When Sheridan and John Eddie Williams last celebrated a renewal of their wedding vows, it was 10 years ago in a chapel in Las Vegas and "Elvis" conducted the ceremony. For their 15th wedding anniversary on May 30, the Houston couple stood before Capt. Keith Moore aboard the Lady Sheridan to commemorate the milestone —their yacht afloat in the waters along the French Riviera.
How sweet it is.
The duo had not planned anything special for their anniversary — surely floating in the lap of luxury in the Med was special enough. But not so for the three female guests (including this writer). They declared themselves "bridesmaids," took control and organized a surprise ceremony. They even made a trip to Cannes in search of matching "bridesmaids" dresses. They found the perfect orange confections with matching scarves at BCBGMaxAzria. While they were shopping, the Lady Sheridan crew went to work as well, providing all the right touches for the romantic celebration.
And so it began. Rather than the evening cocktail hour on the main deck's open-air sitting area, the couple and their yachting guests were invited — via handwritten invitation — to the salon on the upper deck for the champagne-infused party that included chilled bottles of Cristal, bouquets of peonies (the bride's favorite flower) and decorative clusters of white balloons.
The finale was a special chocolate and hazelnut wedding cake made for the occasion by the Lady Sheridan chef.
As the couple entered the salon, the yacht's engineer made certain that Pachelbel's Canon in D, a wedding favorite, played on the sound system. Capt. Keith, a striking figure dressed in his formal attire, invited Sheridan and John Eddie to stand before him as the bridesmaids and yachting guests looked on. He had researched the Internet for just the right verbiage for the vow renewal that included plenty of "I do's" and at the end presented the couple with an official "renewal of vows" certificate.
In addition to Moore's sentimental ceremony, yachting guest Mike Mayell, who with his wife Karen celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary earlier this year, read an Irish wedding blessing, a Mayell family tradition. Joining in the well wishes in addition to the Mayells were Janet Gurwitch and Ron Franklin, Randy Powers and Bill Caudell and Shafik Rifaat.
Once it was done, the groom kissed the bride, the champagne corks popped and guests applauded and cheered. Then it was on to an al fresco dinner where the finale was a special chocolate and hazelnut wedding cake made for the occasion by Lady Sheridan chef Aron Tuckett of Australia and sous chef Laura Hall of Florida.