PROSPECT (AP) – Before he could say “I do,” Damon Holmes had to ascend to a lofty height of 420 feet above the Penobscot River.

By the time he reached the Penobscot Narrows Bridge Observatory, his face had grown red and beads of sweat had formed under his glasses as he climbed several flights of stairs surrounded by floor-to-ceiling glass.

“Jeez, it’s looking a little foggy over in Castine,” Holmes joked as he, his bride-to-be and family gathered.

Saturday’s wedding of Holmes and Ann Drinkwater marked the first nuptials from the perch high above the Penobscot River that offers panoramic 360-degree views of the Atlantic Ocean and even Mount Katahdin 100 miles away.

Drinkwater, who works at the Bucksport town office, began making arrangements for the unique wedding as soon as the observatory opened in May. Her friend and colleague Jackie Hunt, the town’s deputy clerk, presided over the ceremony.

The wedding was not for those with a fear of heights. While there’s an elevator that takes people to the observatory, the wedding party was required to climb several flights of stairs to reach the highest of three levels for the ceremony.

Donna Holmes, the groom’s mother, was helped up the stairs by her husband, who reminded her to “breathe deep,” and “look straight ahead, not down.”

The bride’s mother was not keen on heights either.

“Only for you,” Donita Drinkwater told her daughter before climbing the stairs. “Only for you will I get up there.”

Before the ceremony, Ann Drinkwater asked, “You OK, Mama?”

“Mama’s OK,” Donita Drinkwater replied with a chuckle.

Since the wedding took place during the observatory’s regular hours of operation, the members of the wedding party had to buy tickets for a regular tour Saturday afternoon. They had to wrap it up within a 15-minute window before the next tour.

At least one uninvited guest shared in the ceremony. Eric Peterson, 55, of Portsmouth, N.H., purchased a ticket for the 1 p.m. tour and witnessed the union of two strangers.

“I just feel bad I intruded on such a special occasion,” he said.

“It seems to me that people look for all kinds of unique settings to get married nowadays.”

Information from: Bangor Daily News,

AP-ES-07-30-07 1038EDT

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