wilderness wedding

The best part about moving back to the northeast is being closer to the people we love and reconnecting with old friends. In late August, I received a message from a college outdoor club friend who asked for my assistance in planning her wedding. Now I am definitely a planner, but don’t know much about wedding planning, and her hope was to get married barely over three weeks later. I've never been a huge fan of big, fancy, expensive weddings, so thankfully, rather than doing the traditional and expected thing, she wanted to do something crazy, different, unique, and memorable. It had been years since she had been in hiking in the Adirondack Mountains, and she wanted to reacquaint herself by bringing her wedding guests on a hike for a super small, mountaintop ceremony.  She believes it is important to challenge yourself in order to grow as a person, and by pushing yourself outside your comfort zone to accomplish a goal with others can bring a group closer together. I absolutely agree and was honored to have the opportunity to help make their special day perfect. Not only did she trust me to help choose the mountain, plan the logistics of the day, and decorate.. she also asked me to be her PHOTOGRAPHER!

I made her a list of possible shorter hikes to choose from, though short in mileage doesn’t necessarily mean easy when her criteria requires making it to the top of a mountain, as her family quickly found out. The ceremony took place at a semi-private overlook on top of Crane Mountain in the late afternoon, which while being only 2.8 miles round trip, it has sections of steep terrain and even ladders up rock faces. Fall color was near peak and the day was sunny and warm. The morning of the ceremony, Ted and I hiked up early to shuttle a few things to the top, including a bear can of muddy buddies and popcorn halfway to encourage people to take a break and have a snack. I also hoped it would be a morale boost since by that point, I knew the non-hiker guests would probably not be thrilled. Ted then hiked back to the trailhead, where he greeted the group to ensure everyone had arrived and was prepared, while I waited just below the top to take pictures as people approached the big ladder. Once everyone had arrived on top and after a quick change into the wedding attire carried up, a dear friend of the groom married them in front of a breath-taking view of Crane Mountain Pond and endless little mountains. We took pictures before the setting sun, and witnessed teamwork on the hike down in the dark. 

While some were unhappy at times during the strenuous physical activity and described the hike as one of the hardest things they’d ever done, I don’t believe a single person regretted attending when they saw the view from the top. Perhaps the real happiness came when they saw their cars waiting for them in the moonlight and they knew they were going to live (haha). I believe Allison’s goal was accomplished; this adventure challenged people, brought them closer together, and everyone was proud of themselves and each other for what they overcame together. I think it may have even inspired new appreciation for nature and for hiking, which they now know is not as easy a sport as one might think. This was by far the most beautiful wedding I’ve been to, and I didn’t even have to buy a dress or do my hair to go. 

And now.. compiling the countless images to help the happy couple remember their special day, and having them ready before the big reception in a few weeks..