Kimberly & Thor’s hiking adventure on a cliff at sunset

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The Offbeat Bride: Kimberly, Nature Center Support Staff

Her offbeat partner: Thor, Geologist

Date and location of wedding: Red River Gorge Retreats, The Big House, Slade, Kentucky — August 25, 2013

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Our friends and family were ready to help us begin our marriage in a way that would be important and meaningful to us. We are both avid hikers and love being outside. We were pleasantly surprised that our families and friends were so willing to hike over a mile and half so we could have a spectacular backdrop for our vows. We found a trail in the Red River Gorge that was off the beaten path. Dubbed our “secret trail,” we took a video of us hiking it a couple months before so everyone would see what they'd be getting into. Everyone was up for the challenge and we got to enjoy everyone doing something we love.

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Photos convey so much and yet we wanted to preserve our memories in a different way. We found a wonderful videographer and friend in Eric of Darringer Productions. We showed him our inspiration for a hiking wedding by sending him to this Offbeat Bride post. He in turn created a wedding highlight video that blew us away:

We returned home and had a picnic-in-the-park wedding reception for our extended family and friends. With lots of finger foods and lawn games, it was the perfect way to hang out and celebrate the joining of our two families. Better still, this park is one of our favorites and we frequently enjoy the trails and visit “our lodge.”

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Tell us about the ceremony:
Thor's grandpa, who everyone affectionately calls “Pa,” performed our wedding ceremony. We asked him to include some advice on how to have a successful marriage since he was happily married for 50+ years. When it got to this part, there wasn't a dry eye in the house. It was so amazing to have someone who is so important to us help us start the next chapter of our lives together.

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Here is an excerpt from our ceremony:

Do you vow to love what you know of each other and trust in what you do not? Do you vow to give strength when the other falters and take joy in every little moment? Do you vow to embrace every part of one another for every day to come?

Together you must challenge each other to live these vows day in and day out. What you're promising each other today must be renewed and practiced again tomorrow and every tomorrow for the remainder of your days together.

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My favorite moment:
The morning of the wedding, Thor and my mother-in-law cooked everyone a hearty pancake breakfast to start the day. My best friends helped hang balloons, streamers, and various decorations. I was blown away by the creativity and how they transformed the common areas.

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One of my best friends surprised me when she made a bouquet for me combined with flowers from the local grocery store and wildflowers from around the cabin. I was so touched that made something so special.

I had completely forgotten about the old adage, “Something borrowed, something blue,” and hadn't planned anything specific for this. A close family friend gave me a blue dragonfly pin that had been my mother's, and another lent me a hair clip she had worn at her own wedding, and suddenly I had all the things I needed for this tradition!

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My dad and I are close, and exploring nature has always been a big part of our lives. The day before the wedding my dad and Thor went and did what they called “trail maintenance.” They walked the trail and trimmed branches that hung over it so no one would get caught on them the next day. It was such a sweet and thoughtful gesture from a man who always jokes that he has one emotion.

This one emotion was apparent when we had a couple minutes alone before walking the remainder of the trail. I had bought him a handkerchief that said, “Of all the hikes we've ever taken this one is my favorite.” He really loved it and it was an important moment for us. He then put the veil over my face and I was ready to meet my husband! Who says there can't be some tradition while you're wearing hiking boots on a dirt packed trail?

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My funniest moment:
We had planned to exchange rings and do a small water combination during the ceremony. However, in all the excitement to start hiking and make sure we still had enough daylight, we forgot the basket back at the cabin! When it came time to exchange the rings, all we could do was laugh.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

Comments on Kimberly & Thor’s hiking adventure on a cliff at sunset

  1. This wedding is no doubt the coolest, most adventurous wedding I’ve ever shot. With the SWEETEST couple! Thanks K+T for having me and thanks Offbeat Bride for sharing their amazing day!

  2. I was on board as soon as I saw that the groom’s name was “Thor.” It only went uphill from there. Congratulations to the happy couple!

  3. Wow this is such a beautiful wedding! I sat in frozen silence during that video!
    And it’s all the more exciting because my fella and I are moving to Kentucky in a couple of months so I’m excited to see the weddings that come from there! 🙂 Congratulations you two!

  4. I was just browsing through the outdoor weddings tag and had a little deja-vu moment when I found this – one of my best friends had a wedding in the Red River Gorge last spring, and it was the most beautiful ceremony I think I’ve ever attended. I actually thought for a minute that it was the exact location where you had yours, but I compared my pictures and I think it’s a different (but really similar looking) location.
    I’ve honestly been secretly a little jealous ever since that wedding, because a ceremony like this one is exactly what I want someday, and my friend got to do it first! Seriously though, having just a handful of friends and family hike out to a beautiful place like this made the ceremony so personal and meaningful. Can’t wait to do something similar one day!

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