Union: Pastor Charly Franks marries Lisa Hayes and Jason Mathers of Maryland, US, 20 minutes before the departure of their cruise ship Enchantment of the Seas. *Photo courtesy of Bermuda Bride
Union: Pastor Charly Franks marries Lisa Hayes and Jason Mathers of Maryland, US, 20
minutes before the departure of their cruise ship Enchantment of the Seas. *Photo courtesy of Bermuda Bride

Nikki Begg is a Professional Bridal Consultant with the Association of Bridal Consultants. She is owner of the Bermuda Bride wedding planning company and the florists Petals.

Ms Begg organizes up to 80 weddings a year and was listed among the 2010 top 25 worldwide ‘A-list’ wedding planners by ‘Destination Weddings and Honeymoons’ magazine.

Here she describes a day in the life of a wedding planner.

They say that a pilot is paid the big bucks for flying a plane.

I say it’s all about the take-off and landing; otherwise, autopilot works beautifully.

It’s quite similar with wedding planning: Once the wedding is underway, it’s about being a step ahead and making sure it’s all supposed to happen according to plan.

But what happens if there is an unexpected storm?

The analogy could not have been more accurate with Lisa and Jason’s wedding on September 6.

Planning started 10 months previously. Both had hectic jobs and their wedding day was to be an expression of what they would do at home, if only they had time.

Detailed conversations took place, ideas bloomed and these were tailored and agreed upon, by early summer.

Everything was set: A beach picnic at Horseshoe Bay complete with a choice of sandwiches and assortment of cupcakes (don’t forget the Red Velvet), Corona with a slice of lime submerged in galvanized pails filled to the brim with ice. A tent for shade, a dip in the ocean to cool down, and sunblock against sunburn — the day sounded perfect.

Most importantly, it included precious time spent with family and friends — all 50 of them. 

The ship had set sail when Jason called. Storm ahead. Ship will be departing Bermuda early. We reassured him that everything would still be fine, “We will reschedule everything”. And we did.


I never sleep well when we have a morning wedding — I am paranoid I will sleep in — not that I ever have, it’s just something I am afraid of; much like snakes. 

I awoke early and watched the sun slowly rise, its gentle rays kissing the harbour, turning everything it touched the softest shade of pink.

The water looked like glass and mirrored the sky. Cumulous clouds hung like fat cotton candy. The day couldn’t have looked better. Was it the calm before the storm?

I am also paranoid about being late. This was the first day of school and the traffic was going to be busier than usual. 

Lara, my associate, called. Jason had left a voicemail at 6 am, that the ship was leaving at 9am.

Could I arrange a ceremony on the pier? Good grief. Pulling a rabbit out of a hat might be easier.

I was prioritizing my options when Jason called my cellphone. It was now 8.26am; I was in Warwick and barely had enough time to get to the ship.

Lisa was in tears.

“We want to get married. There is space on the dock — please do your best,” said Jason.

“I will,” I promised.

I asked Lara to find a minister in Somerset but she called back and said no-one had answered.

I arrived in Dockyard moments before the scheduled departure. I raced through security and met Jason at the gangway. They realized it was not going to be possible and decided to do a small ceremony on their return.

I sat on the bench outside the towering ship, desolate and gutted. I felt defeated. It was 9.10am. But then suddenly I overheard that the ship was departing at 10am. 

I raced through security once more and found Ivan, the ship’s Head of Security. He looked like the KGB. Could it be true and was the wedding now possible?

It was all highly irregular, he said. They had other priorities to deal with. 

I implored him, explained about how important it was to Lisa and Jason, and that they had 50 of their friends on board.

Ivan disappeared into the bowels of the ship to ask the captain.

It was 9.17am when I called Pastor Charly Franks, who was in Devonshire, and urged him to come as quickly as possible, just in case. 

Ivan reappeared. “Yes you can do the ceremony, but only the minister and the couple,” he said.

“And everyone must be back on board by 9.50am.”


I called Jason and said: “Tell Lisa to put her dress back on — you’re going to get married after all.” 

At 9.39am Charly arrived. The crowds on the deck above went wild. Jason stood on the pier and watched as Lisa walked off the ship. She looked beautiful.

At 9.49am they sealed their marriage with a kiss. As they went to board the ship again they stopped to give me a hug.

I suddenly felt invincible — we were all heroes.

They were thrilled. Not as they’d expected,  but when does life ever go according to plan?

Nikki Begg, Bermuda Bride. Contact 295-8697 or go to: www.petalsbermuda.com and www.bermudabride.com.

Fairytale Weddings January 2012