|Photos by Heidi Stutes Photography|
I’ll be honest: Ever since we posted about what is known around these parts simply as “The Wedding” (you know the one in the river on Kodiak Island in the AK) our curiosity was getting the best of us. Luke and I would talk about this couple and their awesome choice to tie the knot and then tie up some actual knots and fish from the actual stream in which they where wed. As our admiration grew, we knew they deserved more press and Luke had the incredible idea to do a follow up post.
I waited, not wanting to interrupt Kadie and Dake too quickly after their union. I might have been nervous too; after all why would they want to indulge our curiosity and questioning? But the questions nagged me. . . and so did Luke. Not wanting his great idea to be forgotten he continued to ask me if I contacted Kadie and Dake. . . like all of Luke’s greatest ideas it was up to me to get the job done. I pounded some of the random questions that were rolling through my grey matter out into an email full of typos and clicked send. I was amazed to hear back from Kadie so quickly and even more amazed by Kadie and Dake’s answers. What follows is purely awesome and Kadie and Dake have earned the title: Coolest Fly Fishing Couple Known to the CRO. Enjoy.
So how did you guys meet?
We met at the Buskin River Inn, which is now the Comfort Inn (located on the bank of the Buskin River). Kadie was working at the front desk and Dake walked in to apply for a job in the kitchen, which he got. It was instant attraction.
Who came up with the idea first to get married in a stream, with fly rods?
Kadie came up with the idea to get married in the river saying that she’d had it in her head that way for a couple of years. Dake says he came up with the fly rod part, but Kadie doesn’t remember it that way…
Does this stream hold any special place in your hearts (obviously before you were wed in it)?
Yes, the Buskin River does hold a special place in our hearts. As I mentioned above, we met and worked together at the Buskin River Inn, which was less than a half mile upstream from where we were actually married. We chose this specific location because of the view of Barometer Mountain and the way the trees would frame out the pictures. Dake is also a photographer so these sorts of things are not only on our radar, but in the forefront of our minds while planning the wedding.
How did it go? Any issues pulling it off? Any slips?
The wedding itself went very smoothly! I guess you could say that the weather was our only issue…which worked itself out minutes before the ceremony. We ended up having our videographer (who was written into the ceremony) and a groomsman weathered out of Kodiak, stuck in Anchorage for a couple of days. They never did make it in, so we had to find a last minute stand-in groomsman and someone to fill the part of King/ring-bearer. Our stand-ins did an excellent job!! As far as the ceremony goes, there were plenty of things that could have gone wrong, but thankfully it all worked out amazingly!! Even right up until the morning of the wedding we were so worried that we weren’t going to be able to have the wedding where and how we had originally wanted it. The fog was on the ground, literally and it was raining and windy. We didn’t want our bridesmaids to look like drowned rats. The previous couple of days were horrible, we were in the middle of a storm. But about an hour or two before the ceremony the rain slowly stopped so that we could have our photos taken outside and literally just seconds before we walked into the river the sun came out and shone on us for the entire ceremony. Later in the evening at the reception I remember it being cloudy and increasingly windy and even rainy again. It was amazing!
How did you convince all of your people and the preacher especially to throw on hip boots/waders for the wedding?
Well all of our friends know us and know that we do this for a living and well, that we’re just a little different. I don’t think that they were really that surprised by it.
The preacher wasn’t really a preacher either…he was one of Dake’s good fishing buddies whom he had met while doing an egg-take with the Pillar Creek Fish Hatchery several years back. You see, in Alaska there are so many remote villages and towns that don’t even have a preacher in it so there is a law that basically allows anyone to perform the marriage ceremony. In order to make it legal though, there is some paperwork that has to be done first. We think it’s pretty cool that our friend got to marry us, and for him, who works seasonally at Fish and Game in the summer time, putting on his waders was just like any other day.
We own and operate MemoryMakers Tour & Guide Service, so we already had pretty much all the gear we used in the wedding.
The after party pics on facebook looked amazing. Could you talk a little bit about the idea to fish after the service.
I guess this is where it might get a little confusing. There was lots of fishing that happened. We (our family, maids & groomsmen) fished before the wedding(in the pouring rain) for our bachelor and bachelorette parties. We (only Dake and I) fished immediately after the ceremony, while our guests headed to the reception site for drinks and small talk. And then Dake took all of our family and out of town guests fishing the day after the wedding, Sunday – and that is the album that you saw on Facebook. Kadie didn’t go along on this day because she was completely exhausted from putting together such an awesome wedding. She literally stayed in bed the whole day.
Whose idea to surround your wedding with fishing?
Fishing for us isn’t really an idea anymore, it’s just what we do-many times before and after the other things we do. First fish and biggest fish are milestones and accomplishments for us and so by that, our first fish as married couple was just what we had to do. In some crazy way, for us it was our way of consummating our marriage.
Did you get to fish or were you guiding your guests?
We fished and guided on our bachelor/ette party day and on the day after Dake mainly guided. For him it has become not about catching fish on his own like in the old days, but anymore he is more thrilled and excited to see his clients catching the big ones.
For the bachelor/ette parties the guys were definitely more serious about the fishing than the girls – they were trying for a grand slam (all 5 salmon species in the same day), but didn’t get them all. Dake has done it a couple of times in years past, but I think the weather had something to do with it.
Who caught the biggest fish?
While fishing to consummate our wedding Kadie caught the first and the bigger fish. She was able to keep it on until Dake could get a hook up.
Who caught more fish Dake or Kadie?
Unfortunately, we had lots more photos to take and fun to have at our reception, so we only caught one fish each on our wedding day. Which, by the way both of the pink salmon we caught got released so they could go make babies.
Typically there is a honeymoon after the service, although in today’s culture many couples are switching this up and being creative. Your service looks like a honeymoon in itself. Did you guys take any time off to fish or relax or travel after the service or did you just get back to work?
Yeah, it was like a honeymoon in itself. That wedding was enough for me, I don’t feel like I even need my birthday or Christmas this year! We are planning to take a honey moon though, probably sometime next February or March. There is entirely too much good fishing here this time of year, and it’s some of our busiest time for our business. We’re planning to get away to a warm, tropical destination that has excellent fishing during Alaska’s coldest, darkest time of the year, the time when you need a vacation the most! (And our business is slower then too)
There was some confusion on the part of the commentors and maybe even posters as the story of your River Wedding went viral. Is there anything you would like to clear up?
Yes, there is. Actually, a few things.
First of all there were lots of people out there that were under the impression that Dake made Kadie get married his way and that think she doesn’t like to fish and therefore this marriage will only last a matter of time because she’ll inevitably become irritated at how much time he spends on the river. This couldn’t be farther from the truth – the setting of the wedding was entirely Kadie’s idea. She loves to fish and out-fishes Dake and most other people when she’s on the river. There was even a time when Kadie was working at the local sporting goods store, on the phone with Dake (who was at home cleaning the house) and telling him to stop cleaning and go fishing with one of the customers in the store offering a day on a boat! Dake and Kadie have been together for 9 years now and owned MemoryMakers Tour & Guide Service for the last 7. We’re solid.
Next, many people had asked if the ladies were wearing waders. Yes, we were. We all had on hip waders, under the dresses. I let my bridesmaids pick out their own dresses because I wanted them all to feel comfortable. I knew that I was asking a lot of them by wanting them to be standing in a river, in a dress, while holding a fly rod. I know that could be intimidating and maybe a little scary, considering a few of them had probably never put on a pair of hip waders in their lives. So I sent them a paint swatch (purple of course) and a set of guidelines that included: “It should be knee length or above” and “It should make you feel good”. They all knew that their dresses getting wet was a possibility. And no, we weren’t cold. It has been an unusually warm summer here even though it wasn’t really that warm on our wedding day. I’m not sure if it was adrenaline or the sun making its appearance but we weren’t cold at all!
I could go on all day explaining my wedding but this will be the last one.
Finally, lots of people were appalled that I would wear my dress in the river. Can you believe those people? I mean it’s only a dress, right? What do most brides do with their dresses after the big day? Have them dry cleaned and put in a box or hang it in their closet for the rest of their lives, only to have it end up at the goodwill in 40 years or something…if the marriage even makes it that long. I think that is a waste in and of itself. I bought it knowing full well what I was going to do with it so I didn’t spend a fortune on it. It was regularly $229 but I talked the girl at Macy’s into a discount due to some makeup on the collar so I only paid $155 for it. Even though Dake said I looked like a million bucks! I love that part and I loved that dress…so much that I wanted to fully live that moment in it with no regrets, so I did. The dress, by the way, was not ruined by the river. It is perfect.
Did any bear wedding crash your special day?
No, but that would have been pretty cool!
Who caught the bouquet? And are they single and willing to also get married in a river (we know some dudes who may be interested)? Just kidding don’t answer that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My best friend (and bridesmaid) Cindy caught the bouquet. She was the one in the tie-dye dress and she is in a relationship…I’m pretty sure she’ll be engaged soon! (She doesn’t fish, but she is still pretty darn cool!!)
Let’s talk about your business. You guys look like you run a top notch service on Kodiak Island. The pictures are amazing.
Thank you. We would agree with that. : ) We operate with two luxury conversion vans and do Sightseeing tours of the Kodiak area as well as full or half day guided fishing trips. Our fishing trips are walk/wade in only and can accommodate anglers of all ages and skill levels. We provide all the gear and transportation to and from the fishing spots…the only thing we need is you! We also take photos of the day and your catch and burn a disc so you can take the memories home with you!
What makes Kodiak Island a great place to travel and book you guys for a fishing trip?
Oh man, besides the wedding this is the other thing I could talk about forever. Kodiak is amazing. It is the REAL ALASKA. It is raw and untouched beauty, the way things used to be and the way they should be. People are nice and trustworthy, the air and rivers are clean, and the fishing is impeccable! It just doesn’t get much better than that.
It looks like you offer adventures for both the fly fisher and those who have a general love for nature and its beauty. Is this the kind of place we could bring our non-fishing wives for a trip?
Yes, we often will do a full day trip that is part fishing and part sightseeing, it works out really well. Also, being on the river here, even if you’re not fishing is so amazing because it is so beautiful everywhere you look. Go ahead and bring ’em, we’ll have those ladies fishing in no time!! Dake says that women are often his best clients because they listen to everything he says and they do what he tells them because they don’t think they already know how to do it. Unlike lots of men, who already know how to fish and proceed to do things their way. Women almost always out-fish men when on the river with Dake. If they absolutely didn’t want to fish they could go pick berries or beach comb with Kadie or something : )
What is the best way to contact you guys to book a trip?
There are several ways to get a hold of us… Phone, email, facebook, website. We always have our cell phones on us but Kadie answers hers more: 907-942-2621 or there’s always the landline with the answering machine: 907-486-7000. For email: email@example.com. MemoryMakers is on facebook and the web:
|Poto by Heidi Stutes Photography|
Thanks so much Kadie and Dake. You guys are awesome. Best of luck, tight lines and stay solid!