Colorado couple ties knot in dipnet-themed wedding

Posted: Monday, July 12, 2004

Gene Nuanes and Danielle Smoot each took home a keeper.

Nuanes and Smoot, both of Lakewood, Colo., decided their July trip to Alaska would be the perfect time to go ahead and tie the knot. When they told their friend Ollie Morris of Kenai about the plan, Morris got to work setting up the perfect Alaska-themed wedding.

"Ollie said it's got to be in Kenai," Nuanes said.

Compete with dipnets and wildflowers decorating the bluff, the happy couple got what they were hoping for and a lot more.

"We just expected to come up and say 'I do,'" Smoot said before Saturday's ceremony, which was held at the Beluga Lookout R.V. Park on the high bluff overlooking the Kenai River and Cook Inlet.

What Nuanes and Smoot ended up getting was a wedding about as unique as the annual dipnet fishery that opened on the same day as the unusual wedding.

With hundreds of hip-boot-clad Alaska dipnetters scooping sockeye salmon from the river below, Nuanes and Smoot said their vows with the volcanic crater of Mount Redoubt looming in the background.

As Ollie Morris officiated in front of crossed nets, the two lovebirds gazed into each other's eyes, sharing their happy moment with a few friends, fellow tourists and a couple curious gulls.

Smoot, who was making her first trip to Alaska, said she was amazed at the scenery above, behind and below the wedding location.

"This is such a gorgeous setting," Smoot said.

She said the dipnet wedding will be an occasion that will be with her forever.

"It's just a beautiful experience," she said. "I'll never forget it."

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