New Brunswick

Heavy metal wedding on the high seas for Saint John couple

Ken Steeves and his new wife, Sheila, married on a cruise that gives heavy metal fans a chance to spend time with their favourite bands.

Couple tried to create a concert atmosphere for their wedding on a cruise for heavy metal fans

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      When a man from Saint John and his wife tied the knot late last month, they decided to do it in one of their favourite places: an annual heavy metal music festival at sea that allows fans to hang out with their favourite bands.

      The "70,000 Tons of Metal" cruise is billed as the world's biggest heavy metal cruise. This year, it hosted 3,000 fans and 60 bands, such as Anvil, Behemoth, Kataklysm and Venom.

      Ken Steeves and his wife, Sheila Loftus, met about five years ago, at another music festival — the Maryland Deathfest in Baltimore. He said that's one of the reasons they hoped to create a concert atmosphere for their wedding guests and themselves.

      It's also the second marriage for both Loftus and Steeves said they wanted to avoid the stress that comes with a traditional wedding.

      The cruise has been the best experience of my life ... Why not do it there?- Ken Steeves, groom

      "Planning the wedding, it's almost like you're doing stuff for other people," Steeves said.

      "And I go, 'If I ever did it again, I'd like to have something fun.' It just popped into my mind. The cruise has been the best experience of my life, and I'm like, 'Why not do it there?'"

      Steeves said he mentioned the idea to Loftus, who agreed, and mentioned it on Facebook. He said a lot of their friends got involved, as did people on the cruise.

      "So many people were so helpful. As soon as the idea came up, people were pitching in and helping us and made the whole thing possible."

      A friend from Florida became an officiant for their wedding and had the idea to do it in the costume of the lead singer from a band called Ghost.

      "The singer's this skeleton, kind of Pope-looking guy," Steeves said.

      "She figured the materials to make it would be about $800, so she put it on Facebook and said, 'Hey I'd like to marry the guys in this costume.' And within a month, friends and even people we hadn't met, they donated the money. I can't believe so many people we haven't met were so generous."

      The bride wore black

      During the ceremony, the bride wore black, and walked down the aisle to the music of New York death metal band, Cannibal Corpse. 

      Ken Steeves and Sheila Loftus exchanged wedding vows at an annual heavy metal music festival that takes place on a cruise.
      Other members of the wedding party wore leather vests and Dickies work shorts. The rings were custom made by an artist in New York.

      Steeves said instead of wedding invitations, the couple printed concert flyers.

      They invited 200 people they knew, but he said anyone was welcome at the wedding. He said the longer they were on the ship, the more they found out about how many bands had attended their wedding  something that made it even more special.

      Many of the wedding guests had a beer in hand during the ceremony, Steeves said.

      The couple had a logo designed for the wedding and had it printed on beer cozies. Those were handed out to the guests.

      Steeves said a bit later on, the lead singer of the band Venom wore the cozy as a wrist band and congratulated the couple during one of the band's biggest sets.

      The best thing about the wedding, though, said Steeves, is the number of friends who were able to attend from around the world.

      "We had friends from Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Finland, Costa Rica, Saudi Arabia, and Colombia," he said.

      Meanwhile, the couple continues their long-distance relationship.

      Loftus, who lives in Rochester, N.Y., has visited Steeves every month for the past five years. Now that they're married, it could be up to two years before she's able to move to Canada.

      Steeves said the couple is already looking forward to next year's cruise. He's been on five of the 70,000 Tons of Metal cruises and always has the time of his life.

      He said while the wedding was a definite highlight this year, the cruise just seems to get better and better each year.

      "I've travelled to a lot of concerts, all over the place, and this is the best experience ever," he said.

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