TABERNASH - It's one thing to be a bridesmaid more than two dozen times - as in the 2008 movie "27 Dresses" - but a bride that many times?
Bride Lisa Gant, 30, stood in front of her groom Alex Pelling, 32, both of England, for the 25th time during a wedding ceremony at Devil's Thumb Ranch on the notable date of 10-11-12.
Matt Raynak, of Granby, officiated as the couple exchanged "I dos" after they'd ziplined to a clearing in the field with a backdrop of the Continental Divide.
Their wedding in Grand County would be the only one in Colorado during their USA tour, having held ceremonies already at various places across South America, Central America, Mexico, and Canada, with still others planned on their itinerary.
The idea to repeatedly exchange vows, searching out the most unique settings they can find across the globe, was spurred one night over wine, they say on their website 2People1Life.com.
Engaged to be married and self-proclaimed romantics, they searched online for a "unique" wedding experience, but were unimpressed with the internet offerings, they say. So in 2011, they decided to sell everything they own including Pelling's car body repair shop, purchase a 24-year-old van they named "Peggy," and embark on a traveling adventure of a lifetime, visiting places to scope out for themselves - and for others - the most unique wedding venues.
Their wedding ceremonies embrace the cultures and traditions of the places they are visiting, and along their journeys the couple blogs about their adventures. Usually they contact wedding photographers in regions to find out the most unique wedding locations. Once there, they are put in touch with wedding officiates, floral vendors and others who volunteer services for the chance to be recommended on their website and in their blog.
Already, the couple has garnered 13,936 likes on Facebook with fans following their travels, has made appearances on the Ellen DeGeneres Show and the Today Show here in the States, had a ceremony officiated by Martha Stewart in New York City after their trip to Colorado, has attracted the world's most talented photographers for the chance to shoot their weddings, has appeared on Ten Adelaide News in Australia and in several publications in Spanish and Portuguese.
To them, their journey has become more than weddings. It's a chance to meet incredible people along the way and to nurture their own relationship.
From "Saskatoon Pie" eaten in Saskatchewan, a sky filled with butterflies in Mexico, an encounter with wild pigs in Belize, to Peggy's radiator leak in Peru and Gant's botched haircut in Santiago, Chile, the couple's blog is full of detail about the challenges and fascinating moments of their travels.
The couple also has set up a wedding "registry" on Zankyou - www.thirtyweddings.com/us/wedding-list - where individuals can contribute to UNICEF.
If not in traditional wedding garb as a reflection of where the couple happens to be, Gant has worn the same white dress. But in Colorado, Gant was treated to a couture gown on loan from designer Marie Margot of Denver.
"The gown I wore in Colorado from Marie Margot was stunning," she said during an email exchange on Thursday.
Brit Stewart Weddings of Denver coordinated the wedding and suppliers, selecting Devil's Thumb for its "classic, western Rocky Mountain" character, according to Holly Johnson, the Ranch's spokesperson. Devil's Thumb supplied the venue, the zipline ride, the lodging and the wedding cake and toast.
When officiate Raynak (of rockymountainweddingservices.com, who has conducted about 50 weddings in the county) was called to lead the ceremony, he thought his twin sisters were playing another practical joke on him, he said. A couple getting married for the 25th time? Really? He called Devil's Thumb to make sure the wedding was for real.
It turned out, it was a couple for whom "I loved to be a part of their wedding, regardless of how their wedding was put together," he said. "They are really nice people."
Gant, who worked in retail management before starting out on this self-funded journey, said Devil's Thumb rated high on their list of wedding places.
"I felt like a fairy tale princess in a fairytale land at Devil's Thumb Ranch," she said via email with the Sky-Hi News. "What a stunning place! We relaxed the moment we walked in and were absolutely sucked in by the crisp clean air, the wood smell of the ranch and the fabulous scenery. We look forward to all of our weddings, but this one spoke to us long before we arrived. A simply stunning outdoor wedding is the kind of wedding we would choose should we only have one wedding, and Devil's Thumb turned out to be our perfect place. We would love to return someday ... maybe even for our 'real' wedding!"
Although they've been through countless wedding ceremonies, the couple is technically not married yet.
They've never signed a marriage license and are reserving their "real" wedding to be witnessed by close family and friends in the fall of 2014 - at their "favorite" spot - yet to be determined.
And do they get tired of saying "I Do?"
"We never get tired of saying I do; in fact, the complete opposite," Gant said. "We still get nervous every time, and Alex seems to be getting worse with tears and emotional breakouts at each ceremony. We think the ceremonies are becoming more involved and reflective of our huge trip, our 'marriage' and our commitment to one another. It is an amazing feeling every time."
- Tonya Bina can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19603.