On Tuesday, July 14th, Hilary and I woke up early at the Mayor’s Mansion Inn in Chattanooga. It’s a quaint old place—beautiful…moody lighting…strange paintings…friendly staff.
We were a bit giddy…excited and happy and ready for the day. After breakfast, we got ready…ironed and gathered things and dressed.
Hilary looked amazing in her green and yellow Etsy-designed dress.
Since I had accidentally left my suit in a Super 8 Motel in Flagstaff, I was just going to wear a white shirt and jeans. I was disappointed, but really, it was a good thing. It reminded us that those things weren’t important. What we are doing together…how we feel about each other…THAT was the point of this whole thing.
We were rushed, but smiling as we made our way down the staircase—only to find that my suit had arrived from Flagstaff via FedEx Overnight! (Thanks Super 8!)
From the inn, we drove a short distance up to Lookout Mountain, near the great Smoky Mountain National Park. It’s a beautiful, deep green, foresty place. That kind of dripping, dense, Southern Green that you have to see to really appreciate.
The weather that morning was a welcome respite from the normal steam July heat.
Our specific destination was Rock City Gardens, a sort of tourist attraction that features these unreal rock formations with colorful gardens growing in and around every corner and crevice. Go to www.seerockcity.com to take a look.
Hilary and I had decided to have our ceremony on the edge of a cliff—a little spot called Lover’s Leap. It seemed totally appropriate.
When we arrived, we were greeted by our officiant Callie Cronon and some representatives from the local media! The folks at Rock City gave us the royal treatment (thanks to Becky, Jeff and Travis!)
The ceremony at Lover’s Leap was sort of simple…and perfect.
Lovers and Friends.
Everything and Forever.
There was crying and smiling and a quiet, gentle breeze.
Our rings are white gold bands. I fiddle with mine a lot and I love the feel of it.
After the ceremony, we walked the entire “Enchanted Trail”—a pathway in and around all of Rock City. Massive granite walls. Crystal-lined caves. Panoramic views. (Below is "Rainbow Hall".)
Our favorite was the curious “Fairyland Caverns”—an underground passageway you enter after passing through the “Hall of Mountain Kings”. Throughout the caverns, there are little niches, filled with sculptures depicting famous fairy tales, all lit with black light. The effect is eerie and hilarious.
In the end, we drove off in Hilary’s fiesta, now festooned with paper ruffles and bells and a flag that said “Just Married”.
On the drive back down the hill, all of the decorations flew off.
Once again, we didn’t care in the least.
Later that day, we went hang-gliding - more on that soon.