Wednesday, June 5, 2013 11:49am
The bride wore a long white dress and muddy boots. She yelled “HOOTEEHOO!”
Waiting for her in the distance, the groom hollered “HOOTEEHOO!” back. She homed in on his shout and sloshed toward him through the cathedral of cypress trees and cypress knees, ferns and royal palms that grew in the black water.
Michael Scott Owen and Donna Ann Glann-Smyth were going to exchange vows in the holiest place they know, a primeval Florida swamp where alligators and cottonmouths go with the territory.
In their wedding chapel, a ghost orchid, one of the rarest of all plants, clung to the trunk of a pond ash. Poison ivy hung from the curved bough of what served as their altar, a red maple.
Renee Rau, an ordained minister who also manages Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve in southwest Florida, asked guests to settle down. The green tree frogs, performing their unique version of Mendelssohn’s Wedding March, ignored her.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” the minister said in a loud voice, “we will begin.”