On July 3rd, 2004, Arnold and Sima invited their North American friends and some family to a “Party of Surprises”. The evening began with wine and cheese at their condo in Coal Harbour. For many of the guests, this was their first visit to the new condo and everyone enjoyed the spectacular view and the warm company of their generous hosts.
Arnold announced the first surprise as he stood by the floor-to-ceiling window overlooking the harbour. He pointed down to a boat and told his guests that the party would continue on the boat. As the excited guests made their way to the harbour, they were greeted by the gentle bellows of two Swiss alphorns.
Once on the boat, guests were treated to a multimedia presentation showing the four projects the couple did together since meeting some 5 years earlier. This presentation was followed by a gorgeous and delicious dinner buffet featuring both Swiss and Iranian cuisine and a dish that fused both ethnic cooking styles made especially for this occasion. The guests savoured all the wonderful flavours amidst stunning bouquets of flowers and sparkling conversation as they cruised around the harbour.
After dinner Arnold made another announcement. He said that while they had mentioned earlier, they had not felt the need for a wedding, they did not say there would not be a wedding. This announcement was met by laughter and gasps of surprise from the guests.
The very untraditional wedding ceremony that followed inspired much laughter and joy, especially the exchanging of vows in both Persian and Swiss and when Sima and Arnold declared the other their “prime mate”. The ceremony culminated with all the guests saying, “Sima and Arnold, we now pronounce you married!”
After the ceremony Arnold announced that if any guest wished to give a wedding gift that instead they consider making a donation to “Equal Marriage for Same-Sex Couples”. They offered to double any donation made to this organization (see the full story at http://www.samesexmarriage.ca/advocacy/don170105.htm).
The party continued late into the evening at the Mill Marine Bistro where guests were treated to more Swiss and Iranian cuisine, belly dancing, water pipes, and of course, dancing into the wee hours.
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