Kristina Folcik & Ryan Welts
Kristina and Ryan exchanged their vows on at the top of Crawford Notch.
Imagine getting a wedding invitation that says the ceremony will take place on the top of a mountain in New Hampshire’s North Country, and you have to hike three miles to get there and back, sometimes on rugged terrain, in the heat of an August day. Plus, the ceremony starts at 8 a.m.
So, are you going? That was the question the invited guests for the wedding of Kristina Folcik and Ryan Welts had to ask themselves. Amazingly, many said yes. Some — mostly people not fit enough for the climb — said no.
“The ones who couldn’t come to the ceremony came to the reception,” Katrina says.
Ah, yes, the reception. That was an hour and a half drive from the ceremony site, which was on Mount Willard in Crawford Notch. But no matter, people understood that the mountaintop ceremony was Kristina and Ryan’s dream wedding. “Allow yourself to have the wedding you dream of,” Kristina says. “In the end most of your guests will have had a great time and you won’t have any regrets.”
Kristina and Ryan both wore running shoes, a demonstration of their shared passion for the sport. Both elite competitors (they do 100-mile races!), they met four years ago — at a race. They got engaged on the Wapack Trail — at a race. “I crossed the finish line with a new women’s course record and Ryan proposed to me right there,” says Kristina.
They do a lot of running and hiking through the mountains, so it was a natural to pick a spot there. They enlisted Jay Philbrick, a wedding photographer well known for his mountaintop (and cliffside) photography. He wanted the morning light so the time was set for 8.
That meant Kristina had to have her hair done at 4 a.m. so she could be at the trailhead at 6 for the climb. She arrived all dressed for the ceremony. To keep her gown clean during her hike up the trail, she put her legs through holes cut in a piece of pink mesh and gathered the gown up in it. Ryan changed on the mountain. Ryan’s running shoes matched his tux; Kristina’s matched her bouquet.
They were married on the edge of a cliff (“we’re used to that”), the sun shining despite the threat of rain, her friends and family looking on. Kristina says, “It couldn’t have been more perfect.”
Where they got engaged: At a Wapack 50-mile trail race The wedding day in a word: Perfect! Favorite ceremony moment: Seeing our family and friends on top of the mountain wearing bright clothes and huge smiles Biggest surprise: The guests! I forgot to put a place on the reply card for the guests to write their name. We knew how many were coming and what they wanted to eat, but we didn’t know who they were! Piece of advice: Don’t be afraid to have a non-traditional wedding. If you could do it all over again … We would have a caterer. Honeymoon: A three-week trip to trail races in Colorado and Virginia Where they live: Northwood, NH Occupations: Kristina, dental hygienist, sponsored ultrarunner and running coach; Ryan, business owner and sponsored ultrarunner
Wedding date: August 11, 2013
Photographer: Philbrick Photography
Reception: At home
Flowers:The Eclectic Florist
Hair: Halos Hair Salon
Rentals: Taylor Rental
Cake: Kristina, her mother and Miriam Wilcox
Cake toppings: Chandler Cakes