When you think of summer weddings, do the usual images of stiff white roses, mini-mushroom quiches, hot, tented ceremonies, and cookie-cutter pink silk organza bridesmaid’s dresses come to mind? Or how about still more chilled melon and prosciutto hors d’oeuvres served in anonymous hotel banquet rooms?
Though conventional weddings may be fine for others, for some creative couples, affirming their love at a venue that’s essentially a self-portrait of their lives together is a much more exciting way to go.
A Roller Coaster Runs Through It
For Iowans Gary and Karen Noyes, an amusement park where they’d had their first date and later got engaged was the perfect setting. “We wanted to celebrate what we knew would be a fun ride together through life,” Karen said.
Though no relationship is perfect, and bumps in the road should be anticipated, the park’s wide range of rides including a giant roller coaster with an 85-degree bank (the steep ups and downs of life), a behemoth Ferris wheel (it may go round and round, but at least we’re side-by-side), and bumper cars (no need for explanation!) symbolized the future for the young couple. To add to the fun, a caterer was hired to fashion an amusement park-themed wedding feast featuring mini-corn dogs, cheesy chicken nuggets, pizza poppers, vodka snow cones in their wedding theme colors (yellow and lavender), and cotton candy-topped wedding cupcakes. Throughout the evening, guests were treated to as many rides as they could handle, though encouraged to try them out on an empty stomach!
View From the Top
Deciding they’d made it to the summit of a relationship that’d had its share of ups and downs, including a challenging attempt to blend two families with four teenagers between them, avid naturalists and hikers Sean and Mindy Trask symbolically took their nuptials to a Colorado mountaintop. Getting there required a grueling four-hour climb, and the catch was that friends and relatives who wanted to participate in the wedding had to hike along with them, as the trail was not conducive to vehicles. Luckily they and their combined family were all in excellent condition! “We knew we could radio for a helicopter if anyone sprained an ankle–or worse,” Sean quipped, grateful that the justice of the peace who would conduct the ceremony was himself an accomplished outdoorsman.
Loading several backpacks with 20 pounds each worth of camping equipment, wedding attire (white shorts and a veil), and a healthy nuptial feast, the couple, their children and a dozen intrepid friends and family members set out early for the arduous ascent. The weather was clearly on their side, as the late August day was cooler and a little less sunny. Following a rehearsal dinner that included a healthy campfire-prepared meal and a good night’s sleep under the stars, the couple and their guests awoke at dawn the next day, picked a bouquet of wildflowers, and declared their love and commitment in a sunrise ceremony they’d written themselves. A wedding day breakfast of fresh fruit, soy pancakes, tofu and green onion omelets prepared over an open fire, and berry yogurt granola parfaits capped their high-altitude fete. “We’d made it to the top and hoped it was all downhill from here,” Mindy said.
All Vows on Deck
On Cape Cod, or rather off its windswept coast, avid sailors Jane and Chris Smith chartered a 74-foot schooner (and crew) for their nuptials, exchanging vows in a three-hour sunset cruise with 40 of their friends and family in tow. Married by the captain and toasting their new life together with ceviche and champagne, the Smiths said the enormity of the ocean–with its inherent danger and beauty– was emblematic of the world they would face together. Safely ensconced in the boat and surrounded by those who loved them, the couple was certain they would always find shelter and support in their journey.
Whatever venue you choose to celebrate your love this summer, conventional or otherwise, including elements that symbolize your relationship can distinguish your day in the most personal way. Whether you hold your ceremony in a transformed barn because you met on horseback, or just decorate your wedding site with reminders of the way you met and your shared interests, a summer wedding is the perfect opportunity to say “I love you” in a manner only the two of you can.