Real Wild Bear Walks into a Wedding in Colorado!
Wild Bear Crashes Colorado Wedding, sounds like the beginning of a strange story doesn’t it? Well, I have the craziest story (with pictures, because without them it didn’t happen right?) about a wild bear crashing a Colorado wedding that I photographed. Saturday’s wedding is definitely going down in my personal history book as one of the most exciting and terrifying celebrations I’ve photographed. I’ve never worried about bears at weddings in Colorado before but I’ll certainly always wonder what kind of wildlife will decide to join a wedding celebration from here on out!
The wedding day started off normal enough. Shannon and Chris prepped separately at the Comfort Suites off of I-70 and Evergreen Parkway and then headed over to the Pines at Genesee where the wedding celebrations would take place. It was a nice laid back day leading up to the ceremony which took place at the downhill Aspen Wedding Terrace. If you’ve ever been to the Pines at Genesee you know that on this particular terrace the entire crowd sits in chairs that are facing downhill. The bride’s sister was in the middle of her reading when suddenly Sarah (the wedding planner) shouted “Everyone stop!” For a brief second I thought that perhaps this was some sort of pre-planned prank the bride and groom had forgotten to let me in on. But then Sarah continued with “There’s a bear!”
All of us turned to look behind her and sure enough a somewhat small black bear was casually making his way down the hill right toward the ceremony. All of you bear enthusiasts out there should know that where there is a baby bear a large and protective Mama bear is probably not too far off. I was hoping that this was a teenager bear that had recently been out on his own with no mother around to protect him. At first we all froze. We were in a big crowd and no one wanted to start running and attract the attention to them. Of course I started photographing him.
At first he just wandered off to the side of the ceremony and looked at us. Then he decided to meander over to the back area of the ceremony to inspect a stroller (thankfully there were no sleeping babies in it!) and for a split second I about had a heart attack thinking he was going to walk down the aisle! But then he turned and walked back over to the side of the ceremony to see what the musicians were up to. They wisely and calmly stood up and walked away from the bear. My poor assistant Erica was seated right in front of the musicians and was practically sitting in the lap of the guest next to her to get some distance from the bear.
At this point we all realized that the bear seemed like he wanted to stay and hang out for the rest of the celebration so we all started cheering and clapping our hands to make some noise. This seemed to do the trick. He got spooked and ran over to a tree about 20-30 ft. away where he stood up on his hind legs to inspect the scene one last time before deciding to head off into the woods. After a few minutes of excited chatter and relief the ceremony finished without a hitch.
Later I heard that at the rehearsal dinner Shannon had mentioned that she wanted to see a bear on her wedding day. Hey Shannon, when you read this post, can you please say the following out loud? “I would like April O’Hare to win the lottery!” 🙂
The rest of the wedding was a huge success. They had friends and relatives from all over the place including Georgia, Minnesota, and a ton of Chris’s family from South Africa came to Colorado to celebrate as well. This was really special since they so hardly get to see each other and it’s one of those things about weddings that I just love. Chris and Shannon are so in love and are totally best friends which I think you can tell by looking at the photos of them together. They laugh so easily with each other and I love to see that in a couple.
Shannon and Chris,
It was my pleasure to photograph your wedding day. And what an exciting day it was! It’ll obviously go down in your family lore. I wish you all the best and we’ll be in touch:)
I’ll share the bear photos first!
Haha, I love Chris’s worried expression.
One of my favorites:)
Head over to the WEDDINGS area of my site to find more information about getting your own wedding photographed!
And I’ll keep my fingers crossed that “A Wild Bear Crashes Colorado Wedding” never becomes the headline of your wedding!