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On The Waterfront—Properly Hitched In North Carolina

The only below-average thing in Denver, N.C., last Saturday was the water-level of Lake Norman. Everything else, from the fall foliage just beginning to show itself to the 70-degree-ish day that gave way to a crisp night, was on the high end of excellent.

It was perfect fall wedding weather, and Chad Shutter, the driving force behind Denver-based BRP Marine Custom and the former Ashley Gerthoffer made the most of it by exchanging their vows in front of 80 family members and friends on the shores of the North Carolina waterway.

Chad Shutter and Ashley Gerthoffer capped off their wedding ceremony with a fly-by in a 50-foot catamaran from Statement Marine.

Many of those folks traveled from out of state to be there. Nick and Priscilla Buis and their son, Owen, of Florida-based Statement Marine—BRP Marine Custom does paint design and warranty work for the company—made the trek. As did a California-based reporter.

BRP Marine Custom clients on hand included Michigan’s Shane and Vicki Franks, the owners of a well-known 42-foot Statement Marine V-bottom dubbed Saddle Up and two of the couple’s dearest friends. Both were in the wedding party.

The owner of an equally well-known 36-foot MTI catamaran Holy Cow!!!, fellow friend and customer, Kelly O’Hara, led an Upstate New York contingent that included his wife, Julie, and their dog, Sally, Donzi Marine 38 ZRC owner and fellow BRP Marine Custom client Jack Gladke, Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats 390 Sport center console owners Dianne and Bill Sestak and their son, Alex, and Cherie and Myron Kocan.

Newlyweds and longtime best friends, Chad and Ashley Shutter have been together for 10 years.

The New York posse road-trip made even more sense given that Shutter and Gerthoffer have deep roots of their own in the Empire State. They even got engaged there on Saddle Up last July during the 1,000 Islands Charity Poker Run.

During their vows, Shutter and Gerthoffer described each other as “best friends.” They’ve been together for 10 years. Their future looks brilliant.

(From left) The author celebrated the couple with Upstate New York friends Kelly O’Hara and Jack Gladke.

In the spirt of high-performance boating, the newlyweds hopped in Stray Cat, a 50-foot Statement Passion-model catamaran after the ceremony ended for a quick fly-by/joy ride then returned for the reception. Then it was time to party.

A few folks who overindulged that night skipped the six-boat Sunday tour of Lake Norman’s massive waterfront homes followed by lunch at Toucan’s Lakefront Restaurant in Mooresville. But that wasn’t an option for the New York crew or their reporter-guest, not even close. O’Hara’ had hauled his 28-foot Axopar, which was the instant envy of every Lake Norman law enforcement type who spied it running on the waterway, to the affair. Sestak brought his 39-foot Nor-Tech.

Neither O’Hara and Sestak was about to let his boat stay tied up at the docks behind their rental home on a sparkling Sunday afternoon.

Nestled between Julie and Kelly O’Hara, Sally The Wonder Dog was the consummate wedding guest.

When the day was done, I reached out to O’Hara and Gladke and thanked them again. The New York crew didn’t just take in a stray reporter for a late-Friday-night dinner following a long travel day and give him a place to crash after the wedding, for Denver after dark is not ride-share country. They took him into their tribe for the weekend.

I told O’Hara and Gladke how being among such fine and gracious friends helped make the beautiful wedding of two people I cherish that much more unforgettable. O’Hara gently corrected me.

“Chad, his father Bob, the entire BRP Marine Custom team and all its customers are a family,” he said. “So you were not just among friends. You were among family.”

No high-performance marine industry wedding would be complete without at least one day of post-nuptial boating.

Related Story: Fully Engaged At The 1,000 Islands Charity Poker Run