Couple says ‘I do’ on top of Gros Morne

Diane Crocker
Published on August 6, 2014

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 fiancé 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 and friends out of about 100 invitees replied that they were in for the adventure. So Adelle said they were given a time the wedding party would be leaving 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 actually begin until 1:30 p.m.

“It didn’t matter,” said Adelle 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.’”

Plus the delay 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,” said Adelle her voice choking with emotion. “It was fantastic.”

At one point during the vows she turned away to take in the view and kind of 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.

With the vows done, the couple proclaimed Mr. and Mrs. and the pictures taken, it was then 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 he works at an environmental consulting firm.

As she talks about the experience while waiting in the departure area at Deer Lake Regional Airport, she gets distracted and starts to laugh.

Turns out someone in the boarding area has 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 MacDonald’s 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 back on top of Gros Morne.

“To have a bottle of champagne up there.”