Sub-zero wedding on Lake Lida forges rock-solid, cold-as-ice marriage foundation for John Mansager, Heidi Rasmussen

The frozen surface of Lake Lida was the unlikely scene for a wedding, with temputures nearly 10 below on Jan. 19.
Groom John Mansager, a Barnesville native, and bride Heidi Rasmussen, a Breckenridge native, are pictured here with a crowd of family and friends after the ceremony concluded. Mansager has Lake Lida connections, as his mrther and father, Syd and Mel Mansager, have a place on Lida.
The wedding was held in the Hillbillies Ice Hole Bar heated tent.
Posing against the frozen landscape of Lake Lida, Heidi Rasmussen and John Mansager--just a few moments after they were married in the heated Hillbillies Ice Hole Bar tent January 19. The temperature was about minus six degrees.
Officiating the Lake Lida wedding was Tony Anderson, who was ordained by the Universal Life Church of Washington. He performs ceremonies for friends and family. There were about 40 attending the wedding, held the same day as the Hillbillies ice fishing tournament Jan. 19.
Even the youngsters at the wedding on ice had a special role in the Jan. 19 ceremony. Charlie Tornesll, 3, Moorhead, and Kaia Wilson, Champlin, Minn., 7, scattered “bait” as the bride made her entrance--in the form of Gummi Worms and Swedish Fish candies. Bride Heidi Rasmussen and groom John Mansager are both avid outdoorspeople and go fishing whenever possible.
Instead of a traditional candle-lighting ceremony, Heidi Rasmussen and John Mansager “tied the knot” literally for their on-ice wedding.
Pictured here, the knot they tied together during their vows--specifically, it was a “fisherman’s knot.”

Weather forecasts went from bad to worse; cold to colder; every hour leading up to wedding day Jan. 19.  

Bride Heidi Rasmussen’s attention to the weather was understandable. 

The wedding was scheduled for the Pelican lake country.  

On Lake Lida. 

On the ice.

In sub-zero weather.

Why not? 

Heidi and groom John Mansager are both outdoorspeople. They fish and hunt whenever they can.

“We wanted something simple, laid back…and neither of us wanted to get dressed up,” said Heidi, a Breckenridge native who has endured–and enjoyed–the great outdoors with her boyfriend for about a half-dozen years.

The decision was made. The wedding ceremony would be during the Hillbillies Ice Hole Bar fishing derby on Jan. 19.  

“Everybody we wanted to be there was going to be at the fishing contest anyway. So we decided ‘let’s go for it,’” said Heidi. 

A heated tent was already pitched, for the Hillbillies fishing contest festivities.  


Well, sort of perfect. 

“Actually, I suggested a wedding in Las Vegas,” said father of the bride Jeff Rasmussen.  

Mom Sue Rasmussen envisioned a church, a bridal party–with her daughter wearing the same, handmade wedding dress she wore. 

Instead, the bride and groom were clad in matching, white hooded sweatshirts.  

The temperature at the time of the ceremony: about six degrees below zero.  Not bad; considering the temp was hovering around 20 below at sun-up.

“This is unique.  Everybody will definitely remember it,” laughed John, a Barnesville native and graduate.  He’s a regular visitor to the Pelican, Lake Lida area.  His parents Syd and Mel Mansager have a place on Lida.  Local faces in the wedding ceremony crowd of about 40 included Angie and Chris Westby.  Angie, a teacher at Pelican’s Viking Elementary school, is John’s sister.  

John and Heidi were hoping to have lines down, in the frigid Lida waters for the ceremony.  They also hoped a crappie would have taken the bait–so they could interrupt the nuptials to bring in a fish.  

During the ceremony, minister Tony Anderson reminded the couple that “you’re never too old to hold hands” and to “never go to bed angry.”

“And remember that no matter how much you might get mad for one of you spending too much time out fishing, always remember: You’re still in this together.”

The ceremony was “short, sweet and to the point,” which is exactly what Heidi requested.  

Which was good; because there were fish to catch in Lake Lida.