Thursday, August 11, 2011

Ian and Lauren's Heavenly Wedding

I'll resume blogging about regular ranch stuff tomorrow including the fire but for now all I want to do is positively gush about the wedding of our dear friends Ian and Lauren. Man we love those two and they had such an amazing and wonderful wedding perched high on the mountain overlooking Lake Tahoe.

Nathan and Ian have been buddies since grade school and no matter how long they are apart or what corner of the country they reside in, they always pick right up where they left off like no time or distance has elapsed. We were super excited to meet Lauren for the first time back in the day and were blown away to meet such an amazingly beautiful, smart and eloquent woman that put up with Ian. When they attended our wedding almost six years ago after only a few months of dating, both Nathan and I commented to ourselves that Ian needed to lock.that.up!

It took a few years, but he finally "put a ring on it" and we couldn't be happier for the two of them. Watching their relationship blossom over the last few years, even though we see them so sporadically, has been amazing, especially the changes we have seen in Ian. Since meeting Lauren, Ian has become a well-centered, confident man with focused drive and ambition. She is the light to his darkness and encourages him to be a better man in her elegant, demure way. And she makes Ian (and her now brother-in-law Alex) cinnamon rolls on the weekend. The woman is practically a saint.

There is something that stands out between Ian and Lauren that makes their relationship special. They are so well matched for each other, the perfect compliment to the strengths and weaknesses of each other. I once had a friend tell me that she looked up to the relationship between Nathan and I and that we were so well matched. I understand now what is it to look up to and admire the strong union between two people so very much in love.

The whole wedding extravaganza took place in Tahoe which made for a really fun weekend since all the guests had to travel in from out of town. We were able to spend more quality time with the other childhood friend Ian and his wife Dara, who visited us at the ranch last week and another close friend from high school Amy who we hadn't seen in six years!

Unlike most four hour weddings where you are lucky to get five words with the bride and groom, Ian and Lauren made special effort to spend quality time with all of their guests and we got to see them the night before (during that eerie "calm before the storm" time that all couples experience when all the planning is done and all you are left with is anticipation and nerves), the day of the wedding where we danced the night away with them and the day after the ceremony where they hosted a beach party on the lake shore to mingle in a calmer, more casual setting.

The wedding itself took place high up on Heavenly Mountain (over 8,000' elevation) overlooking Tahoe. We took the shuttle from the hotel to the tram and up the hill.

The night before the wedding, Ian and Lauren had to call all the guests and remind them to take the tram, not the gondola, which while providing another breathtaking view of the landscape, would not get you to the wedding venue. As further warning, the tram will not run during the ceremony so if someone shows up late, they will be stuck at the bottom of the hill. We were all prepped and ready to go nice and early.

The ceremony was so beautiful and Lauren cried the prettiest cry all the way down the isle. I took a series of photos of her emerging from the prep area and she seems a little sniffy after some words from her father but once she turned to look at Ian she just lost it and alternated crying, smiling and smiley crying all the way down the isle. Of course the moms cried too but it was especially touching to watch Tad the Dad's (our affectionate name for Ian's father) jaw clench and chin quiver with emotion.

During the ceremony, a pair of ravens flew right overhead (not off in the distance, literally right over the top of the gathering). I am not a particularly superstitious person, but since moving to the ranch I have more of an affinity and keen respect for nature. When the birds did their fly-by, I started misting up – a pair of ravens is a sign of longevity and loyalty. Ravens mate for life and are bonded strongly to one another. It was a powerful experience. 

Many wedding patrons probably didn’t even notice the auspicious birds, but to me no other sign would have been more welcome as a blessing. To compound the experience even more, when Nathan and I were traveling home, I mentioned how wonderful and auspicious it was to see the pair of ravens during the ceremony. Nathan got a bit quiet. “I wasn’t going to tell you this,” he started, “but during the ceremony, I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and silently wished for this union to be blessed. I opened my eyes and not ten seconds later, the ravens flew over”. Sign, blessing, miracle or sheer coincidence, whatever it was, I think it was a good thing.

The mother of the groom and father of the bride each performed a reading, the vows were beautiful and heartfelt, and the only hiccup I noticed was when the reverend asked Lauren if she took Lauren to be her husband. The audience and wedding party all had a good laugh that eased the tension. I've never cried at a wedding other than my own before but if ever there was a wedding to cry at, this would be the one. I was doing OK with minor sniffing for a while but there was a moment when Ian looked right at me and he looked so radiant and happy and appreciative that we were there to share his special moment that I just lost it and gave in to a messy, raccoon-eyed cry.

The reception was lovely and we were seated at the old school Brittania table with our counterparts, Lauren's high school friend Sarah and her husband Paul as well as Ian's self-proclaimed "office spouse" Jack. They were all really good people and it was so nice to be able to put names to faces of folks we have only heard about.

The wedding was a little surreal at times. The guests mostly consisted of family and a bunch of friends that also happened to be co-workers and our little table. Of course Nathan is a little conspicuous in his hat but it was really bizarre to not have to introduce myself or my occupation, it felt like people already knew who we were. Nathan had lots of folks walk up to him, especially co-workers, and be like, "You're Nathan from the ranch! Ian" Apparently Ian's co-workers like it when he goes to the ranch because he comes back to work so refreshed and creatively revived.

I was amazed at the number of people that came up to me and commented on how much they loved the blog. I had no idea so many people read it. Freda is practically a celebrity, everyone wanted to meet her and wished that we had brought her along. Now wouldn't that be a sight to see! I also received multiple rave reviews about how wonderful and easy The Bread is to bake. It is so charming to me how the blog brings people together like that. On the other side of the coin, I have heard from blog readers, who have only ever "met" Ian and Lauren in the blog posts about their visits to the ranch, clamoring for news and photos of the wedding. How cute how technology brings us all together!

After our meal it was time for toasts. Ian's brother Alex, gave the best toast that hilariously mingled video games with Ian and Lauren's love. Then to dancing. After the first dance between bride and groom they invited everyone out on the the dance floor. "If you are only going to dance to one song, let it be this one". Nathan and I do not dance. We live alone in the country and to have anyone watch us not of the bovine species is a tad intimidating (well to me at least, Nathan doesn't care). I think we danced to one song at Ian and Dara's wedding last summer but we made it to the dance floor anyway and Ian seemed a little surprised that we would do such a thing. So we stayed on the dance floor and danced all night long and you know what, it was fun. Even though there was some conga line trickery in the works. I haven't danced like that since prom almost a decade ago. Even without alcohol at elevation, I still had a good time. Somewhere between toasts and dancing cake was served but somehow I missed it and only got a piece as we were packing up to leave. Oh man it was really good. I am still kicking myself for not sneaking another piece. Nom!

The next day was a beach party/picnic and we got to spend more quality time with Ian and Dara, Amy and the bride and groom. It felt like being back in high school again all sitting at the smart table engaged in lively discussions about things like tax law and agricultural subsidies. Of course we were missing a few friendly faces that were not able to join us at the wedding - namely Adam who is in Canada and Hester who is in the Netherlands. International travel is prohibitively expensive but we knew they were there in spirit with us.

We spent plenty of time lingering around the pool and hot tub. We brought home brewed beer and wine to share (many of which Ian and Lauren had help make during previous ranch visits - "Swirl" raspberry wine was a huge success, Belgian fusion a victory in its own right) and had a late evening BBQ on the beach with ranch burgers.

Of course the time we spent together was much too short but we all had an amazing weekend giving Ian and Lauren one heck of a send off into married life. Congrats you two and thanks for letting us be a part of your special day!

* Note: I took over 500 photos at the wedding and have whittled them down to an album of about 50. Click here to see more.


Anonymous said...

Dear Katia,
Thank you so much for your fabulous photos and commentary on Ian and Lauren's wedding. Even though I couldn't attend, your blog made me feel the spirit and beauty of the event.
From Judy, a book group friend of Barb(mother of the groom)

Katia said...

Thanks so much for stopping by the blog. I really appreciated your comment and I'm delighted to be able to provide a vicarious perspective of the wedding. It was such a special day.

Post a Comment