You can get married on the Murray Morgan Bridge, and it’s probably not as expensive as you’d think.
But if you decide you want to say “I do” on the historic crossing, be warned: The happy couple and their guests must accept that the bridge might come up in the middle of the nuptials to let a ship pass through.
That didn’t happen Sunday when 24-year-old Trevor Hamilton, a longtime Tacoma resident, and fiancee Emma Reinhart became the first couple to be wed on the iconic bridge, at least in recent memory.
“Unbelievable” was how Trevor described the ceremony afterward. “The happiest I’ve ever been.”
A small gathering of family and friends watched the couple exchange vows, rings and kisses underneath an azure sky filled with puffy clouds. Bouquets of flowers were tied to the bridge’s guardrail and roses were laid in two neat rows on the asphalt for the couple to walk through.
“We’ve shared a couple really special moments on the bridge, we were engaged on the bridge, so we thought, ‘Hey, it’s worth a shot” said Trevor of the couple’s choice. “The city of Tacoma was more than helpful.”
The bridge was closed 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. to allow for setup and the 3 p.m. ceremony. City of Tacoma economic development specialist Kala Dralle said Hamilton’s request was the first she’s fielded to have a wedding on the 11th Street bridge. The total cost for the event permit and mailings to notify local businesses and property owners: $104.82, Dralle said, a steal for almost any wedding venue.
But the couple had to rent barricades and signage for an elaborate and detailed detour route designed by the city, which Hamilton said cost them about $500.
“It’s very complicated to close that bridge,” Dralle said, adding that she was surprised by the couple’s choice. Of requests to close the Murray Morgan, she said, “I’m never surprised when it’s something like a run or a film thing — I get that people love the bridge. The Bridge of Glass is a pretty normal place for people to get married on because no cars drive on it.”
Boat traffic has the permanent right of way there, Dralle said, and while there’s usually a good amount of warning before the bridge is raised, it could happen any time.
“We can permit closing the bridge,” she said, “but we can’t trump that.”
For Reinhart, 23, and Hamilton, the Murray Morgan Bridge is a quintessential part of Tacoma, the city where they met, fell in love and plan to lay down roots.
“We appreciate the realness of people here,” said Trevor.
“Tacoma is beautiful without trying to be,” said Emma.
Both attended Pacific Lutheran University and started dating shortly before graduation two years ago. Hamilton is from Tacoma, and they work for his family’s Sumner-based company, U.S. Fire Equipment, which sells fire trucks. Reinhart moved here for college from a small town in Montana, Hamilton said. They got engaged on the bridge last summer.
“Tacoma has really become a focal part of our lives and we absolutely love it and wanted to do something unique that showcased the beauty of Tacoma and its history,” Hamilton said. “We settled on the 11th Street Bridge especially because we’d had some special moments there.”
Sunday represented one of only four or five times this year that the bridge will be closed to traffic, Dralle said.