Beth Dail And Chris Marshall

Setting sail into new life

July 18, 1999|By Joanne E. Morvay | Joanne E. Morvay,Special to the Sun

Beth Dail and Chris Marshall bonded while working as crew members on sailboats during area races. They cemented their relationship while navigating their inflatable kayak around Baltimore's Inner Harbor, dodging larger watercraft. ("Water taxis love us," she says jokingly.)

So it was only fitting that Beth and Chris would marry aboard a ship -- the Nighthawk, a gaff-rigged schooner built in 1880 that has been the "official tall ship of Fells Point" since 1986.

Though they had a love of the water in common, the couple met by chance at an acquaintance's birthday party in February 1997. They began dating shortly thereafter and fell in love rather quickly. But both were sure the relationship was too good to be true.

Chris had convinced himself that if he ever married, it would be late in life. And Beth had tired of trying to find someone to share her values and outlook on life. But despite their low expectations, the relationship flourished.

"Every time we [saw each other], Beth continued to like me and continued to listen to me," Chris says, his tone a bit incredulous even now.

For her part, Beth was sure, "Any day now, we're going to go out and he's going to say, 'We've gotta talk,' and something will go wrong."

But it didn't happen.

Beth and Chris spent Thanksgiving 1997 on a houseboat in Arizona with his family. That Christmas, they traveled to Bermuda with her family. (She was raised in Bel Air and Chris grew up in the Cockeysville-Glen Arm area.)

In August 1998, Chris proposed during their vacation on Martha's Vineyard, presenting a very surprised Beth with the diamond-and-platinum engagement ring that had belonged to his late grandmother, Anne Zouck.

On the sultry evening of July 3, Beth, 24, and Chris, 27, were married aboard the Nighthawk, docked at Henderson's Wharf in Fells Point.

As the ceremony got under way, a slight breeze blew in from the harbor and water lapped against the pier. Passing boaters stopped to watch the wedding. Mellow guitar and marimba music gave the festivities a Caribbean flair.

The guests sat in shaded chairs on the wharf. They included Beth's parents, Joanne and Howard T. Dail Jr. of Bel Air; Chris' parents, Anne Perry of Timonium and David Marshall of Phoenix; and Chris' grandfather, Robert L. Zouck Sr.

The wedding party, which included Beth's brothers, Chris and Jeff, lined the pier. Chris' brother, Jason, served as best man and Beth's sister, Wendy Dail, was her matron of honor. The two of them accompanied the bridal couple onto the ship.

The wind tousled Beth's veil and lifted a bright banner hung nearby proclaiming the couple's wedding day. Harbor traffic passed back and forth in the background as Beth and Chris exchanged rings and read vows they had written themselves. The Rev. James Riddell then led the guests in a spirited a cappella version of "Morning Has Broken."

Accompanied by their wedding party and some of their guests, the newlyweds were carried across the harbor on the Nighthawk. A waiting limousine took them to their reception at Camden Yards.

After a European honeymoon that includes stays on the French Riviera and in Scotland's Hebrides islands, Beth and Chris will return to their condominium in Fells Point -- just a short walk from Henderson's Wharf, which they have nicknamed "our wedding pier."

Chris, an assistant vice president at T. Rowe Price, and Beth, a certified health educator with Chesapeake Health Education Program Inc., will likely take counsel for years to come in the marriage blessing that was read during their wedding. It evoked their love of the sea.

"Relationships must be like islands," said Beth's cousin, Gina Hammen. "One must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits -- islands, surrounded and interrupted by the sea, and continually visited and abandoned by the tides."

Pub Date: 07/18/99

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