Wedding on the Water
Couple paddle to Tilton Island to marry among river friends
John Jenkins talks with Rick Covill, from Grantham, while waiting for his bride to arrive on the island, during their "kayaking" wedding day. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)
Then, Gero stepped carefully into a canoe, and with about 70 boaters escorting her, paddled her way down the Winnipesaukee River to Tilton Island, where she was helped out of her boat for the wedding ceremony, at which she would become Nancy Jenkins.
"You didn't think I was going to spill in this dress, did you?" she said laughing. "The best man thought I was going to."
Jenkins met Nancy about 10 years ago while both were paddling the whitewaters of New Hampshire and Maine rivers.
In fact, both are leaders of two local paddling groups, the New Hampshire Appalachian Mountain Club Paddlers and the Merrimack Valley Paddlers. Both have high-level qualifications as rafting guides.
So for Nancy, 46, and John, 64, the river was the obvious setting to exchange their vows.
Richard Clancy of Nashua said the wedding was "fitting."
"I wasn't surprised at all when I heard they were doing this," he said. "I knew it would be a different kind of wedding, but I wasn't surprised."
"We knew we'd draw this many people because the paddling community is a gigantic family," he said. "You get close to people because you're always looking out for the next guy's safety in their boats. You make a lot of good friends."