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Salt Lake couple weds on moon, or closest thing to it

SALT LAKE CITY — Vanessa Hyde called her future mother-in-law last Friday and told her the big news: "Jake and I are getting married on the moon." Talk about your destination weddings.

Jake Dauwalder and Vanessa are on a tight budget, though, and the moon is more than 238,000 miles away, so the couple chose the nearest facsimile: the moonscape exhibit at the Clark Planetarium.

On Monday, the couple stood on the moon's gray, barren Taurus-Littrow Valley, where the astronauts of Apollo 17 landed in December 1972, and became man and wife.

The rest of the wedding party stood on Mars, a similar exhibit a few feet away.

It's the Clark Planetarium's first moon wedding, although several couples have married under the faux starry night sky of the planetarium's Hansen Dome.

The wedding destination was the idea of the bride, 21. "She wanted it to be unique," explained the groom, 24, who is a catering coordinator for Einstein Bros. Bagels. Getting married, he said, "is a once-in-a-lifetime event."

The wedding location and date were decided upon last Friday; Vanessa bought her dress on Saturday; the planetarium was contacted Monday morning. There was no time to arrange any music, so Vanessa instructed the wedding party to hum "dum, dum, da, dum."

"We've all heard of a person wanting to give his loved one the moon," noted the wedding officiator, LDS Bishop Kevin Jardine.

Following the short ceremony, the wedding party traveled to The Pie, where a pizza was topped with a king and princess.

According to the bride's mother, Miriam Hyde, the couple can't afford a honeymoon. Just the moon.

e-mail: jarvik@desnews.com