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Cardigan Mountain Swedding

Jackie and Andy — Married November 7th, 2020

We called mother nature (even though normally nature calls us) and the conversation went like this: “Hi, we’d like to order up an amazing 60- to 70-degree day topped off by a jaw-dropping sunset.” We added: “For a wedding.” Nature replied: “Sure, when would you like this, and do you want rain with that?” “November 7th, 2020,” we replied, “and, um, NO on the rain.” There was a “hmmm” followed by a long pause — and we’re pretty darn sure we heard laughter in the background — but nature got back on the line, true bewilderment in her voice: “It seems we do have kickass weather scheduled for that weekend. You’re in luck.

The Plan

The couple’s plan was to hike up Mt Cardigan (3156′) in Orange, NH, and to get married in a spot out of the wind within sight of the summit. It was a year ago to the day they got engaged so this was more than fitting. The bride was friends with our JP Mike Cherim on Facebook already so she had mentioned some time ago when the day happened, he’d be the one to officiate. He was happy to oblige. They wanted to hike up the West Ridge. Mike had hiked the mountain a couple of times from the east, leaving the AMC’s Cardigan Lodge, but never went that way and wanted to hike up with the bride and groom to check it out. They decided to meet at the trailhead… whoops, or at the gate. No worries. Call it a warm up (it did, true to form).

TV Called

Everything thing was a go… but then we got the call from New Hampshire Chronicle, WMUR. They were curious about Redline Guiding and particularly our guided and unguided mountain weddings. They wanted to know if we’d be up for an interview. We certainly were. We told them, in fact, that we had a few weddings coming up and proceeded to give them the dates and locations. One of them, we noted, was going to be on Mt Cardigan and it would be more convenient to them.

We Shall Chronicle

They took the information and went in-house to discuss. Some time later they got back to us and said they would really love to shoot the Cardigan wedding. We told them we’d talk to the bride and groom and see how they felt about it. Some, you see, will prefer the intimacy/privacy, while others are more gregarious. It’s subjective, it’s personal, and it’s all good. This couple, as it turned out, wanted to share with the world and opted to invite WMUR along for the hike and the service. It’d be fun. Another memento, so to speak. So they did.

Trail Time

The trail was lovely, albeit muddy in spots. But that didn’t deter the bride who seemed to love it. She hiked up in her poofy white wedding dress carrying a pack with at least 10 non-essentials (unless you count various wedding accoutrements as essentials). The dress started to unravel and got muddy on the fringes of the train, complete with pesky sticks and leaves hitching a ride. The bride giggled. She was clearly having a delightful time being part of this massive juxtaposition. For those reading this, shocked and dismayed, relax, she didn’t spend a lot on the dress. Breathe.

Good Times Enroute

The crowds weren’t too bad there. And everyone they did meet was overjoyed by the presence of the couple taking in their hike to the altar. Some folks were concerned their dog would ruin the bride’s dress, not looking at it too closely. Twice the groom joked that they shouldn’t worry as the last dog had already peed on it. All in good humor, of course. Everyone would laugh.

The Happening

It was a warm hike, hence the title — something Mike and the groom coined and laughed about as they sweated on the road walk. It didn’t take long, after the interviews and putting in some hike time everyone was at the spot near the summit. There Mike quickly changed into business casual attire: slacks, shirt, and a nice belt and tie. The ceremony followed. All parties in place, license in hand. Mike started the ceremony, the couple saying their “I DOs,” which he approved of, then prompted the couple to recite their vows to each other. This was emotional time, and truly from the heart. After that the couple exchanged rings. And then it was official. You know, you’re husband and wife… you may kiss.

And in the End

Nature delivered. The weather was perfect, no cold November rain for this couple. The breezes, and all the awesomeness followed by a sunset to die for. We know there are wildfires out west, but on this evening, it looked like those flames had made it to the east coast and were closing in on us. Red sky at night is a sailor’s delight, but this was otherworldly. No doubt just nature’s gift to the couple. Not only did she deliver, she really went all out to make it special for this special pair.

And Now the Equivalent of 21,000 Words…

We didn’t plan on the road walk, but everyone was early anyway so we stayed right on schedule. The wedding was to begin at 4:15pm.

After walking to the actual trailhead, the bride and groom sat down for an interview with Sean McDonald, WMUR.

WMUR was there for NH Chronicle, curious about Redline Guiding and the whole mountain wedding thing.

Accoutrements packed, interview done, everyone starts up the trail.

The bride swept the trail for us.

With 4WD (four-wheel-dress), navigating the mud pits was easy.

The action kept on the whole hike up. Now we know why it’s called “Chronicle.”

We see you smiling behind that mask, Sean. :()

The groom helped in spots, but they never intended for the dress to stay clean.

West Ridge Trail… lovely and well featured.

By the look, we’re guessing this is one of the best days of her life.

Wow, so nice. Great lighting.

The breeze feels awesome. What an incredible evening.

Everyone begins to assemble. The wedding location is nearby, a nook out of the wind with a view of the sunset.

During their personal vows to each other.

A beautiful, emotional time.

From the heart.

And then, boom, they’re married. Congratulations!

Mike runs, then jogs, then fast walks his way up to the tower to 1) summit and 2) retrieve a wedding gift left by someone that morning.

This is just a taste of how incredible the sunset was going to be overall. “Red sky at night, everyone’s delight.”


Congratulations Jackie and Andy. This is the start of something magical. Can you feel it?

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