So you’re planning your wedding. Congratulations! If you’re opting for the traditional June walk down the aisle in your hometown church, followed by an evening of champagne toasts, a catered meal, and dancing, then your work involves reserving the church and the reception hall, menu-planning with the caterer, finding a photographer, and arranging for the DJ or a band.
If you’ve decided to be married near the top of Denton Hill, then your work proceeds down a slightly different track—one that may or may not be groomed.
Destination and special interest weddings (destin-interest) are kind of the thing these days. Couples are tying the knot on horseback, on the beach, on mountain bikes, on mountaintops. Ten reasons to have a destination wedding; destination wedding dos and don’ts; five things every bride must know about destination wedding etiquette—Pinterest and other Internet sites are absolutely loaded with don’t-forget-to-do-this and under-no-circumstances-should-you-ever-do-that tips and recommendations for those wanting a not-so-traditional day.
So what’s the advice from a bride who has walked the walk and talked the talk?
“Prepare your guests,” says Misty Gardner, whose walk was more of a schuss down the mountain, and whose talk included some teeth-chattering. “And you definitely can’t be one who gets upset if everything doesn’t go according to plan.”
Back on December 26, 2010, Misty and her betrothed, Levi, went the destin-interest route; it was a combination of factors which led to the choice of Denton Hill for the location and December 26 as the date.
“We’re both skiers,” she explains. “I grew up on top of Denton Hill—it’s like a second home. My brother, my sister, my husband, my son all started skiing there.”
Picking the day after Christmas for the celebration was for sentimental reasons.
“It was my grandparents’ anniversary,” she says. “Seventy-seven years before.”
Fortunately the planning for the Gardner’s special day took only a fraction of that time, but it was still a year in the works. “We knew we wanted to get married in the snow,” says Misty, so choosing to honor her grandparents and their commitment to one another made a winter holiday date something of a logical selection. “It was more of a fun thing and definitely not traditional. We kind of themed it around Christmas.”
To that end, her mother made her dress—red, of course—and a winter-princess white coat to wear over it. And under it? This bride’s lacey lingerie was supplanted by something a bit more practical.
“I had to wear long underwear under my dress,” Misty laughs. “We had snow. It was very cold that day. We told everyone to dress appropriately.”
The ceremony was at the top of Katie-O, one of Denton’s most popular runs. Misty rode the big chair lift up; Levi took the pomalift. After the couple exchanged their vows, they skied down the mountain, but they were the only ones who did.
“We wanted to have more people ski down with us but it was so cold,” recalls Misty.
The couple had decided to have the reception in another venue, which gave the wedding party and the guests an opportunity to warm up and shed a few layers. Overall, says Misty, the day was “such a reflection of us.”
“I think everyone had a good time.”
If she had it to do over, Misty says she would have hired a professional photographer. The friend with whom she’d arranged picture-taking duties was unable to get to Denton because of a snowstorm.
“Things just happen,” she says with a shrug. “And you can’t get upset if people can’t come if you plan it around the holiday.” The main thing, she says, is to “just enjoy it.”
If you’re interested in planning a destin-interest wedding in the Mountain Home readership area, the options are as endless as the mountains. There are woodland trails, bike paths, lake banks and stream sides, bed and breakfasts from casual to formal, vacation rentals that run the gamut from rustic cabins to elegant houses, state parks, wineries, micro-breweries, and food options for vegans to hardcore carnivores and everybody in between. So pop the question and let the fun begin.