Denver couple gets married on top of a 14er after coronavirus outbreak canceled their wedding

John Meyer, The Denver Post
Mary Ellen Hudson and Tyler Benz of Denver exchange wedding vows shortly after sunrise June 7 on the summit of Grays Peak, elevation 14,300 feet. (Aly Burt, provided by Mary Ellen Hudson)

The bride and groom donned gown and tuxedo minutes after a glorious sunrise on the summit of Grays Peak, high on the Continental Divide at the oh-so-romantic elevation of 14,278 feet.

It was her first fourteener, his second. A violinist in the wedding party of nine began the ceremony by playing the bride’s favorite hymn, “In Christ Alone,” but it was cold up there, so the bride asked her to play just one verse.

They had hiked five hours through the night by the light of a nearly full moon with a clear sky full of stars, not needing to use the headlamps they brought just in case. Mary Ellen Hudson and Tyler Benz exchanged vows while huddling in a rock ring for shelter against the wind. The videographer had hoped to record the ceremony using a drone, but it was too windy.

Originally the couple had planned a September wedding at a charming glamping lodge in Park County, but concerns over the coronavirus and travel restrictions made them decide against it. They decided to “elope” June 7 on one of Colorado’s favorite fourteeners, and it was magical. The rock ring on the summit was “like an altar, almost,” Benz said.

“It was so dreamy,” said Hudson. “It was the dreamiest.”

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