before, the focus being to create our own personal celebrant service that we would share with family. It was a great way to do it as the pressure was off on our celebration day!
Our ceremony took place on the upper deck, with all our family and friends standing around us. We made our entrance via the two decorative staircases to music we chose and the applause of our guests.
We had a handful of chairs for older relatives – the style of the boat is for a more casual setting so you need to work with that – and it works, you can make it fun!
Our celebrant Holly of Celebrant London was wonderful and told our personal story beautifully. We all laughed, we all cried and all the while had the most stunning scenery passing by. Everyone is still talking about our ceremony many weeks on!
Our Wedding Lunch
It would be the first time our two families would meet (they’re spread between the Midlands and Finland!) so we needed some formality with regards to how we arranged lunch – but wanted a casual ambience too.
Jo at Turk’s suggested that they could set up one long table along one side on the upper deck where we could accommodate a seating plan for family – and then have a casual seating option for friends with the fixed seating on the other side, plus the lower or outside deck depending on the weather.
It worked brilliantly. There was such a lovely ambience, family got to talk, friends got to meet.
We had arranged champagne upon arrival and during the ceremony. We then chose the Hot Fork buffet option from the Turk’s caterers, Chilli Bees. Everybody commented on how delicious the food was and were going back for seconds!
Our wedding was in April – but I think good old British weather is always a gamble whatever the month! On the day it was hovering around 15 degrees. My dress was sleeveless but I was never cold – you’re too caught up in the moment!
A boat has a special atmosphere that is different from a hotel room or hall – and we loved that the boat was exclusively ours for the duration. Our age group ranged from 15 months to 81 years – all loved the experience.
When the sun shone, it was an added bonus to be outside – but it doesn’t have to be the be-all or end-all. The inside deck is an intimate space that makes it really easy for people to mingle.
The scenic route along the Thames provides the most stunning backdrop for photos. Our album is so interesting as the photographer took photos of many perspectives along the route, that just captured the atmosphere of the day.
We did not want a conventional marriage celebration – we wanted something different that celebrated love and friendship, that our families and friends would really enjoy.
Our day was stunning. I have this wonderful memory of my 81 year old father walking down the boat to the buffet beaming from ear to ear just loving the experience – he had been seriously ill a few months before, so it was a moment to cherish.
If you too are looking for a different kind of wedding or celebration then I highly recommend you explore the options with Turk’s. They are first class in every respect from the organisation, to the catering, to how well their team looked after everybody on the day.
With thanks to the lovely Mary Beth of Mary Beth Sutter photography http://www.marybethsutter.co.uk/
Weddings at Turk’s
Turk’s can host your wedding reception or transport your wedding party to your riverside destination – for more details see weddings