On a magnificent summer day this July – Princess Sarah and Prince David’s wedding day finally arrived. They were exchanging nuptials just outside Boldt Castle on Heart Island in Alexandria Bay in the Province of New York.
My name is Rodney John and I was the artist commissioned to capture the special moments of their day. As well as capturing the day as it unfolded, I decided a classical approach was best-from the school of the Dutch Masters I chose settings and poses for portraits that allowed the available light to sculpt and grace the elegant couple as we traveled throughout the day.
But I digress- Sarah was wearing a gown of ivory and lace adorned with an elegant diamond tiara. Her flowers were mostly small orchids – lavender, purple and white with a delicate butterfly on one of the petals.. The groom was attired in a classic dark grey waistcoat and a grey striped tie. Many of their 45 guests traveled from far away countries and regions like Germany and Switzerland and Connecticut to be with them on their wedding day. The setting was particularly important – the castle was originally built by David’s Great-Great Grandfather over 100 years ago. As they pledged their eternal love for each other a translator also read the proclamations in German. As the sweet sounds of a harp filled the air – they mixed sand together of purple and lavender and exchanged rings as a way of sealing their intentions.
After the nuptials we had a tour of the busy castle guided by very capable Sir Shane Sanford. At one point while Sarah was posed with her husband, a young fair-haired maiden who had been visiting the castle with her mother, she turned to her and asked “Where does the princess sleep in the castle?” Sara turned to her and replied that she sleeps upstairs in a grand bedroom. The young maiden seemed pleased with her answer having been relieved that she met a princess today. You see for Sarah- fairy tales do come true.
A large river-boat was waiting for our departure. As the clock struck 5:00pm it pulled away from Heart Island and made its way towards Singer Castle on Dark Island. On the vessel much ale was consumed along with a sampling of culinary excellence provided by a splendid caterer. Items like gulf shrimp cocktail, smoked salmon, crab cakes were available for us to sample. After an hour of merriment along the St. Lawrence River we arrived at our destination. We all came ashore and walked up a cobblestone path to the rear of the towering castle where we were greeted with the sight of a large white tent on a well manicured grass lawn. The spectacular setting overlooked the river on one side and the castle on the other. Our table seating was indicated with numbered butterfly cards.
Music was playing as the master of ceremonies, Lord Ralph, introduce the couple and their families. A special toast was given by the groom’s father, Lord Edward, who could truly be called” the best man”. An exquisite culinary sampling of filet mignon, roasted tuna, asparagus, potatoes au-gratin, and rice was prepared for all of us. The tables were adorned with hurricane lanterns and purple and lavender flowers and a few scatted butterflies. A bottle of red vintage from a local vineyard was available for our enjoyment as well. I did not sample the wine but I was told it was excellent.
After we had eaten our fill, the couple wandered over to a cake made out of vanilla and chocolate cup cakes each adorned with sweet smelling white frosting and a purple butterfly. They also had a slightly larger cake which they cut with a shiny dagger and fed each other a piece to make sure it was OK for our consumption. I can assure you, I later found out they were quite delicious having sampled one of each myself.
A special song by Kenny Chesney was played and the bride and groom dance together for the very first time. They were bathed in the warm glow of the setting sun as it dipped along the horizon over the Ontario Provence in Canada. A Swiss tradition is for the newly married couple to hold a special parasol and for all of the guests to cover them with multicolored streamers as they dance. The result was a kaleidoscope of colors and movement the had everyone delighted. More dancing followed as Sarah danced with her father to “Butterfly Kisses” – there wasn’t an eye not weeping under the tent including yours truly. Afterwards, David escorted his mother for a special dance- again more tissues were passed around. A special anniversary dance followed for all married couples. A bottle of raspberry liquor was given to the couple that was married the longest. A friend of Sarah’s, Gabriella, sang a special song and followed the sublime performance with a jumping catch of the bridal bouquet.
As the sun disappeared for the day and the sky became a deep blue I noticed how wonderfully the warn glow from the lanterns inside the tent contrasted with the night sky. The bride’s mother and father had a heartfelt story of welcome and presented the couple with two special drawings to commemorate the joining of both families. One of them was a delicate portrait of the couple with the Statue of Liberty and the Swiss Alps behind them symbolizing the union of both families and both countries.
The festivities came to a close and everyone used the lanterns from the table to illuminate a safe passage around the castle back to the waiting vessel for the return trip to their lodging at the Riveredge Resort in Alexandria Bay. Sarah and David said goodbye with hugs and kisses for all. They were not coming with us – you see, special arrangements had been made for them to spend the night in Singer Castle in a master bedroom suite. I only hope that the wanderings and rustling of the ghosts that are said to inhabit the castle didn’t create too much of a disturbance. After all it is called “Dark Island”. I’ll have to remember to ask about their night when I see them next.
As the boat pulled silently off the Island being enveloped by the darkness of the river I could only reflect on the wonderful day that we all celebrated- once and for all proving that- fairy tales do come true.
I would like to send a special thank you to Carolyn and Edward, the parents of the groom, for their wonderful hospitality and to also thank Monica and Rudy, the bride’s parents for welcoming me and allowing me to be part of this special day.
Rodney John Jovanelly – Proprietor
A Touch of Color Photography