On One Knee, Out at Sea…

‘The first bond of society is marriage; the next, our children; then the whole family and all things in common.’

Cicero; De Officiis (44 B.C.)

There are some traditions that will never die out, and we think that is a wonderful thought. Traditions can persist and evolve for thousands of years—the English word tradition comes from the Latintraditio via French, the noun from the verb tradere (to transmit, to hand over, to give for safekeeping); it was originally used in Roman law to refer to the concept of legal transfers and inheritance. From the legal term, as is the way with this wonderful language of ours, the word ‘tradition’ has evolved to cover a wide variety of social interactions and historical memories. Of course, not all traditions stretch back to the dawn of time; in learning institutions, armies and cultures spawned by recent inventions (think motor racing, bicycles, team sports, luxury catamarans…) traditions are manufactured for a variety of reasons, but mostly as a way of generating a group ‘spirit’ or enthusiasm. The experts, whoever they may be, seem to believe that it takes only two or three generations to create a tradition, which bears up to scrutiny, if you have the time. So, if you want to start a new family tradition, better get going now.

Asking the special person in your life to marry you and celebrating that life-changing decision is one of those times…

Folk customs and religious practices are responsible for most of the ongoing traditions that have descended from the mists of time. Some date back to prehistoric times, with lost or arcane origins existing from time immemorial. We can guess at the genesis of some of these traditions, but coming from eras when word of mouth was the only way of transmitting knowledge, much has been lost. Basically traditions can be (very broadly) broken down into three categories: artistic cultural heritages; beliefs or customs instituted and maintained by societies and governments, such as national anthems and national holidays; and beliefs or customs maintained by religious denominations and Church bodies that share history, customs, culture, and, to some extent, body of teachings. From this last category arise many of the arcane traditions too, that have been practised by various groups of people and could also be categorised as superstitions. For each Good Guy history celebrates, there is always a Bad Guy who must be placated, avoided or destroyed. (Guy Fawkes springs to mind, for obvious reasons.)

The study of tradition is a long, complicated subject and is worthy of a lot more investigation, but for now we going to focus on a tradition that still persists, and we at Waterfront Charters are fully behind its ongoing importance: the Popping of the Question, or, to put it more formally – The Proposal. Now, we realise that in this modern day and age the decision to marry is normally discussed at some length before a question is posed, but that shouldn’t detract from the importance of the moment: to quote an eminent authority, it has a ritual quality. And that ritual quality is what we are setting out to enhance. Why not make the moment something that is shared by the important people in your lives? Waterfront Charters have put together two great combo cruise packages, and just so that nobody gets confused we have called them Proposal Packages and they under the ‘Combo’ section on the website.

Firstly, the Perfect Proposal Package. The cruise is a full hour charter aboard our luxurious motor catamaran Enigma; you can invite up to thirty sparkling-eyed guests to witness the occasion. With the package comes a superb bouquet of flowers for the lucky proposee (to coin a generic term in this modern era) lovingly arranged by top V&A florist Caroline Fine Flowers; a professional (and discrete) photographer who will record the event for posterity; a fully stocked cash bar for thirsty guests and oodles of chilled sparkling wine to toast the happy couple.

The second option is our Romantic Proposal Package which has all the elements of the above but with two hours at sea to celebrate the happy occasion. As always we can add on catering, and why not book one of our top DJ’s to provide the mood music? – two hours of celebrating a milestone moment. As the Proposal Package copy on the website says: Afloat on the expanse of the Atlantic Ocean with the Cape’s magnificent scenery as a backdrop, surrounded by friends and family – perfection. As we said earlier, traditions alter. No matter who is proposing to who; whether it is a surprise or a choreographed event; a rip-snorting party or a sedate celebration – there is no better venue than aboard Enigma, out on that rolling Atlantic Ocean.

And traditions are there to be either followed or created: as a final note, given that we are sailing from the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront: Queen Victoria, that staid queen of England, proposed to her future husband Albert. He said ‘yes’, and the rest is history. We’d have loved to have hosted that Royal event!