Four years ago on June 28, 2014, Aaron and Heidi tied the knot and became Captain and First Mate for Life. It was a wonderful weekend in Ayala Cove at Angel Island, filled with friends and family … a Thursday night dinner onboard dear friends Dave & Speranza’s boat, Buoyant … Friday couple pedicures in Tiburon, wedding prep (which included constructing a six foot arbor that had been lashed in a box to the rail for the trip over and then balanced precariously on a dinghy to get it to shore), and a potluck with our boating community who arrived early to help set-up … and Saturday, Wedding Day: mimosas and boater friends decorating before the festivities.
82 people made the journey to Angel Island via private boat or ferry. Aaron and Heidi arrived via dinghy on the beach and stepped off to Bobby Jo Valentine playing Jason Mraz’ “Lucky to be in Love with my Best Friend.” They walked up the pathway to the wedding site overlooking the cove and got married by Aaron’s brother, Wade (deputized for the occasion).
Below are their vows … written by Heidi in Nana’s backyard.
Aaron and Heidi are so glad to have you here on this beautiful summer day to share in their marriage. Angel Island has particular significance for them as it was here they spent happy times in their childhood and their first Thanksgiving together on Sonho. You made the journey to get here today and they appreciate your love. It is their paradise until they head South, and Sonho and Tiki await them in the cove.
We gather here today to witness the love Aaron and Heidi have for each other and the vows they make as they begin a new course in life.
There are also those who are beloved and are no longer with us or couldn’t attend today. We remember them because they have been an important part of Aaron & Heidi’s lives and are forever with them in their hearts … Heidi’s father, John Benson … Heidi’s Nana and Papy … Aaron’s grandparents, Don & Colleen Perry.
The huppah that they stand under is a bridal canopy. It creates a sacred space within this special event, representing a ship full of promises, hopes and dreams. It is open on all sides to symbolize the importance of the world that lies beyond the horizon and how important their family and friends will be to their future course. Yet, like Sonho it provides shelter and intimacy created by Heidi’s talit, or prayer shawl, overhead.
Aaron & Heidi, may you build a life together that is bright with the laughter of children, grandchildren, family, and friends. May your boat be a shelter from life’s storms and the haven of peace where you most want to be with every sunset.
Today you join together as friends and lovers, husband and wife, Captain and First Mate. As the surface of the sea is sometimes calm and sometimes storm-tossed, so also is marriage. But from this day forward you will no longer solo-sail. You will have crew by your side to weather the storms and take joy in every new leg of your journey.
Aaron, do you take Heidi to be your lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold, through fair winds and rough seas, to enjoy the treasures and endure the travesties, in sea-sickness and heartiness, through the ebbing and flowing of life’s tides, from this day forward until your last horizon?
Heidi, do you take Aaron to be your lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold, through fair winds and rough seas, to enjoy the treasures and endure the travesties, in sea-sickness and heartiness, through the ebbing and flowing of life’s tides, from this day forward until your last horizon?
Heidi’s son, Harley, blesses the kiddush cup: This cup of wine is symbolic of the cup of life. Wine is a symbol of joy, of the richness of life and the sweetness of love. “Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu melech haolom, borei p’ri hagafen” Blessed are You, Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.
Heidi’s daughter, Meghan, presents the rings: These rings are especially significant as they were fashioned from rings of Aaron and Heidi’s grandfathers and carried by their Grandson, Cody Wood.
I, Aaron James, give you, Heidi Benson, this ring … A symbol of my commitment to you … As powerful and endless as the sea.
I, Heidi Benson, give you, Aaron James, this ring … A symbol of my commitment to you … As powerful and endless as the sea.
May these rings always remind you of the vows you have taken.
Aaron and Heidi, please join hands.
These are the hands that will work along side of yours as you raise anchor and set sail. These are the hands that will steer your new course. These are the hands that you will reach for strength in storms and for companionship as you stroll on sandy shores.
Aaron and Heidi, your love is now a ship. Well-tended it will stay afloat and take you to places you have only dreamt of. Ignored and left to decay, it cannot withstand the challenges of the sea and will eventually break apart. Let your ship be an example that others look to and may the care of your ship always be a labor of love.
Now, by virtue of the authority vested in me as a Deputy Marriage Commissioner on behalf of Alameda County in the State of California, I declare you Husband and Wife. Captain, you may kiss your First Mate.
And … They Lived Happily Ever After! Vivo O Sonho … Living the Dream!
To an island where we’ll meet
You’ll hear the music fill the air
I’ll put a flower in your hair
Though the breezes through the trees
Move so pretty you’re all I see
As the world keeps spinning round
You hold me right here right now
Lucky to have been where I have been
Lucky to be coming home again