On a cloudy summer night in kayaks on the Mystic River Debbie Pray and Larry Crooker said, “I do.” It wasn’t a very conventional wedding ceremony, but for those who know the Mystic couple it was them.
“They love kayaking,” Irene Pray, Debbie’s mother said, adding she wasn’t at all surprised when they told her. “They wanted something different.”
Something different it was, but it was also something beautiful and a bit magical, just like the couple’s story.
“We met at a place that doesn’t exist anymore— when it was still Chuck’s,” Larry said. “We dated for a little while, but the timing was not on our side.”
Thirty years later after divorcees and raising five boys the two met again in what Irene calls a fairy tale story.
“We kept having events bring us back together,” Larry said.
When Larry and Debbie decided to get married each already having had a conventional wedding before they wanted something different.
“Debbie wanted to elope, I said why not get married in kayaks,” Larry recalled with the laugh.
"Why not do something off the wall," Debbie added.
This is the second season the couple has spent kayaking around the area together. They kayak almost every night.
“In the summertime, it’s just beautiful, you’ve got the moon and the stars,” Larry said.
They say it wasn’t hard to get people to participate in a kayak wedding. More than 20 people joined the couple in kayaks they launched off Holmes Street in Mystic. People walking by stopped to ask what was going on and then offered well wishes. The group, with Debbie's and Larry's kayaks decorated for the occasion made their way down the Mystic River Tuesday evening stopping to hold the wedding ceremony in front of the dock where more family and friends watched.
"Not the traditional walk down the aisle, but it'll get-er-done," said long-time friend and wedding officiant Mike Marquette.