So we walked down the long floating boardwalk to the floatplane waving back at Clark, Autumn and Hazen (me almost crying even though we’ll be back in a month!) and getting a bit nervous about the flight. The plane looked tiny as we walked towards it…and it still was when we got into it!
We sat to the right behind the pilot (I could have tapped him on the shoulder if I had wanted to) and got strapped in and were handed some earplugs!! I think there were about 10 passengers on board and as we waited to take off (as they stored our bags in the floatplanes pontoons) a lady opposite us asked if we were the couple getting married everywhere!! She had seen us on the news and was following our wedding travel blog ,we were gobsmacked that we had been recognized hahaha!!
We noisily took off and flew not far above the Ocean. We could see the Islands dotted around and even the ‘mountains’ rising under the Oceans surface. Some areas looked just ankle deep! The flight took 20 minutes and then we jumped on a shuttle to Vancouver (YVR) airport to meet a very special person!
For those of you who aren’t aware, YVR are celebrating their 80th anniversary this year and to celebrate they launched a contest to find someone to LIVE at YVR for 80 consecutive days and nights to tell the stories of the airport in his blog. The public voted for Jaeger Mah, a great guy with fantastic energy and a love for Hawaiian shirts. So…I had been following Jaeger on his adventure and decided to ask if he would do us the honour of being our master of ceremony if we were to hold a wedding ceremony at the airport!
Of course Jaeger is game for most things (he is LIVING in an airport after all) and said he would be delighted, he loved our love story! We arranged to meet him at the airport as we disembarked our floatplane flight to make a plan of action for the following day.
We met Jaeger at the beautiful Haida Gwaii statue in the middle of the terminal and headed for sushi and a chat. We all instantly clicked and it was like we had been friends for a long time as we nattered, ate eel sushi and planned all kinds of mischief for his time at the airport and of course for the next day which was to be the day of our 6th wedding!
He showed us his lovely room at the Fairmont hotel in the airport with an amazing view that overlooks the runway. We discussed our idea to go with a Hawaiian theme for the wedding as a tribute to his love for brightly coloured shirts and also as that is where we were flying to. Jaeger agreed to even lend Alex one of his fabulous shirts for the ceremony! All planned we headed to our hotel (not a lovely as Jaegers but a hotel all the same) and arranged to meet the next day.
True to form in the morning I was in a flap. Panicking about this being a mad idea, about us being late to check out of the hotel and in for our flights, about the fact that we had too late been asked not to invite the press and about the security team not being ‘keen on the idea’ …not to mention the nerves kicking in that we were having a wedding today!!!
On looking out of the window we realised that we were staying in a hotel in an industrial park (we had arrived in the dark) and Alex went on a mission for wedding day breakfast and to find something to use as lei’s for the ceremony. After returning empty handed once due to the bank card not working (the norm depending on what day it is) he finally returned amazingly with bagels and lei’s! He truly is my hero!
We ate breakfast while trying to contact the press to tell them not to come and then tried to print out the ceremony for Jaeger (obviously just 5 minutes before we were due to get the bus to the airport) and of course the hotel printer was out of ink. We just made it onto the bus with our backpacks and day packs (which we were not accustomed to carrying) in the nick of time.
Once at YVR we had to find wedding flowers, a buttonhole, a wire to link the laptop to a boombox (which Jaeger was borrowing from his hotel room), a printer with ink and a plug socket near the Haida Gwai statue! Easy Peasy!?!?!
We got a trolley for our bags and ran around like lunatics and 40 minutes later we had flowers for both of us and a wire! $15 for a wire! I could barely breathe but remained as calm as possible. I got dumped with the bags, the shiny wire and flowers while Alex went to try the Fairmont Hotel for a printer…he returned and explained that they wanted $9 to print something so I started handwriting it on the back of our hotel receipt while Alex wandered off again.
He came back a few minutes later and said he had managed to sweet talk the lady at the info desk into printing it for us and I was to go and tell her my email passwords so she could access it to print it for us! Of course, nothing is THAT easy! The airport system didn’t support hotmail so determined to help, the lady whose name fails me (I am sorry) called IT and had them hack into my account (maybe slightly dramatised but they got in) and printed it for me! That took about 20 minutes so my nerves were absolutely shredded by this point!
I went back to the statue and Jaeger and his girlfriend Candice were there setting up cameras. Alex and I put our Hawaiian outfits on, pinned on Alex’s gorgeous blue orchid buttonhole and gave the Lei’s to Jaeger. Alex, Candice and Jaeger ran around and gathered an audience as I stood wringing my hands in panic and telling the press to be as invisible as is humanly possible (of course they didn’t get the second email saying they were uninvited!).
Finally it was time and Jaeger, in his great booming voice told everyone what was going on and instantly had the people that had gathered around whooping and cheering for us. Everyone was so lovely and clapped and joined in with the ceremony.
Jaeger went through the wedding ceremony like a professional, Alex and I stuttered and giggled again like it was the first time we had done this and as Jaeger pronounced us 2people1life he placed a Lei over each of our heads and the guests all cheered and clapped as we kissed.
After we had spoken to several of the guests, amongst them where a lovely couple from Germany, a family from Algeria who loved the fact that we could marry in such a way as they had such restraints on their marriages at home. Then a very friendly Italian man came over and hugged us and said ‘we are part of his family now’! They had all wished us well in our future and one particular man had blessed us and told us to ‘hurry up and make the baby’ now we are married .
After all of the fuss we decided to throw the bouquet. The stunning display of sky blue and turquoise orchids was difficult to part with but as a group gathered around I was excited to see who would catch it.
The throw was a success and a very tall boy caught it and looked especially pleased with himself. We spoke to the press and took a few more wedding pictures and once the nerves had calmed down and the crowds had dissipated, Jaeger suggested we grab a celebratory drink. We ordered 4 short Blue Moon cocktails and raised our glasses. It definitely hit the spot and as we parted ways with Jaeger and Candice (we gave her Alex’s buttonhole to say thanks as she had taken some great pics for us) to get our flights we were giddy with excitement of finally getting to Hawaii.
It wasn’t until we were checking in our bags that we realised how silly we looked in our Lei’s and coloured shirts, and the ‘let us guess where you two are going’ jokes soon wore thin although admittedly everyone working at YVR was friendly and so happy! There weren’t any miserable stern faces and even as I was getting my full body x-ray the guard was asking about our adventure. Even the airport was a friendly place!
We boarded our plane without standing in a queue for 40 minutes or a major emergency as is the norm for a UK airport and too excited to sleep, enjoyed our flight!
At the other end we collected our bags and went to get a bus to the airport. This is when I realised I didn’t know the name of the hotel. I tried to get online to access the confirmation email but of course there was no internet. Alex was tired and moody and I was cross with myself for not writing it down…although I was sure I had done! After 10 minutes of raking through my bag I found a scrap of paper with the hotel name on it!! We asked about taxi’s but they were $35 and the bus was $9 each so the bus it was. The cattle wagon…oops, sorry I meant shuttle bus, picked us up and took us on a tour of every hotel in Honolulu and eventually it was our turn to get off. Another night in another real bed! Poor Peggy, we weren’t missing her bed at all! All the guilt washed away as I snuggled into the big fluffy pillows and had a great nights sleep!
Day 3 and flight 3 was the game of the day. We were up at 6am and wandering on Waikiki beach. The surfers were already gathering and people were choosing the prime spots to spend their day in the white sand and the crystal clear Ocean. We dipped our toes and ended up in to our waists fully clothed thanks to the playful waves and it was so warm and inviting but alas we had to head back to the Honolulu airport for our inter island flight to Big Island.
Yet again at the airport (far too early) we sat in the garden (YES the airport had a garden in the departures!) and watched a lady making Lei’s out of leaves while we waited for our flight. It only took us 1 hour to finally arrive at our much anticipated holiday destination and boy were we ready for a holiday!
Thanks Jaeger Mah for making our 6th wedding possible!