This one time…

I rode a gondola halfway up a mountain to get married.

You wanted to know the most surreal experience I’ve ever had, well, that would be it.

The date: April 18, 2009
The place: Mammoth Mountain

After the mountain had shut down for the day.  My fiance and I drove up and parked in the lot next to the gondola.  There were still some people milling about and getting packed up to head off the mountain but the lot was mostly empty.  As we moved across the black top, a little girl called out in glee, “Mommy, mommy, look!”  She was pointing and waving at my beautiful bride-to-be as we walked over to the gondola.

Nervous.  Excited.  Ready.  And, just a bit tired, having stayed up the night before finalizing the ceremony and putting the finishing touches on the day to come.  We boarded the gondola, which was running just for our wedding party to ascend to McCoy Station, and headed up the mountain.

She was stunning.  The view was stunning.  The day was stunning.

I wished I could have stepped outside my body for a moment to see the whole thing unfolding from a distance, see it from everyone else’s point of view.

We got off the gondola and were ushered into our places.  The music started, and we walked out in our proper orders.  When I turned to watch my fiance walk towards me, walk towards our life together and all the adventures we would take from then on, I barely held it together.

Wedding - TOS walking away

71 thoughts on “This one time…

  1. But you did hold it together. It was a beautiful day, one of the best I have ever had the privilege of witnessing. Later that evening, your dance with your beautiful bride, it is a memory that I hope will never fade.

    • It went by too quickly. The pictures help. And I wrote down everything I could remember after we got home from the honeymoon, and that is fun to read from time to time. I’m glad you enjoyed it as much as we did. We tried to make it a good day for everyone who made the trek up the mountain.

  2. That is fing awesome. She looks gorgeous. What a way to start your life together! Nicely done.
    But I have a question….the last time we went to Mammoth, I got violently ill and almost was hospitalized. I thought it was altitude sickness or those gases but since I’ve been to that elevation several times since and haven’t been sick and I’ve never gotten AS before, I’m wondering if it WAS the gases. They never had signs all over the mountain when I lived in Mammoth. What do you think?

    • There is no rhyme or reason to altitude sickness. You can go up to the higher elevations 99 times and it could be that 100th time that it hits you. We’ve found that making sure we stay hydrated really helps reduce the acclimation time. But… yes, it could have been the gases too. We don’t often head up Lake Mary road anymore and I haven’t been all the way back to last lake where most of the warning signs are posted in years. If I had to guess, I’d say it was just coincidental rather than caused by either altitude or the gases.

      • Definitely don’t let one bad experience keep you from going again. Drink lots of water and electrolyte replacing stuff while you are driving up there. And we’ve also found that not trying to get on the mountain the day we drive up helps too… I hope you go! The snow they’ve been getting this year has been great – conditions should be epic.

      • I know the snow looks epic!! The last time we did the wrong thing on purpose–I withheld fluids so we wouldn’t have to stop every 2 miles so I could uh-you know. That could have been the whole prob! When we just went hiking in the snow, I hydrated so effectively, it’s a good thing there were many places to stop along the way. We’ll give it a try!!

    • It wasn’t actually that cold. I know everyone sees the snow and says “Oh my gosh! It must have been freezing!” But, it was probably in the 60’s while we were at the top. The excitement of the day probably helped too. Oh, and the champaigne.

  3. Wow! You were lucky! My husband and I were married in an ice storm at sea level in Peeay. THAT was cold in a wedding dress! (And perilous!)

    But what a wonderful, lovely place you chose to be married. 🙂 So beautiful!

      • Well, they’re fun when they’re told from a warm, dry location, anyway!

        Two days of ice and snow; vehicles froze shut during rehearsal. BUT we were married and all is well. And for our honeymoon … a flight to Arizona! 5 degrees at Pittsburgh airport; 68 degrees in Phoenix. Ahh!

  4. What a terrific blog, thanks for sharing your experience and the wonderful photo. A snow wedding is not an Aussies to do list – beach yes, clifftop overlooking ocean yes, sailing on Sydney Harbor yes, you get the picture 🙂 D 34

    • Can’t believe how great a response I got from this post – in one day it became my most liked post ever (aside from my about page)! For as simple as it was, I amazed how many people liked it. I’m glad everyone liked it but just a little surprised too.

    • Who said romance is dead? Not I! You’ve just go to know where to look for it…. Then again, who would have thought to look for it on top of 18 feet of snow at 11,000 feet?!

  5. One of the most beautiful weddings ever! Can’t beat champagne and love at the top of a mountain! Btw, I never got to see the professional pictures! You should share more of them. Or email me.

  6. I loved this. I recently got married myself and never could I imagine how surreal it would feel. It was a beautiful day and I felt more lucky than I could barely contain. Love is such a wonderful thing and the beauty it brings to your life I’ll probably spend my entire life trying to figure out how to describe.

  7. Came over from your link-up at the Journal Jar. What a wonderful story!

    It’s interesting… Cimmy and I were married in the winter, but the weather on scene was rainy (not over Snoqualmie Pass, of course, as it was snowy there, but in Bellevue). You and your wife were married in the spring, but if I understand from the picture right, there was snow where you were!

    • We were standing on top of 18 feet of snow, and it was a pefect blue sky day. The Queen ended up putting a light jacket on for the evening festivities, but for the afternoon ceremony and then the photo shoot/coctail hour at the top of the mountain it was warm enough that the jacket wasn’t needed.

  8. I’m sorry it took me so long to come and look at this. What a beautiful story. Darn it, I’m, weeping. You did this on purpose! Seriously, Matt. Thanks for telling this. I’m glad I took the time to read it. I’m sure you and the Queen are very happy together.

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