So, this will be the last part of my blogging about my daughter’s wedding. For her sake, and for my sanity, I just need to finish it and have a “conclusion.”
We had left the wedding site after catching a break from The Lord who blessed us with some fine weather for the ceremony at the outdoor Chapel up there in Estes Park at the YMCA of the Rockies. We had about an hour of fine weather following which we took pictures and so forth. We had a great hour of photos, socializing, cleaning up, getting ready to head down to the LakeShore Lodge for our reception.
Cheryl and I had all the centerpieces in our car, we had designed and created them out of an idea we came up with. Talya and Michael had wanted to have a “Black and White” wedding, nothing any other color, except of course Navy Blue. Michael and his dad both had on their dress blues for the ceremony. I think I neglected to mention so far that Michael’s dad, Dave, was his Best Man. They looked pretty spectacular standing up there, Dave in his Master Chief’s uniform, with lots of campaign ribbons and decorations to go along with it. I was very impressed anyhow, and I think everyone else enjoyed that part of the ceremony.
Michael, of course, had sailor’s dress blues on, having only been in the Navy at that time just slightly less than a year. But, the overall effect was quite pleasing.
So, we finished our pictures as the weather started closing down on us again, and we loaded up and headed out in our vehicles with us leading down to the Lodge. I always miss the turn for the Lodge, it’s the last turn as you’re heading East out of Estes Park on Hwy 34 towards Loveland, down the Big Thompson Canyon. The Lodge is right by the dam and the recreation area, but it’s not marked well, so I always forget you just gotta make that last turn, the one that heads into the recreation area at the dam.
Anyhow, I sort of managed to get over at the last second so we didn’t miss it. I was going slow enough that everyone pretty much came in after us. Now, you’ve got to remember we had the Chapel from 2-4p and we never dreamed we’d be out of there early, but we were a few minutes early since the weather had pretty much closed in on us. We could look back up the Valley later that afternoon and see that it was snowing up there where the Chapel was.
So, we got to the lodge, and they were all setup, except for one important thing: Sandy, our coordinator, sweet gal and all, had written down that our reception would start at 5p when we first talked about it, and she never changed it, in spite of us letting her know we’d likely be there closer to 4:30p. We were pretty close to 4:30p by the time we arrived there. Again, you have to remember that this is the last weekend in May, and at a wedding ceremony in the 2nd most popular “destination” in the entire U.S. so you gotta expect a few little hitches.
No problem, I believe we were there even a little before 4:30p (maybe 4:15p or so), so they started rushing the food prep, and had everything out there about a half an hour later. Most folks were starved, however, so it was a bit difficult to keep some folks calm. Cheryl and I concentrated on setting up our centerpieces for the tables. We had to just set them out and put the candles with them and then we lit the candles. Actually, I think somebody else lit the candles.
OK, here was our idea for the centerpieces: Along the B&W theme lines, we had figured to pull pictures of famous couples from love stories (in the movies) and we printed those pictures on a photo size printout, with the couple “circled” with a heart, and a caption that read:
“Love is …” and we filled in the blank with various things. We used 1 Corinthians Chapter 13 as a preliminary guide, but we also got creative and made some up as we went along. Then finally, on every table we had a picture of Talya and Michael in the same fashion, with the caption: “Love is you and me.” and the date of their wedding ceremony on the bottom. We designed them to be keepsakes if anybody wanted them. They didn’t cost a lot to make, just time to put it all together. I’ll post the designs for them on my Flickr site if anybody’s interested in seeing them. Just do a search for:
Talya wedding centerpieces
On our Flickr site:
So, we got everything arranged (sort of, we were rushed, and Cheryl was not able to put her “special” touches on everything) and the food started coming in, and Laura, our photographer started getting pictures right away. Talya and Michael had wanted just a table for 2 at the front, so they had their own “special” table, and the rest of us were scattered around in 8 other tables I think we had. We wound up with about 63 people there, including some of Talya’s friends, some of her mother’s relatives and friends, and my mother and sister. Cheryl and I did not have a large contingency at the wedding, we’re not that social anymore I guess. =) I’m kidding, we just didn’t get to any invitations beyond my mother and sister. We somewhat knew that nobody from Cheryl’s side of the family (in Virginia) would not be able to attend, but Talya sent invitations that way anyhow. I assured her it was the socially correct thing to do, so we sent invitations to Cheryl’s sister and brother-in-law (Donna & Billy) and also to Cheryl’s brother Mitch and his wife Lynn.
I think we also got an invitation out to Cheryl’s dad. Josephine’s family is large, so we had good attendance from her side of the family. Jojo’s sister Pam and brother-in-law Martin came from California, along with Jojo’s other sister Dee with her boyfriend Steve. Dee’s two daughters Natasha and Andrea made it. Their father Rick decided to miss it, he still feels a bit awkward around family events, sorry Rick. Jojo’s cousin Terri and her husband made it, along with Rochelle from Seattle, and Talya’s friend Melanie (Mel) and her mother from Oregon. Talya’s grandfather (big Tony) could not make it, he and his wife Nancy decided to wait for another opportunity to visit with family a bit closer to home. Big Tony is 85 this year I believe, and it’s getting more difficult for him to travel as well.
Michael’s family was well represented with his dad, step-mother Susan, and his sisters. Unfortunately, his brother could not make it to the wedding, but there were plenty there to help celebrate. As I said, my sister and mother made it from California. Mom did well too, it’s getting a bit difficult for her to travel these days. But, she got to see Talya’s wedding on Saturday (May 30) and then the following day we attended Stew’s play, his first play, he was the Wizard in “The Wizard of Oz.” Quite a weekend for her!
Now, let me get to the rest of the reception. The food arrived, we all enjoyed the dishes very much. We had plenty of food for the folks we had. Originally we had thought we’d have maybe 40 people, but the list grew (as they always do!). So, it was good to have so many to celebrate with us that special day. The food, the setting, all contributed to the overall romantic atmosphere. The Lodge overlooks Estes Lake, and has a nice view of Long’s Peak to the south, Estes Cone, as well as Twin Sisters and so on. You can actually see all the way back up into the Park (Rocky Mountain National Park) and the YMCA of the Rockies is visible from there as well. That’s how we were able to tell that the snow was coming down pretty hard up there at the Chapel where we had been earlier in the day.
The Lodge had decorated the entire building with flags, a nice touch we thought, and it was quite a festive “Military” atmosphere consequently. Our wedding coordinator, Sandy, is former military herself, and is quite patriotic. She was pleased to be giving a wedding reception for a military couple. I should mention that Talya is quite enthusiastic herself about being the wife of a sailor. The atmosphere gave us quite a number of opportunities for both posed and candid shots around the building with the spectacular scenery of Estes Park around us.
Michael and Talya were into the mood, and could quite easily be said to have been “in the moment” of it. They ate some food eventually, then we had toasts with Martinelli’s since both of them are not 21 yet. Dave gave the first toast, and related how he and his family had seen Michael and Talya grow from a couple teenagers with very little direction in life to a “couple” who knew where they were going and what they wanted out of life. They had not only matured in that realm, but the “Gothic” look they had when they first met had disappeared and been replaced by a couple who appeared inline with middle America. We all heartily agreed, and I related that’s how we knew it was a “right” relationship too. Much like Cheryl and I, as Cheryl sees me as a better person than I see myself, and consequently I am a better person since being around her.
There were other toasts, the most notable being perhaps Talya’s brother Stew. Stew had to be in his play, so missed the ceremony, but he was able to make it to the lodge for the reception. He got up and related about how he hardly knew Michael, how he was so quiet and all. Then he gasped out “My gosh! My sister is MARRIED!” We all laughed and agreed it was a pretty amazing thing.
After that, we had the cake cutting ceremony, with a cutlass that Michael dug up from his dad or grandfather somewhere or other. They had a good time smearing just a little cake on each other, and then there were more pictures and clowning and celebrating. The festive atmosphere gradually wore down. I think everyone ventured out onto the deck of the Lodge for a picture or two at some point. Cheryl and I got lots of pictures, and had pictures taken of us too. It was very much enjoyable we hope for all who attended. Most especially so for Talya and Michael.
Then, it was time to leave. First Talya and Michael changed their clothes and then they took and loaded their presents and cards and other stuff into their car, the little Subaru that Talya and I had found the year before. Their cousins had suitably “decorated” the car with all kinds of “Just Married” stickers, and streamers and such. They posed for just a couple more photos before driving off – to their newly married life.
As I think I related earlier in this tale, they had to get up about 4a the next morning and leave for Ft. Meade and Baltimore. They already had a place to live, having signed the contract on an apartment a few weeks prior. And so, sadly for this dad, but happily for my daughter and new son-in-law, childhood ends and my daughter is off on her next adventure in life.
God Bless you Talya and Michael! May God always watch over you both and keep you safe and in love with each other.