Pirate couple exchanges vows, at wacky waterfront wedding

No more joyous celebration can be found than at a
pirate’s weddin’ – and we’ve got the photos to prove it!

After exchanging vows at their pirate wedding on the Willamette River, Chipper tugboat Capt. Mad Jack (Stiles) prepares to take his friends, Amethyst, Queen of the Pirates (the new Mrs. Amy Hardin), and Capt. William the Wicked (Bill Hardin), upriver to celebrate with friends.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The Willamette River was calm and peaceful as Captain “Mad Jack” Stiles maneuvered the tug Chipper, and the wedding barge lashed to its bow, up to the dock at Sellwood Riverfront Park on April 17.

“A perfect day for a pirate weddin’, don’t you think?” asked the colorfully attired captain, as the wedding party came on board and prepared for the water-borne ceremony.

At the appointed time, nearly 100 pirates were gathered on the shore, dock,and barge to see Amethyst, Queen of the Pirates, and Captain William the Wicked, tie the knot.

Preacher Mike began the ceremony, speaking in the finest pirate brogue, proclaiming, “We have been summons’d here to witness the crime of matrimony. More valuable than money, in this ceremony we will see offered the gift of eternal love. This gift of love is more valuable than any treasure.  It’s stronger than any wind; it’s more intoxicating than the finest grog.”

The pirate pair exchanged vows of eternal love and fealty, exchanged rings, and promised to share any future plundered booty. Then, the newlywed pirates received the well wishes of their rowdy pirate mates. Firecrackers substituted for a black-powder salute – and the happy couple broke out a bottle of fine rum.

Nearly 100 pirates gathered on the barge, dock, and shore to wish the newly-joined pirate pair well.

Not a publicity stunt
No, the ceremony wasn’t a publicity stunt for some new high-seas adventure movie. Indeed, we learned, the wedding was authentic – even if the pirates were not.

Before the couple – and their closest crew members – next set sail for the Sellwood Public House, we asked William the Wicked – a/k/a Bill Hardin – “Is getting married the pirate thing to do?”

“Arrrr,” the captain replied with a grin and a wink, “I shouldn’t have, but I did!”

Amethyst, Queen of the Pirates (the new Mrs. Amy Hardin), told us she and her new husband both work in the hospitality industry.

As colorful a ceremony as one would expect from a scene from a pirate movie, the new Mr. and Mrs. Hardin said a pirate wedding was the “natural thing for them to do”.

“We’ve been doing pirate parties with Mad Captain Jack almost seven years,” Amethyst explained. “William and I became close friends over the years, and became a couple, living on a boat together down at the Waverley Marina. Having a pirate weddin’ seemed like the natural thing to do.”

With that, the party sailed into the sunset, and will hopefully live happily ever after.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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