With twists and turns, thrills and stomach butterflies, marriage is like a roller coaster — especially for one couple who got married today on Kennywood’s Phantom’s Revenge.
The ceremony began Friday afternoon in the roller coaster station, then continued as the couple traveled up the click-clacking lift hill, sealing it all with a kiss, Kennywood spokesman Nick Paradise said.
After their ceremonial “first ride,” Justin and Kelly affixed a “Just Married” sign to the back of the roller coaster car and took the coaster for another spin together. (They declined an interview.)
“For people that have a lot of special memories tied to here like many people do, if it fits within their relationship, we’re more than happy to help them on their way,” Paradise said. “It’s a fitting way to start in a lot of ways. There will be ups and downs, but we always hope it’s a satisfying conclusion when you look back.”
Kennywood hosts about six weddings each year in various locations across the park. Some couples choose to perform the service on the coaster with an officiant and their bridal party, while others get married on the coaster platform, then take a first ride together.
The gazebo near the merry-go-round, where the park is a bit quieter, has become a go-to wedding spot, Paradise said. Couples often host their ceremony at the gazebo before taking a ceremonial first ride and heading to a picnic pavilion for a catered meal. Couples have also taken their vows at the Jack Rabbit, the Racer and, of course, the Phantom’s Revenge, with their choice of how to perform the ceremony. One couple even got married at Noah’s Ark with the whale’s squishy tongue substituting for an altar.
Fellow park visitors are usually “really excited” when they spot couples bedecked in their wedding finery.
“From what I’ve seen, it is more common that people aren’t doing the ceremony on the coaster, but it does happen sometimes,” he said.
When a ride becomes a wedding site, Kennywood officials make sure the ceremony is efficient for the sake of other park guests. Today, the coaster only had to close to the public for a half hour.
Prices vary based on the ceremony location, date and time of year, with $400 as a starting point, which includes admission for the couple and their officiant, sound equipment, a ceremonial first ride, and time for photography with an appearance by Kenny Kangaroo. Check out all the details here.
“If you want to have a 30-minute session that’s closing off a ride on a peak Saturday, [it] will cost more than a ceremony at … the gazebo on a Tuesday,” Paradise said.
Engaged couples can also reserve time for a photo session at the park. The illuminated red “good night heart” at Kennywood’s exit is a popular spot.
And for couples who aren’t quite there yet, Paradise recommends Kennywood as a great place for a date. “You have time to talk in line and get to know each other,” he said “and the thrills and scariness can naturally bond (people).”
With its vintage vibe, it’s hard to deny the enchantment Kennywood sparks. “I really think it is one of the most romantic places in the area,” he said.