Wedded in the Spray of Bridal Veil Falls

Wedding Story in the San Francisco Sunday Examiner Magazine, 11 August 1901

Romantic Story of Yosemite Where Artist and Singer Met, Wooed and Married All in Two Months

Here is a bride with a bridal veil worth having–the most wonderful and original veil that ever bride uttered marriage vows beneath. The bride is Mrs. Harry C. Best. Her veil was a marvelous specimen of nature’s handiwork–nothing less than the world-renowned Bridal Veil of Yosemite Valley. Under the spray of these falls the young woman, then Miss Annie Rippey, became the wife of Harry C. Best.

The story is a romantic one . . . Miss Rippey came from Los Angeles to the Yosemite to take charge of Lippincott’s studio. It was her plan to return home near the close of the season, about the first of September; but Cupid sometimes plays gay havoc with human plans. He has certainly sent Miss Rippey’s a-glimmering, for he transformed her journey into a honeymoon to be spent in the grandest of environments, Yosemite.

Miss Rippey had been at her new post but a few days when her future husband appeared upon the scene . . . Mr. Best is an artist by profession and a Director of the Press Club of this city . . .The Lippencott studio was a congenial place for the artist to visit, particularly during those hours of the day when Yosemite visitors were out on the trails and the girl in charge of the studio had time to listen when the artist talked and the inclination to talk when the artist listened.

There were so many topics of mutual interest to discuss, too. Miss Rippey appreciated art. She was musical. So was Mr. Best. She was, moreover, a member of a Los Angeles church choir. It was quite natural that they should drop into the habit of going to the little Yosemite chapel on Sundays, for practice’s sake in singing.

The meeting occurred in the latter part of May. June–“what so rare as a day in June” in Yosemite Valley? –slipped by as though the days were winged. July was twenty-seven days old when the wedding was announced to take place the next day under circumstances unique in the extreme.

The bride and groom would plight their troth under the spray of Bridal Veil Falls.

The news spread with the rapidity peculiar to such tidings. Here was a happening decidedly out of the ordinary–something not dreamt of in the tourists’ philosophy. There was to be nothing conventional about this midsummer
ceremony. Neither bride nor groom had any right to be exclusive in the matter, for whose is the authority that can prevent a person from viewing the falls at any hour he chooses? And who, sojourning within the vast walls of the valley when a wedding was to be solemnized at Bridal Veil Falls, would not choose to visit that locality at the hour and moment celebrated?

. . . a general invitation was extended to all who happened to be within conversational distance. Invitations went by word of mouth. Such formal accessories as cards and dress suits were voted entirely incongruous, for who, pray would think of such an emergency as a wedding in camp and come provided with the customary toggery worn on such occasions?

Early in the morning of July 27th [sic] the bridal party visited Mirror Lake. It was a very warm day, but that did not prevent the liveliest interest being taken in the romantic event.

Long before the noon hour a motley procession was making its way toward the Falls. There were farm wagons from the hot plains of smoky San Joaquin Valley, filled with sunburnt, expectant campers. There were all the turnouts to be found in the local livery stable. There were people on foot and on horseback. There was even a camping party of rough riders from across the Sierras, who had remained over a day in order to attend.

Clearly the happy couple were not at all superstitious, for they had visited the place the Friday previous to select the exact spot for the ceremony, above a beautiful translucent pool, in the depths of which were reflected the mist waters of the Bridal Veil. The bridal party stood upon massive boulders. The scene was an unusual impressive one, the view awe-inspiring, being but a short distance from the sunless caverns to which the down rushing waters of the falls leap with a mighty roar. Several of the nearby boulders were as big as some of San Francisco’s old-time business houses . . . No strains of Lohengrin heralded the approach of the bridal party; tis true that a mandolin quartet played a wedding march, but the melody was impossible to distinguish above the thunder of the falling waters. They proceeded up the rocky, pathless way to the point of ceremony, the bride leaning upon the arm of the gentleman who gave her away, Mr. Oliver Lippincott, the bridesmaid being Miss Helen Rippey, and the best man Professor Durrell of St. Matthew’s School, near San Mateo. They were followed by the Rev. Luther Freeman, an Epworth Leaguer of Portland, Me., Mr. and Mrs. Thad Welch and Julius Starke.

By this time at least fifty cameras were leveled at the bridal party. Nobody could hear a word of the ceremony, but it is stated that by a previous agreement the word “obey” was left out.

Then came a picnic lunch, after which the happy pair, escaping the usual shower of rice and old shoes, went to Wawona for their honeymoon….Upon returning to the valley Mr. and Mrs. Best will camp out in a tent until the 1st of November.’