An adventure wedding photographer in Colorado said Tuesday she wasn't expecting a rattlesnake to jump out and bite a groom as he was posing for photos with his bride -- but she wanted to capture all the ups and downs of their wedding day, so she kept taking pictures.
"I often wade in chest-high water, hike into jungles in Costa Rica, or go on 10-mile hikes with couples on their wedding day. I never would have guessed that my only indoor church wedding this year, in my home town, would actually become the biggest adventure, and my craziest wedding story to date," photographer Maddie Mae said.
Johnny and Laura Benson were walking by Horsetooth Reservoir near Fort Collins, just about 50 feet from a parking lot last weekend when the snake bit the groom in the ankle.
"All of a sudden it was like someone kicked me in the shin. Then I looked over and saw the snake sitting there, and it was rattling," he told the Denver Post.
The photographer said they shouted out to a park ranger, but he clearly didn't hear them. He simply yelled back, "Congratulations!"
Eventually he stopped by and helped the groom keep his leg elevated before paramedics could arrive. The bride rode along in the ambulance to the hospital. And Maddie Mae snapped away with her camera.
She said doctors determined the snake didn't inject any venom. Since it was pretty clear the bride and groom had a reception to attend, hospital staffers got them in and out quickly.
Naturally, the couple was late to the reception -- but only by an hour or so.
"I’ve never seen such a emotional 'grand entrance' as all 184 guests cheered when Johnny & Laura walked in, and showered them in a sea of passionate hugs. I admire Laura & Johnny so much for staying calm, and holding each other’s hand through the first great test of their brand new marriage," Maddie Mae wrote. Laura Benson called the whole experience "pretty epic."
Now that the bride and groom have the photos, they probably won't forget the experience any time soon. One picture showed the park ranger elevating the husband's leg. Another showed the bride in her wedding dress approaching the ambulance.
And one photo showed the scaly culprit slithering through the grass.
Fort Collins is an hour's drive north of Denver.