My daughter Talya met Michael in 2006 sometime. They were both in High School at Grandview High School, here in Aurora, Colorado. I wouldn’t say that they were both “lost” or anything like that at the time. But, they were at that age where neither of them had much direction, and life was still this big “unknown” for both of them. They were definitely exploring what was out there, and somehow or other they found each other.
I should probably refer you to Talya’s Facebook page to look up the origins of the relationship, I’m telling it from a Dad’s point of view is all. So, this thing goes along, and, well, I found a picture on Talya’s Facebook page that shows what they looked like early on in the relationship. Talya was still wearing the mostly black metal stuff, with chains and colored hair, with eyebrow and other piercings. Actually, the picture on Talya’s Facebook must be from one of the dances they went to in 2007 or 2008. I’m guessing 2007, since they graduated together in 2008 and looked pretty “normal” by then. I say normal, because as the relationship progressed, they both started dressing more or less in the normal fashion, without all the black stuff, and with their natural hair colors. The piercings disappeared and so did the black & chains look.
I wasn’t the only one who noticed, Michael’s Dad (Dave Effler) noticed this too, and commented on it at the Wedding Reception. But, I’m getting a bit ahead of the story.
The wedding was planned by Talya and us, with Cheryl and I doing most of the planning for the Reception. Cheryl and I went on a couple scouting trips up to Estes Park, where Talya had said she wanted to have the ceremony. First, Talya picked the outdoor Chapel at the YMCA of the Rockies up there in Estes Park. That Chapel is named for Sara Smith. Talya and Michael picked the May 31st date for their wedding as it seemed to work well with Michael’s schedule for training and such after he joined the Navy. Michael pretty much had signed up and gone off to boot camp right out of High School. His Dad is a (retired) Sr. Chief Petty Officer, who now works for Qwest and together they identified a career path for Michael that would insure he always had a job either in or out of the Navy.
So, the date was set, what was needed was a place for the Reception, obviously somewhere in Estes Park, so Cheryl and I found a place along the lake called Lakeshore Lodge. We found out that Estes Park is actually the #2 Wedding “Destination” in the United States (behind Las Vegas I presume). What makes it so special is the mountains, the rarefied air and such. But, the weather in May is pretty unpredictable (at best!) and we were holding the ceremony at an outdoors chapel! Then, I asked Talya who was performing the ceremony, and she told me that she and Michael did not want a Minister to do the ceremony. I jokingly told her that I could do the ceremony, since they had already gone down to the DMV and gotten their marriage license and so were “officially” (in the eyes of the state) married. They did that the day after Christmas in 2008, so they kind of have 2 wedding dates. But, that’s kind of just an aside to this story isn’t it?
What they wanted was a “Family” wedding celebration. A ceremony, one that everyone would remember as a day where we celebrated their love, and their union as a married couple starting out their lives together. So, that was the attitude we carried through on the wedding day. Talya told me about 3 weeks before the actual ceremony that she and Michael actually _did_ want me to do the ceremony, at which point I nearly had a breakdown! Not really, but it was a bit of a shock since I’d told her only that I _could_ do it.
So, we had to start planning the ceremony in addition to the reception. About that time (May 16) we went up to Lakeshore lodge with the entire family, Talya, Michael, Cheryl and I, Talya’s Mother Jojo and Darrell, David and Susan (Michael’s Dad and Step-mom). Also along that day were Darrell’s daughter Laura and Laura’s boyfriend Nate (is that right?). Laura was our Photographer, and Nate did the Video of the wedding. We went up to the Chapel too and scoped out how we thought things might work. We finished the planning for the food at the reception and we firmed everything up. That was as much of a “rehearsal” as we had. It was a gorgeous day that day, it almost would have been better to get married on that day than the day we had – well, almost. These things, you just have to trust The Lord and know that they will work out somehow.
Two weeks later, the relatives started arriving. We had nearly 60 people at the wedding and reception, the majority from out of town. Jojo’s sisters all came, Pam with her husband Martin, Rebel (Rebecca), and Dee. Several of Talya’s cousins made it, Natasha and Andrea, Carlo (Giancarlo) and Gabriel. All grown up now, it’s been quite a while since I have seen those kids! Wow!
The day of the wedding, we all got a bit of a slow start. It was a Saturday, and it dawned beautiful down here in Denver. We still had no idea what kind of weather to expect in the mountains however. So, we all piled in our Tahoe (Cheryl and I, my mother and sister) and we drove on up there. We remembered all our “stuff” – we had the decorations for the chapel, the centerpieces for the reception table and the “Order of Ceremonies” for the wedding itself. We arrived up there at the chapel, dropped mom and Toni (my sister) off at the YMCA lodge building and drove on up to the Chapel. When we got up there it was icing on us. Oh my!
That didn’t look so good, so we drove back down to the lodge building and started calling Jojo and Talya to find out what their status was. Cheryl and I went back up to the Chapel and started decorating. We just had some simple bows for the seats, and some “props” as Cheryl likes to say for the altar. As we were finishing Jojo’s old friend Rochelle showed up with her husband (____?) from Seattle. They watched the place while we went back to the lodge and changed. By that point, the one storm had passed over, and the sun had popped out. It looked like we had at least 90 minutes of sunshine at which point I called Jojo and told her “NOW!” I meant that she had to finish getting Talya dressed and up there and hopefully by that time, all the guests would have arrived and been seated and we could do the ceremony. The “ceremony” I had planned was less than 1/2 hour, probably 25 minutes total, so that left plenty of time for pictures at the Chapel afterwards.
(to be continued)