Smooth sailing for happy couple’s lifeboat wedding
All hands were on deck when lifeboat volunteers Rory Bolton and Dr Sarah Brookes tied the knot.
The Killiney, Dublin couple met as volunteers with the RNLI Dun Laoghaire lifeboat crew.
Sarah had come to the attention of her future husband after joining as a medical adviser, but he thought he had missed his chance at first.
“I thought Sarah was already engaged because she had what I thought was an engagement ring on,” said Rory, who is a senior lifeboat helm.
“A friend pointed out that it was on the wrong hand, though this was several months later.”
The couple started dating in 2011 after Rory forgot to notify Sarah of crew training.
“I was in charge of training and was sending emails and omitted Sarah by mistake,” he said. “She made it clear that I had left her out.”
As an apology, he sent her a special invitation to station training and then for a coffee.
RNLI volunteers Rory Bolton and Dr Sarah Brookes on their wedding day
“It went from one coffee to several coffees, to a meal and then to the cinema and it all went from there,” said Rory.
He popped the question when they were on holiday in west Cork.
“We had a game of Scrabble one night and I won,” he said.
“When everyone had gone to bed, I got out the Scrabble letters and spelled them out asking Sarah to marry me.
“I left them out for her to see in the morning.
“She wouldn’t tell me her answer until we were packing for the journey home, which was four days later.
“I knew the answer, but I wanted to hear it from her.”
Sarah eventually said “Yes”, and their wedding took place on September 5.
Their special day was shared with 110 family and friends and there was a special guest of honour – their 18-month-old daughter Alice.
The ceremony took place in Christ Church in Dun Laoghaire.
Rory and Sarah were then driven in a 1937 Rolls-Royce to start their celebrations on board the all-weather Dun Laoghaire RNLI lifeboat.
The couple wanted to incorporate the lifeboat element into their big day, and coxswain Mark McGibney said it would be free to use if nothing happened.
Later, as the reception was under way, the services of the crew were required.
“There was a call-out before midnight and quite a few of the crew on the lifeboat were at the reception,” said Rory.
“Then another page came through, so I asked Sarah could I go. She said I could, but if I wasn’t needed to come back.
“I went down to the station and the coxswain was there and he said, ‘What are you doing here? Go back to your wife’.
“I suppose it did look funny, with my suit on and everything.”
Dun Laoghaire RNLI lifeboat operations manager Stephen Wynne wished all the best for the couple.
“They’re both fantastic volunteers and I’m delighted that it was our lifeboat station that brought them together,” he said.