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Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney
#45425 03/13/16 05:09 PM
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Hi!

My partner and I are hoping to get married on top of Mt Whitney next summer (2017) and then hike the JMT for our honeymoon. We are Canadian though and none of our friends/family are really big into hiking, so we are not too hopeful we can talk anyone we know into joining us as an officiant.

We were wondering if there are any hikers out there who are also able to officiate weddings (or willing to do what sounds like a fairly quick and easy online process to get "ordained") and who might be available/willing to hike up with us and perform our ceremony sometime in August 2017. Obviously we would pay you for your time and energy - not sure what the going rate would be for that kind of thing, we would be open to negotiation.

This probably sounds like a weird request, but I wasn't having much luck looking in the reverse direction (for established officiants willing to hike up a big mountain.) smile

Thanks!

Jennifer

Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney
Kllrsqrls #45427 03/13/16 05:44 PM
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Congratulations and best wishes, Jennifer!

In California, I believe anyone can officiate a wedding. They just need to go to the clerk of the county where you are marrying, and do some paperwork. And of course they need to be responsible enough to file the paperwork once they return from the mountain. Telephoning the clerk of the county would help with this info.

Now it is an interesting question, what county is the Whitney Summit in? The crest of the Sierra is right at Mt Whitney, and that crest is also the border between Tulare County and Inyo County. Of course, I'd say setting up the paperwork in Inyo County would be best, since the county offices for Inyo County are in Independence, just up the road from Lone Pine.

By the way, another member here was married at Whitney Portal by mountain guide Kurt Wedberg. Getting married there might be much easier. You might even talk some of your non-hiking friends into attending.

Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney
Kllrsqrls #45428 03/13/16 06:01 PM
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Here are the California regulations for marriage:

http://www.cdph.ca.gov/certlic/birthdeathmar/pages/marriagelicenseinformation.aspx

These regs. apply to every county in California.

Do you require an officially "ordained" minister or another person licensed in the State of California to officiate at marriages?

Depending on who agrees to do this for you, if they are ordained Christian clergy, they might ask if you are gay or straight. Many Christian clergy will not perform a marriage ceremony for gay people. It probably doesn't matter one way or the other for a non-clergy officiate.

You need to understand that the Christian view of marriage is that the couple marry themselves, the officiate is there as the witness for their church and/or the State. A priest or minister can explain this more thoroughly for you.

You might google the yellow pages for local Inyo County churches and contact those clergy directly: Lone Pine, Big Pine, Bishop, or Mammoth Lakes.

Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney
Steve C #45429 03/13/16 06:09 PM
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IF the couple stands just to the east of the summit benchmark, they are in Inyo County. At the same time, there does not have to be any ceremony, and the location of the signing of the paerwork is what will contril legally, only the signing of the papers, which could be done at Trail Camp.


Wherever you go, there you are.
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Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney
Kllrsqrls #45431 03/14/16 05:54 AM
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Thanks all for your replies!

Steve C - yes, I think I had read that it was pretty easy to get licensed to officiate weddings in California, and that it might even be possible to do online, although I guess the paperwork for the marriage certificate itself would have to be picked up at the county office, so we'd probably have to do that ourselves along the way at some point, or maybe ask if they can send it out to us in advance.

Bob West - We are not religious and we don't need/want an ordained clergyman, just someone with the legal authority to witness our vows and sign off on the marriage license with us. We are a pretty traditional heterosexual couple anyways - thanks for the heads up though and the suggestions for contact info.

saltydog - Yes, I think we were just wanting someone basically to witness us say our vows - and we were kind of envisioning doing it at the top of a mountain for some reason smile Maybe not entirely realistic given the logistical issues.

Thanks for the congrats as well - we have been engaged for many years now, but since we have not been in a major rush, we have been holding out to find the perfect place to do it. Thanks for the links as well, very helpful info to have.

Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney
Kllrsqrls #45433 03/14/16 09:27 AM
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Hi Jennifer,

Do not be dismayed if you do not get a lot of interest immediately. While I admire anyone who maintains an 18 month planning horizon I doubt many members of the Whitney Zone can see that far out.

I attended high school in Ottawa (lived there for two years), and have a warm spot in my heart for all things "Canadian". If you were planning on 2016 I would be happy to take on the duty of "officiate" (barring unforeseen events), but for August of 2017 I have not a clue as to what I will be doing, or even where I will be, so it would be premature to suggest that I could be available.

In any case, Congratulations!

Regards,

John

Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney
John Sims #45435 03/14/16 04:34 PM
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Thanks John smile

Ottawa is a very nice city! I have visited there a few times and everyone I know who lives there or has lived there loves it. Tons of snow in the winter!

Unfortunately we missed the cut off to apply for the permit lottery this year, which is why we are planning so ridiculously far out - I appreciate the kind offer for 2016, maybe we will luck out for 2017 and you will happen to be in the neighbourhood at the right time. I guess I just wanted to gauge how outlandish the idea would seem before making it a more concrete plan in my head - you're right, no doubt we will have to check back in much closer to the date. Thanks for the advice and all the best!

Jennifer

Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney
Kllrsqrls #45436 03/14/16 05:25 PM
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Ummm.... Jennifer.... The Whitney lottery entry deadline is tomorrow at midnight Eastern Daylight Time. So you aren't too late to get into this year's lottery.

Also, you have come to the right place... There are ways to get permits, even if you don't score one in the lottery. This is the place to learn how.

I know this is a very short notice for such a monumental decision, but I certainly want you to know that you have more options.

Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney
Steve C #45437 03/14/16 06:09 PM
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Also there is more than one way to get to the summit of Whitney. One more day in the lottery, and lots of permit avaialbilty from other trailheads that do not depend on the lottery.


Wherever you go, there you are.
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Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney
saltydog #45438 03/14/16 07:00 PM
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Wow Steve C and saltydog, I did not realize it was still open - we had already ruled out a major trip this year for other reasons but our circumstances have since changed. So maybe we will see if we can make it work and apply by tomorrow night - thanks a lot for the heads up!

We are kind of set on doing the whole JMT at the same time, so I will have to look more into the logistics of that tomorrow too - wow, I'm really glad I joined this forum and made my weird request, and got help from all you nice people, thank you smile

Jennifer

Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney
Kllrsqrls #45441 03/14/16 11:44 PM
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Glad you joined, too. Too many people depend on that other big social media place that starts with F and ends with k grin

Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney
Steve C #45443 03/15/16 12:07 AM
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Steve, are you OK with posts about outdoor activities other than hiking Mt Whitney on this site?

I sometimes wonder about that. I've seen various trip reports from other places and posted a few myself.

Any restrictions or guidelines on this?

Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney
RenoFrank #45447 03/15/16 04:35 PM
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Outdoor activities, ....like.... weddings? Of course it's ok! And then, anything that might be of interest to hikers is ok, too.

In fact, "The Chat Room" forum's description reads:
Off topic chatter, silly jokes, etc. are welcome.

About the only thing we don't want here is spam: ads for completely unrelated goods and services, or text full of links to completely unrelated websites.

Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney
Steve C #45450 03/16/16 12:01 PM
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...anything that might be of interest to hikers is ok, too.

Good to know. I figured the post about the wedding atop Whitney was relevant. I wasn't sure how you felt about trip reports form other areas. And questions about the JMT.

Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney
RenoFrank #45456 03/17/16 07:35 AM
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Thanks RenoFrank and Steve C!

I will definitely try not to go too off-topic about other trails and activities! I hope I didn't go out of bounds mentioning the JMT, just wanted to provide a context for our wedding "plans"/ideas as they relate to Mt. Whitney.

What I realized after doing more reading online is that my fiance and I would find the Mt. Whitney ascent really really tough, maybe impossible, to do at the beginning of a hiking trip, without enough time to acclimatize, since we live at sea level. So, we are thinking now we will try to do some kind of longer hiking trip first in the general area and then do a side trip to Mount Whitney Portal and try to get a walk-in permit, or go in through one of the alternate trailheads you guys mentioned.

I will probably check back here once our plans are more developed to see if anyone might be planning a climb around the same time.

Thanks again to all for your replies and a advice!

Jennifer

Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney
Kllrsqrls #45457 03/17/16 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted By: Kllrsqrls


I will definitely try not to go too off-topic about other trails and activities! I hope I didn't go out of bounds mentioning the JMT, just wanted to provide a context for our wedding "plans"/ideas as they relate to Mt. Whitney.


Jennifer (and Steve), please don't misunderstand me. I welcome posts on "other trails" (of course including the JMT) and activities. I just wanted approval from this site's administrator. Most of us have many interests apart from Mt Whitney. I enjoy learning from others' experiences and appreciate the wealth of knowledge shared here.

Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney
RenoFrank #45458 03/17/16 08:22 AM
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Thanks RenoFrank - I am interested in others' experiences too, especially wrt other trails in the area, and I guess they are all intertwined to some extent and hard to discuss completely separately -

Related to that, I just read through the thread on Trip Planning and saw some of the ideas for alternate access points to Mt. Whitney -

While looking for alternatives to JMT, I saw that someone suggested a 150-mile loop that both starts and ends at Road's End in King's Canyon, that overlaps the JMT for part of the trip. Would it be the case that we could climb Mt. Whitney as a kind of side trip to this loop without any extra permits required, if we got an entry permit for Copper Creek and an exit permit for Bubb's Creek (both trailheads right at Road's End)? We wouldn't be going through the Whitney Portal at all in that case...

Thanks!

Jennifer

Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney
Kllrsqrls #45459 03/17/16 08:32 AM
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Yes: you can climb Whitney from the West on any Road's End entry permit, without any other permit, and without dealing with INyo in any way.


Wherever you go, there you are.
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Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney
saltydog #45461 03/17/16 08:56 AM
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...but of course Sequoia and Kings National Parks (they operate as one) have their own permit reservation system that you have to learn and navigate.

The eastside (all the Inyo N.F.) trailheads climb quickly, while the westside (Sequoia/Kings N.P.) are longer and more gradual, but they eventually get to the crest, too.

But Jennifer, most of us live nearly at sea level (I'm at 300'), so you really aren't in a different situation than most. The ticket to acclimatizing is to find a high spot (I always suggest Horseshoe Meadows at 10k), and spend two nights. After that, most people are good to go.


Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney
saltydog #45462 03/17/16 08:57 AM
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Thanks saltydog, that is awesome! That might work out perfectly for us then, and we would have much more control over the dates since it seems like it is pretty easy to get permits from Road's End. Plus we'd get a chance to acclimate before we attempted Whitney, and also will have lighter packs than we would if we started a long trek from there.

We'd just have to convince a kind and trusting soul to meet us up there, possibly coming from another direction.. smile Might be hard to coordinate a meet-up precisely - we would probably have to try to find someone who was planning to hike up on the same day already to make it realistic. Or, ask(bribe) a random stranger on the top to do the 5-min online process to get ordained right on the spot (I think I read there is some cell phone coverage up there?) smile

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