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A one-of-a-kind wedding
Fort Resolution couple first to exchange vows at site of Little Rat River on Taltson

Paul Bickford
Northern News Services
Published Saturday, July 28, 2012

A young couple in Fort Resolution has begun their married future together by going back to the past.

NNSL photo/graphic

Sam O'Reilly and Deanna (Anna) Beck were married on July 11 at the site of Little Rat River, a former community on the Taltson River. - photo courtesy of Anna O'Reilly

Sam O'Reilly and Anna Beck exchanged vows July 11 on the Taltson River, specifically where the small community of Little Rat River once existed.

The bride now Anna O'Reilly said she wanted to get married there because it's a nice area and her grandmother and grandfather used to live at Little Rat River many years ago.

That location made the wedding unique.

"It was the first wedding at Rat River," Anna O'Reilly noted.

Many years ago, people in Little Rat River always used to go 40 miles down the Taltson River to the larger Rocher River another now-abandoned community to get married, said Sam O'Reilly. "Nobody ever got married up at Little Rat River."

Sam O'Reilly said he wasn't sure about the idea of getting married at Little Rat River when his then wife-to-be suggested the location to him.

"I was thinking, 'Are you sure? It's going to be kind of tough for people to get there,'" he recalled.

However, the couple was surprised when about 70 guests showed up for the wedding, many coming the three hours by boat and some flying in to the site east of Fort Resolution.

"It worked out really good," said Sam O'Reilly.

Nowadays, Anna O'Reilly's father has a fishing lodge at the site called Aurora Nights Lodge.

The young couple was married on a small island called Anna's Island in front of the lodge.

Anna O'Reilly, 20, said the island got that name because, when she first saw it, she told everyone she was going to build a cabin there. "They laughed at me and said the island goes underwater when the water is high."

Sam O'Reilly, 28, built a small bridge of felled trees and branches for the wedding party and guests to walk over to the island, which he estimated at about 75 x 60 feet in size.

"It's really beautiful out there. It was a really nice day," he said of the wedding. "Everything worked out really good."

The newlyweds are now both back at work at the Diavik Diamond Mine, where she is a housekeeper and he is a heavy equipment operator.

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