Early March, with plenty of snow still on the ground, was the start of a new beginning here at The Bear Mountain Lodge. Our second elopement took place this past weekend and it was for an incredible couple from Maine. As they began their new life together and Michael captured it all for them on film, I was taken with how lovely the ceremony was. How simple, how beautiful, how romantic. She was radiant in her gown and beautiful arrangement her mother had designed for her, and his Army dress blues and medals were picture perfect. Although it was just the two of them, something bigger was taking place in our great room. Their love for each other and smiles filled the entire room and I got goosebumps hearing them recite their vows.
As we talked throughout the weekend, it became clear to me why people elope — no stress, no family quarrels over who gets to attend, and of course the cost of today’s weddings – a typical wedding now costs $20-50K.
When Michael and I got married in August 1998 we had just 60 people at our wedding. We had wanted to elope but our mothers were not happy about it. So we kept it simple and refused to spend more than $4K for EVERYTHING, yes including my dress and flowers. It was tough getting the list down (we really would have liked to have about 20 but some family friends NEEDED to attend as the saying goes) and my-brother-in-law started his toast with “Congratulations to those of you who made the cut.” Planning, decisions, stress – it’s all coming back.
What wasn’t stressful was the planning of our honeymoon to Alaska. The wedding wasn’t as important to us as how we’d spend those first glorious 16 days together as husband and wife. With no stress and time away from everyone who knew us, we could enjoy just being newlyweds Michael and Carol while we had the most amazing trip ever. I can’t remember all the details from the five hours of our wedding reception, but I can still remember every detail of our Alaskan experience — our stateroom on the cruise ship and those awesome chocolate croissants every morning while we drank coffee on our balcony; sailing through the inside passage with the most incredible scenery ever; flying in a float plane up through the Misty Fjords to flyfish in a beautiful lake near Ketchican; sea kayaking and climbing Mt. Roberts in Juneau; horseback riding to an old mining town in Skagway; the train ride from Anchorage to Fairbanks, stopping along the way at Denali National Park and the majesty of Mt. McKinley. And of course the riverboat ride in Fairbanks – when we saw an incredible log cabin and said “Someday we’ll have one just like that.” I could go on for hours talking about our honeymoon, yet I’m not sure how long I could talk about the wedding and keep anyone interested.
This wonderful couple is in Hawaii for a phenomenal honeymoon which we can’t wait to hear all about. They’re off right now creating memories that will last forever and we wish them an incredible life together. We are so thankful that we got to be part of it – another reason Innkeepers do what we do.