Waterfall Wedding in HavasupaiWords by Jennifer Stein
Kristin and Robert met in 1998 on the Havasupai Indian reservation, located on the western end of the Grand Canyon of Northern Arizona. They had ventured to this remote location when they were guests of the television show, Hard Copy. Their experience in this beautiful setting was so amazing that when it came time to plan their wedding, it was their destination of choice.
"I knew I was choosing to create an event that would be memorable, very fun and exciting for our guests. A church wedding with all the pageantry seemed too average and did not express our personalities. Rather than try to make an indoor location beautiful by covering it in flowers, I chose to use God's beauty that is already available."
Havasupai means "People-Of-The-Blue-Green-Waters" and Kristin describes the canyon they call home as one of the most beautiful places in the world. "I knew this would be a perfect destination wedding and event. Four days that our guests would remember for a lifetime and a wedding beyond compare. The beauty and full experience of being in the canyon is something that cannot be bought anywhere else, for any price. The crystal clear blue water, turquoise waterfalls, red rocks, pink, sparkling sand and green cottonwood trees-being in the Havasupai is like going back in time."
Food was purchased in Las Vegas in preparation for the four days that the couple and their guests would spend in the canyon. Havasu Canyon is only accessible by foot, horseback or helicopter and all water and food must be brought in. Kristin and Robert flew thirty guests in helicopters from the Hulapai hilltop to the village, where they hiked to a private campsite. The older guests rode horses around the canyon and stayed in the lodge while the younger people camped in tents along the river. They set up a full outdoor kitchen where they cooked all their meals.
In the days leading up to the wedding, the Havasupai Indians graciously interacted with the wedding guests with campfires, singing songs and playing drums. "Many lessons were learned by our families and they enjoyed the absence of cars, cell phones and noise of all kinds. The Indian children and quiet spoken ways of all the Indians had a profound effect on the minds of our guests."
The couple completed the legal paper work for their marriage two days prior to the Havasupai wedding so the legalities would be out of the way. The bride's spiritual mother performed the wedding in front of the Havasu Falls, a 200 foot turquoise blue water fall. Prior to the nuptials the Indians danced, sang and played drums. During the ceremony several members of the Havasupai tribe participated in the role as the Four Guardians of the Canyon.
Kristin and Robert reflected on their remote destination-wedding weekend, they have no regrets. They also fulfilled their desire to provide a fun, memorable experience for their friends and family. "Many of our guests had never been in a helicopter, and some of the older people were afraid of flying. In spite of that, after their wedding trip everyone wanted to come back for more camping, hiking, campfires, swimming, singing and helicopter rides!"
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