Couple says ‘I do’ on top of Gros Morne Mountain

Diane Crocker
Published on August 5, 2014
Adelle and Ryan MacDonald were married atop Gros Morne Mountain last Saturday.
— Photo courtesy of Tom Cochrane

Before a bride and groom say their “I dos,” there’s a lot of planning that takes place, and high on the list is finding a wedding venue.

For Adelle MacDonald (nee Pike), her perfect venue — 806 metres up on the top of Gros Morne Mountain — was first proposed by her then-fiance Ryan MacDonald.

“He kind of just put it out there as a joke,” said Adelle.

At first the pair laughed, but the more Adelle thought of it, it just made sense.

“So all the stars kind of aligned for it,” said Adelle. “It’s beautiful up there, so why not do it?”

And this past Saturday, they did it.

Adelle is from Pasadena and Ryan is from Nova Scotia. The couple, both 25, met while attending Grenfell Campus, Memorial Univeristy of Newfoundland in Corner Brook. They’re both the outdoorsy type and had hiked Gros Morne before.

They had been engaged for about two years before their big day and this past Christmas Adelle got serious with the plans.

Even with planning from a distance in Calgary, where they currently live, there were no bridezilla moments for Adelle.

“I think it was less stressful for me because there were so many variables that I couldn’t change,” she said. Her attitude was if it happens it happens; if it pours down rain, then it pours down rain.

Even co-ordinating the hike to get everyone to the top in time didn’t pose an issue.

Thirty-five family members and friends out of about 100 invitees replied that they were in for the adventure.

Adelle said they were given a time that the wedding party would leave from the base of the mountain and if guests thought they needed more time they were advised to leave earlier. If they thought they needed less time, then they were told to leave later.

The group left at 8:30 a.m. to head up the mountain. The plan had been to get married at the top around 11 a.m., but a few stragglers meant the ceremony didn’t begin until 1:30 p.m.

“It didn’t matter,” Adelle said of the delay. “I knew who was at the back, so then I just waited until I saw them and it was like, ‘OK, let’s go.’”

The delay also gave her a bit more time to prepare — have her hair done, put on her makeup and get into her wedding dress.

Of course, the rest of the wedding party — Ryan; man of honour Chris Nicholson (Adelle said the wedding was already pretty non-traditional in terms of venue, so why not?); bridesmaid Sarah MacDonald, Ryan’s sister; best man Kevin Miller; and groomsman Kevin Pike, Adelle’s brother and “pack mule” (he carried the dress to the top) — also had to get ready.

Adelle’s aunt Paula Walsh, a licensed marriage commissioner, officiated the ceremony with the renowned view of Ten Mile Pond providing the ultimate backdrop.

“It was perfect,” Adelle said, her voice choking with emotion. “It was fantastic.”

At one point during the vows, she turned away to take in the view and appreciate it for a second in a moment just for her. As she did, she thought, yeah, this is a fantastic idea, and turned back around, she said.

With the vows done, the couple proclaimed Mr. and Mrs. and the pictures taken, the party then went back down the mountain.

Adelle wore her dress for part of the trek so the photographer could get some shots, then carried it the rest of the way.

From start to finish, the hike up and down took about 10 hours, with the wedding in between. Once back at the base it was off to the Humber Valley Resort to celebrate, where a few more guests joined the party.

After a whirlwind weekend, Adelle and Ryan headed back to Calgary Tuesday afternoon, where she’s the assistant manager at a recreation facility and Ryan works at an environmental consulting firm.

As she talked about the experience while waiting in the departure area at Deer Lake Regional Airport, she got distracted and started to laugh.

It turned out someone in the boarding area had recognized the couple from wedding photos that have been posted online and approached Ryan to ask, “Is that you?”

“We’re celebrities now, sure,” she said, still laughing.

The MacDonalds have no plans for a honeymoon right now, because, as Adelle said, how could they possibly top the wedding?

But she’s already thinking of celebrating an anniversary on top of Gros Morne.

“To have a bottle of champagne up there.”

The Western Star