Couple literally ties knot in cave wedding
On the day of my wedding, two years ago this past Monday, I wanted everything to be a certain way. I wouldn’t call myself a ‘bridezilla’ necessarily, but maybe my bridesmaids (and my parents and my in-laws) would.
Nevertheless, my special day was planned meticulously, leaving nothing to chance and it was, though maybe a trifle rigid, exactly the way I wanted it.
All brides should have that choice, since we have usually dreamed about it since we were girls playing with Wedding Barbie and Marriage Ken.
Most brides don’t have to ask their pastor to consider rappelling into an 80-foot cave. However, one recent Harrison County bride did.
Karen Tadsen and Bruce Silvers, both of Fort Wayne, met through a caving group while they were both indulging in their favorite pastime: exploring caves. They began dating, things turned serious and soon they were engaged to be married.
It had always been Bruce’s dream to be married ‘on rope,’ Karen said. Cavers ‘on rope’ are lowered in roped harnesses into vertical pit caves. Karen said they chose the most appropriate place for their wedding ‘ the first vertical pit she had ever caved ‘ an 80-foot deep cave located on the farm of Dale and Nina Rothrock in northwest Harrison County.
Karen didn’t get to choose a dress and didn’t have to worry about her hairstyle for her big day. In fact, she had to pull it back in a ponytail so it wouldn’t get caught in her gear. She did have one key wedding-day staple: a veil.
Despite having a nontraditional wedding, Karen said she wasn’t lucky enough to miss out on pre-wedding jitters.
‘I was nervous as it got closer,’ she said.
On their big day, May 19, Bruce and Karen shuttled about 25 of their closest friends and family to the cave on the Rothrock property.
‘We had to take them up in four-wheel drive,’ Karen said, because the terrain was so rocky.
The guests stood at the top of the cave, along with the pastor, the Rev. Ron Russell of Pekin (formerly of Corydon). After the bride and groom exchanged rings (to avoid dropping them while hanging in the cave), everyone watched as Bruce, wearing black jeans and a tuxedo jacket, and Karen, wearing white pants and a white top, were lowered about 20 feet into the cave.
Despite the unusual circumstances, the Rev. Russell said it wasn’t necessarily the strangest wedding he’s ever performed.
‘It was surprising,’ he said, ‘(and) different.’
But he’s been asked to perform ceremonies wearing full western wear ‘ cowboy hat included ‘ and he once performed a wedding in a barn wearing bibbed overalls and a straw hat.
‘I’ve done the very fancy to the very un-fancy,’ he said.
But one thing remains the same in all the weddings Russell performs: He makes sure the couple is serious about each other and they have a serious commitment to marriage.
With Karen and Bruce, after their pre-marital counseling, Russell said he felt comfortable marrying them, no matter where or how. In fact, having experience with caving himself, he asked if they wanted him to be ‘on rope’ with them. Unfortunately, another obligation later in the day prevented him from doing that, but Russell said the wedding was still memorable.
‘They got married in the most beautiful cathedral ever,’ he said, ‘out in the woods.’
While the Silvers’ wedding may not be one for the throngs of couples marrying this summer, Karen said it was their perfect wedding, despite how others may perceive it.
‘It was so beautiful in the woods,’ she said, ‘and everyone was relaxed. We had a good time.’
As for nagging thoughts about traditional walks down the aisle, Karen said she doesn’t regret her pit cave wedding.
‘Not a bit,’ she said. ‘I’m so glad we did it.’
A wedding, though only one day out of a couple’s life, is still the most important one, the one where they start their lives together as husband and wife. If it’s in a barn or in a cave or with a pastor in full western attire, there’s only one thing that really matters, and Lennon and McCartney said it best: All you need is love.