“Till death do us part” took on a new meaning when a wedding was interrupted by a grizzly bear killing a young moose behind the bride and groom.
The happy couple and their guests were enjoying the picturesque backdrop of Two Medicine Lake in Glacier National Park when the #natureismetal-style violence unfolded. Pained howls from the calf filled the wedding space as the groom wrapped up his vows. Check out the video. It’s hard not to laugh:
“You’re the only one I’ve loved. That I love now….”
“…and I vow to love.”
My past, present, and future.”
Unable to maintain his composure any longer, cameraman Stanton Giles swung his camera from the groom to the grizz dispatching the moose on the north side of the lake opposite the ceremony location. He reported seeing the moose before the fatal meeting.
“A grizzly charged out of the brush onto the north shore and attacked a moose calf as the mother looked on,” Giles said in a YouTube video. “We had spotted the moose and calf 10 minutes before moving briskly through the forest further up the mountain — the bear must have been chasing them for at least a little bit.”
Commentary caught on the video is comedy gold: One woman asks, “Are we okay?” while another laments not having cell service. Another says they have music on their phone, perhaps offering to drown out the death moans with some tunes.
As any human with a sense of humor would, Giles added a bit of obvious commentary about the wedding’s location on the opposite side of the lake from the display of nature’s brutality.
“That is why we didn’t go to the north shore, ladies and gentlemen,” he said.
Despite the interruption, the wedding party managed to get the ceremony back on track — but not before the camera captured the calf wildly thrashing in the water with its neck firmly clamped in the bear’s jaws.
Looking back, the groom said he was grateful for the once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“This was such a wild and incredible experience that even now we are in awe,” he said in a post. “We chose to elope in the heart of nature at Glacier and knew what we were getting into. Always respect nature and wildlife. We’re thankful everyone is safe, and Stanton was able to capture this, or no one would ever believe us!”
This encounter isn’t the first time a bear has decided to become an uninvited wedding guest. A black bear once crashed a wedding reception in Mexico; it toppled chairs and table-surfed for leftovers. The highlight of that incident, however, is a table of guests who, unfazed, refuse to leave their seats (and even start texting) as the black bear passes them.
According to the National Park Service, approximately 300 grizzlies live in Glacier National Park. While 90% of what they eat is grasses, berries, or other vegetation, they are omnivores, so large and small mammals are also on their menu — including moose.
Earlier this summer, a pair of videos from Glacier National Park went viral; the first (below) shows a grizzly stalking a moose family and killing a newborn calf. The second vid recorded the next day shows the same bear facing off against the same moose family, but this time, the mother is able to defend her surviving calf.
Grizzlies are known to target moose, elk, and deer during their birthing season and in the following weeks and months; it’s well-documented behavior. Calves and fawns are an easy, high-protein meal if a bear can get past mom.
Reportedly, there have only been 10 bear-related human fatalities in the park’s history. All 10 have occurred since 1967, when two women were mauled by grizzlies on the same day, only miles apart.
The risk-reward of a grizzly encounter versus a breathtaking landscape is minimal if you’re thinking of a wedding in the park. Glacier should be on your to-consider list.
But if you’re secretly hoping Mother Nature gives you great weather with a chance of wildlife bloodshed on your wedding day — book now.