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Pirate couple exchange vows in wacky waterfront wedding

by: David F. Ashton, 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.

The Willamette River was calm and peaceful, as Captain 'Mad Jack' Stiles maneuvered the tug Chipper, the wedding barge lashed to its bow, up to the dock at Sellwood Riverfront Park on Thursday, April 17th.

'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 - the invited guests - had 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, then 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.

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

Just before the happy couple - and their closest crewmembers - proceeded to abandon the park and set sail for the Sellwood Public House for their wedding reception, 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.

'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 then 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 up Tacoma Street, and will hopefully live happily ever after.