Two high school sweethearts began their married lives together in a special way on Aug. 2.
Heather Brace (now Locke) of Lewisporte and Adrian Locke of Glovertown shared their love in a wedding ceremony held on an island in Notre Dame Bay that is close to Heather’s heart.
The family has a 50-year tradition of spending summers on the island, where memories were made and cherished. One day Heather hopes to have a getaway home there.
“This has always been my dream,” Heather said. “I have always said I wanted to get married at my cabin. I had just hoped that everyone else was on board with my crazy idea.”
Heather and Adrian met while they were in high school in 2006. They both attended a career fair in Gander in October, and by December they were dating.
After graduating in 2008, Adrian joined the military and was sent to Borden, Ont., for basic training. Heather wasn’t far behind. She attended school in Barrie, Ont., while Adrian finished his training. They now live in Alberta.
On Nov. 7, 2012 the couple was in Doha, Qatar, visiting Heather’s parents, Shawn and Stephanie. It was at “The Torch” building in the 360 Restaurant that he popped the question.
Heather had the idea of a beach/cabin wedding. When they visited Newfoundland during the summer of 2013, she approached her family with the idea.
“Everyone thought it was a good idea at first, but the more we talked about the logistics of the wedding, the more people second-guessed the idea,” she recalls.
“I knew there was a lot of things logistically that could go wrong, but I guess you can say I’m a little stubborn and I didn’t care. Planning wasn’t that difficult since I wanted to keep it simple. Most of the planning went into cleaning beaches and figuring out boat schedules.”
The island is accessible only by boat, so there was a bit of co-ordination involved to get family, the wedding party and guests to the island.
“We wanted a small wedding with immediate family only, and once we wrote that down on paper, we knew that wouldn’t happen,” Heather said. “Adrian has a much bigger family than I do and we didn’t want to exclude anyone.
“My father, grandfather and Adrian’s father own boats and we hoped other family members would help out if they had a boat to cut back on boat trips that had to be made.”
They ended up with five or six boats for transportation.
You might think the food required for a wedding would be an issue on an isolated island, but the Lockes didn’t have to worry there.
“Food is never an issue when my family is cooking,” Heather said. “We knew we wanted to keep the meal quick and easy.”
The menu included deep-fried turkey, pork roast and salads to feed 100 guests. Mussels were on offer while guests waited for the main meal. The evening culminated with a bonfire and an abundance of crab legs and a S’mores station.
A number of guests stayed for the evening in tents provided for them to continue the wedding celebration under the stars. All guests were given the option to leave after supper or stay the night. About half the guests ended up staying.
“I grew up spending the day, weekend or summers at my family’s cabins, sitting around the fire, eating S’mores and listening to family play guitar, so I knew I wanted this as a part of my wedding,” Heather said.
She and Adrian didn’t have a backup plan because she wanted the island wedding so badly.
“A few weeks before the wedding I started to regret that decision and called a few places, but everything was booked, of course,” she said.
“I took that as a sign that everything would work out perfectly.
“I joked with family and said I would be watching the weather a few days before and everyone would have to be on standby from Thursday to Sunday and the first nice day would be the new wedding day.”
They needn’t have worried as Aug. 2 turned out to be a picture-perfect day weather wise — sunny and clear with hardly a ripple on the water.
The only real hiccup leading up to the wedding was that Heather had asked her uncle to marry them. Rodney Brace went through the steps to become ordained, but when the couple went to apply for a marriage licence they found out he could marry anyone in Canada, except in Newfoundland.
Heather’s mom happened to be shopping in Gander a week or so before the wedding when someone named Geoffery Tucker started chatting with her. Assuming she knew him, but unable to remember his name, Stephanie continued the conversation. It turned out he was a justice of the peace and a marriage commissioner from Gander.
Having spent a week crying because there was no one to marry them, Heather was more than pleased when her mother handed her Geoffery’s business card. She gave him a call and he agreed to do the ceremony.
Planning a Newfoundland wedding from Alberta wasn’t without challenges, but they pulled it off with the help of family.
The couple looked to what was around them for décor inspiration. Adrian’s brother, Christian Locke, helped build three driftwood arches.
“When I explained what I wanted, they told me it may not turn out the way I wanted it to, but I think they all turned out perfect,” Heather said.
Benches for guests were made out of scrap wood around the cabin and they “stumbled upon” most of the flowers the day before the wedding.
“We basically threw this wedding together two weeks before and everything really fell into place perfectly,” Heather said.
“My advice to anyone planning a wedding is to stick to what you want — even if it’s a crazy idea. Thinking back, our wedding sounds crazy, but it worked out perfect and everything turned out beautiful.”
Adrian wanted to pay tribute to his Scottish/Irish heritage, so he and the groomsmen wore kilts.
His other request? A dory load of beer to share with everyone.