Building Bridges: A Wedding on the New River Gorge

They say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone, and that has never been more true than it was for Melissa Estrada and Jason Jones.

“We sort of split up for a couple months in the middle of the there years we were together before we got engaged,” says Melissa. “It was during that time that I really knew he was supposed to be in my life. I needed him in my life.”

Flash back 13 years…

They met at school at WVU in a class they shared, Intro to Aerospace. They had a mutual friend in there, so the three teamed up for a semester-long project. Acquaintances might be a better word to describe Melissa and Jason than friends. They worked together in class, but didn’t much see each other outside of it.

I’m thinking ‘Why is the TARDIS in my castle and who even knows that I like Doctor Who?!'

Melissa Estrada Jones

“Fast forward 10 years and I post something on Facebook about going to a WVU football game,” says Melissa. “He responded (it took me a minute to remember who he even was) saying that we should meet up. So we did.”

They met each other the night before the game and chatted for a few minutes—not exactly a date. But Jason had season tickets for the Mountaineers, and Melissa was a fan in perpetual need of a seat. “So,” she says, “he invited me to the next game and the rest is pretty much history.”

They romanced each other for three years, including the aforementioned break-up, and then, near the end of their third year together, Jason popped the question.


Melissa again: “The Blennerhassett Hotel in Parkersburg, WV (my hometown) was having a gingerbread house contest in December, and I decided to enter. I made a castle that had four walls and turrets at each corner, but it didn't have a closed roof, so you could look down into it. Jason and I were at my parents that Christmas, and I suggested we all go have a look at the entries. They were all lining this hallway... and there at one end—on its very own table—is my castle.”

“I thought that was kind of weird, because why does mine get its own table? Anyway, I look down into it and there, next to the Christmas tree, is the TARDIS."

[Note: If you’re not a Doctor Who fan, the TARDIS is the good Doctor's spaceship. It looks like an old blue British police box from the 1960’s.]


“I’m thinking ‘Why is the TARDIS in my castle and who even knows that I like Doctor Who?!’ All of a sudden, Jason reaches in and grabs it, gets down on one knee, opens it up. It was a custom made ring box! He proposed to me with my family watching. After a bunch of ‘Whats?!’ and some squealing, I finally managed a yes.”

It’s about now you might be thinking, “Okay, but how did we get from there to a wedding at Adventures on the Gorge?” It’s simple, really. Melissa designs and inspects bridges for a living, and as you may be aware, we have a stunning view of the world-famous New River Gorge Bridge from our location on the rim of the Gorge.

“A few years ago, I was in Charleston for a bridge inspection class,” says Melissa. “I had never seen the New River Gorge Bridge, and somebody told me I really should check it out. On my way home, I decided to stop. It was so amazing. It was November, so I hardly saw anybody else. It was so peaceful and beautiful, I stopped almost everywhere I could pull my car over. I decided then and there, when the time came, this was where I wanted to get married.”