Aruba (2005)

Destination wedding in Aruba you say? I’m in.

The American side of the party boat
Dave is King of the World

My friends Dave and Niki might have been surprised that I accepted their invitation, and as it turned out I was the only non-family, non-bridal party guest who did. I still can’t understand why more people wouldn’t want to go to Aruba for a wedding!

I booked a dive as soon as I got to the island, and was able to walk down the beach from the Marriott resort to the dive shop to board their boat. The dive, visiting wreck to the east along the coast, was a great introduction to diving around this island.

Nik guards the ladies clothes
Dancing on deck
A bit of after dark swimming

The first wedding event was that evening: a sunset cruise on a big party-boat catamaran that departed from the same dock as the dive boat. The bridal party was in high spirits, and drinking high spirits, as the boat motored along the coast. This was the first chance for Dave’s British family to get to know Nik’s American one.

The sunset was as glorious as expected. When darkness descended the crew anchored the boat and lowered steps between the pontoons. It didn’t take much urging for some guests, men and women, to strip to underwear (or less) and go for a dip. Bride Nik carefully collected her bridesmaids’ and friends’ clothes to be sure nobody tampered with them.

Father daughter dance

Rather than get roaring drunk, I chatted for a bit with the skipper, learning a little about life as a charter boat captain in Aruba. Which is not to say I didn’t indulge in the strong rum punch.

Hangovers be damned, everyone converged for the wedding the following afternoon. The resort had roped off a small section of their beach where we guests gathered. The officiant led bride and groom through a beautiful sunset ceremony to the music of the gentle surf. The reception followed on a nearby lawn with a dance floor. While not as wild as the bachelor party cruise, it was a festive evening nonetheless.

The party went on for another day, with one final smaller dinner of the bride and groom’s friends at a restaurant in town. I was honored to be invited.

I sure hope someone else I know decides to get married on Aruba–I’ll definitely be back.