The Offbeat Bride: Amy, Natural Resources Specialist
Her offbeat partner: Andy, Research Associate
Date and location of wedding: Flattop Mountain, Rocky Mountain National Park, CO — August 16, 2015
Tell us about the ceremony:
We got up and left town at 3:00 a.m. so we could be hiking by four, and on the summit before the sun was up. We both felt strongly pulled by the symbolism of sharing a sunrise and a new beginning. We did ask a photographer friend of ours to come with us to capture the morning so we could share it later on, but other than him, we were the only people on the mountain at that hour. We made the climb by headlamp, snuggled up with each other while the day got brighter, and then parted ways to change clothes in private. When we were both ready, we just met back in the middle and went for it — no rehearsal, no audience. It was off-the-cuff, and mostly casual, and absolutely perfect.
Our ceremony incorporated some of the old standbys: we each wrote and exchanged separate vows, we had rings, and I wore a dress. But, it was also just us being us. Andy said his vows first, and right after he finished we spontaneously hugged and kissed in our everyday way, before even realizing that's not the order you're “supposed” to follow in a wedding. We held hands and made each other laugh throughout, even when I started tearing up during my vows. Afterwards, we hid on a little ledge out of the wind and poured breakfast mimosas, toasted to a great way to start the day, and then hiked down and got brunch in town.
Tell us about your reception:
We didn't have (or want!) an official reception. We came back to my parents' house that morning with our signed marriage certificate and a bottle of champagne for family to toast with, and it ended with them breaking out my grandmother's heirloom champagne coupes — everyone was so excited once they figured it out!
It was also our last day in town, and we had also sent out a low-key, “we'll be at such-and-such bar, stop in and say hi!” sort of invite to local friends a week or so prior, so those who showed up got to hear the news in person. We picked a place that my old buddy, who tended bar with me during our undergrad years, was managing. Because he knew I'd be coming in, he personally brought in mint and fresh raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries for specialty mojitos, having remembered they're one of my favorite drinks. It was a sweet personal touch, since he hadn't even yet heard that we'd gotten married that morning.
What was your most important lesson learned?
Even though our plan was about as minimal as it gets, we still managed to procrastinate enough to cause some stress the day before. For example, I spent a frustrated hour running around town looking for decent earrings to wear because I forgot to bring any from Boise, and then when the time came and I was changing, I totally forgot to even put them on! Like most little details, I realized far after the fact, and it ended up mattering exactly zero percent anyway. As soon as I saw Andy that morning that was it — I knew right then “this is what you’re here for” and I literally couldn't have thought of anything else if I'd tried. So, I guess my advice would be: the details are fun, but ultimately inconsequential. You'll probably be lost in the moment whether you want to or not!
We also worried a bit about hurting feelings by not inviting anyone. But in the end, everyone was completely thrilled for us. And, by just keeping our ceremony between ourselves, we were able to experience the morning exactly the way we wanted it. It might sound selfish, but I love that our story happened somewhere where our hearts hit the same happy chord, and doesn’t include anything we didn’t put into it intentionally.
*Photography: Colin Ruggiero