Think about the greatest wedding you’ve ever witnessed. Perhaps it was a close friend’s, or perhaps it was your own. Well, it’s now the second greatest, because it wasn’t a Hartford Whalers-themed wedding.
And there probably wasn’t a beer man at yours, either.
Kate Murphy and Sean Dwyer were married on March 30 (here’s the Facebook page). She wore white with a Whalers logo on the train. Dwyer, who grew up a Whalers fan before their relocation to become the Carolina Hurricanes in 1997, wore a green tux with a Whalers logo. The bridesmaids wore Whaler blue. The groomsmen wore Whalers jerseys.
The wedding took place on the ice at Gardner Veteran's Arena in Gardner, Mass., in the presence of friends, family, a Zamboni and – ironically, considering the Whalers’ legacy – a miniature Stanley Cup.
Lest anyone believe this union is an unbalanced one – Whalers fan husband forcing his love of hockey onto his bride’s special day – understand one thing: It was Kate’s idea.
“She knew I was a die hard Whalers fan,” said Dwyer. “It was her idea. I joke with everyone that this was her way to get me commit.”
Kate soon discovered that you give a Whalers’ fan an inch, and he’ll go the extra mile for a hockey-themed wedding.
“I was like, ‘Alright, I want a mascot.’”
The wedding was in the works for about three years, as the couple tried to figure out a theme for their nuptials. Once they agreed on the Whalers, everything fell into place: The foam fingers in lieu of flowers; the Whalers players used as table numbers; the hockey-themed cake; the mascot, who tossed T-shirts into the crowd at the ceremony; and, of course, the beer man handing our suds during the wedding.
The rally towels arrived just weeks before the wedding.
The jerseys? “They’re from China,” Sean admitted.
Oh, and for the record: They walked out at the reception to “Brass Bonanza.”
Sean knew most of his friends would be down with the theme – the most common compliment after the wedding was “that’s so you” – and in fact he plays hockey with many of his guests.
The Stanley Cup at the wedding is signed by all the Whalers from a Hartford fan fest, and is awarded each year to the winning street hockey team in a tournament Sean plays in.
If you ignore the franchise’s unfortunate end in Hartford, the Whalers are an apt symbol of matrimonial bliss. They’re drenched in nostalgia. They’re something those in love with them understand, even if it doesn’t make sense to the outside world. And they’re something for which so many people remain passionate about, even if the last blasts of the “Brass Bonanza” have stopped echoing in the arena.
For Kate Murphy and Sean Dwyer, Remembering the Whale isn’t going to be difficult.
Photos by Mandy Bezio Photography, used with permission.
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