Bride surprises groom by arriving on dragon boat

By on September 26, 2017

Special arrangements were made for the wedding day of Jo Phillips and Jeff Turgeon, as the bride was rowed over to the altar in a dragon boat. When Phillips stepped onto the dock at Walnut Beach Resort, dragon boat team members saluted her with their paddles. (Dan Walton photo)

Jo Phillips knows how to synchronize with a partner.

Moments before walking the aisle to tie the knot with her lover Jeff Turgeon, the newlywed bride – clad in a traditionally elegant wedding dress – was rowed into her reception by way of dragon boat.

While standing at the altar, the groom had no idea about the dragon boat arrangement until the moment of the grand entrance.

“Rowing her over was so much fun,” said longtime friend and teammate Dana Selske. “A few of us had a few tears and she was starting to get pretty nervous with excitement, so it was a really special moment and honour to paddle her over to meet her new husband.”

The wedding took place on a sunny day earlier this month at Walnut Beach Resort.

One of the rowers who carried Phillips to her wedding was Jennifer Braun. The two met 13 years ago as dragon boaters, and after numerous adventures together, Braun said it was only natural for the former teammates to assist in the wedding ceremony.

Betty Steinbart, a fellow paddler with the Osoyoos Dragonboat Team, said when a request came in asking if the club could help with Phillips’ wedding, “It was an automatic yes, absolutely.”

The matrimonial dragon boat departed from a dock a few hundred metres away. Steinbart said the trip was a little wavy, but the boat was scrubbed spotless to ensure the wedding dress would stay pristine.

“Dragon boating was very important to Jo and her friends really wanted to do this,” said Steinbart.

“It was great, wonderful.”

And Phillips’ passion for the sport has never waned. She made the cut to compete on Team Canada at the 13th World Nations Championships, and she’ll be traveling to Kunming, China next month to take on the world.

Dragon boating is a big part of Turgeon’s life as well. He and Phillips met as members of the False Creek Racing Canoe Club, to which they still belong.

DAN WALTON

Regional Reporter

Special arrangements were made for the wedding day of Jo Phillips and Jeff Turgeon, as the bride was rowed over to the altar in a dragon boat. When Phillips stepped onto the dock at Walnut Beach Resort, dragon boat team members saluted her with their paddles. (Dan Walton photo)

Special arrangements were made for the wedding day of Jo Phillips and Jeff Turgeon, as the bride was rowed over to the altar in a dragon boat. When Phillips stepped onto the dock at Walnut Beach Resort, dragon boat team members saluted her with their paddles. (Dan Walton photo)

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4 Comments

  1. Carla Nee

    September 27, 2017 at 3:14 am

    Lovely concept! We will also have a lakeside destination wedding in Italy and found our venue at iBride but maybe we’ll skip the rowing part. 🙂

  2. Carla

    September 27, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    Just FYI, dragon boats are paddled, not rowed. Rowing is when the person faces the front of the boat and moves it backwards. Paddling has younfacing forward and moving forward. As we dragon boaters say, “Hell no, we don’t row!”

  3. Joyce

    September 27, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    It was so special for us to be there and see your tear jerking arrival Jo Keep the spark alive

  4. Beth

    October 1, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    Fantastic story! And the best of luck in China to the Bride. Ain’t dragonboating/boaters just the best?

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