Beyond Bravo

Wedding Couple Rush To Emergency Room After Groom Is Bitten By Rattlesnake

The two had to head to the hospital instead of the reception. 

In sickness and in…emergency!

Johnny and Laura Benson were only married for just one hour when they stopped to take wedding photos as husband and wife at Colorado’s Horsetooth Reservoir, on the way to their reception. 

As they hiked down a trail in wedding dress and a suit, the groom suddenly felt as if he was kicked in the shin. But when he looked down, Johnny saw a rattlesnake slithering away. 

A nearby ranger heard the commotion, called the paramedics, and the bride and groom headed to the emergency room instead of their reception, where guests mingled, wondering where the pair had gone. 

Like a pro, wedding photographer Maddie May continued snapping away, even taking a photo of the snake itself. Shortly after Johnny and Laura got to the ER, it was determined that no venom had been injected and Johnny had no swelling and no symptoms.  She drove the couple to the reception, and they were just 20 minutes late. The 184 guests cheered when they walked in.

Maddie took to Facebook to detail the adventure. Here are the events in her own words: 

“As an adventure wedding photographer, 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. While taking photos just about 50-feet from the parking lot up by Horsetooth Reservoir, in Fort Collins, CO a young rattlesnake jumped out onto the path and bit Johnny on the ankle while we were taking couple photos before the reception. A Larimer County Park Ranger was driving by, and all 3 of us started waving furiously at him. He rolls down the window and we yelled, “He just got bit by a rattlesnake!!” The ranger, obviously not hearing what we said, yelled back, “CONGRATULATIONS!!” at the couple in wedding clothes. But then when he got the message he came over and had Johnny lay down and elevate his leg while the paramedics were arriving. Not knowing if the rattler had injected venom, the initial prognosis was pretty dire. At a minimum they said he could be in the hospital for several hours to assess the bite. At worst, if he needed anti-venom, and could be in the hospital for several days. Laura, his new wife of less than 2 hours, got in the ambulance with him and I followed in my car to the hospital. Shortly after we got there, it was determined that no venom had been injected and Johnny still had no swelling or no symptoms. The people at in the ER at Poudre Valley Hospital, then became the heroes as they made it the world’s shortest ER visit in history, and Johnny & Laura were back in my car, driving to their reception in less than 20 minutes. We arrived back at the reception, just 1-hour late. 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. The whole reception was filled with laughs, smiles, & jokes about it being a typical “Johnny Benson” wedding experience.

The whole situation was so surreal, and I couldn’t really help in any way except continue to do my job and capture the story of their wedding day. Here are some pictures of Johnny & Laura's wedding day adventure."

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