Kansas Snapshots by Gloria Freeland - August 18, 2017
NOTE: The column title above is a link to a 30-minute wedding video.
Just 11 days after our July 20th return from a six-week trip to Europe, we headed to Wyoming for the wedding of youngest daughter Katie and her fiancé Matt. Those intervening days were busy. Along with husband Art’s and my work, there was an “around the clock” bridal shower; an appointment to get the wedding gown steamed; shopping trips to purchase a new suit for Art; another trip to find new shoes for me; and other errands.
Matt said he’d be happy to skip the fuss and elope, but Katie wanted more. So they compromised on a destination wedding with immediate family in the Grand Teton National Park. But even with only eight people, we traveled four different highways and an airline route. Katie and Matt took the Interstate option. Art and I opted for scenic byways. We four left July 31 and arrived late the next day, but still early enough for us four to meet for dinner.
On Wednesday, Katie and Matt got their marriage license, met with their wedding-dinner restaurant manager, picked up Katie’s big sister Mariya at the airport, and met Alex, their photographer, at the wedding site.
While the bridal couple attended to details, Art and I headed to Yellowstone National Park to enjoy geysers, winding rivers, waterfalls and canyons. Matt’s mother Susan arrived in the late afternoon, while Matt’s sister Caitlyn and her fiancé Colin arrived after dark. The 45-mile-per-hour speed limit and heavy park traffic meant we didn’t get back to our place until well after 10 p.m. The eight of us stayed at three different locations, but all less than an hour from the site.
The first “bump” was when Caitlyn and Colin discovered they had left their wedding outfits back in Kansas. FedEx to the rescue!
Art, Mariya and I explored Jackson on Aug. 3, and then Mariya and I joined Katie, Susan and Caitlyn at a local spa to have our nails done. Caitlyn experimented putting Katie’s hair up in a wedding “do” and Susan practiced with the make-up she and Katie had selected.
We all met for a “rehearsal” dinner at the Gun Barrel restaurant and then we were off to a local grocery store to buy flowers, greenery and ribbon for wedding arrangements.
Friday - the big day - began with Katie and Matt picking Mariya and me up. We stopped in Jackson for Matt to get a breakfast burrito and then it was off to Jackson Lake Lodge where the others were, except for Art, who stayed behind to relish some quiet time.
We arrived about 9:30. Susan and Caitlyn had supplies lined up along the cabin counters. They immediately started working on Katie’s hair and make-up. Mariya fashioned bouquets and boutonnieres from white daisies, carnations, baby’s breath and greenery, while I cut stems and passed her ribbons.
I was nervous - or, more likely, just emotional. It had finally hit me that my baby was getting married!
In contrast, Matt appeared completely relaxed. He and Colin sat on Adirondack chairs outside while Matt read “How to Eat in the Woods,” preparing for the honeymoon of camping and hiking.
Alex arrived and began taking “getting ready” pictures.
Using the “old, new, borrowed and blue” idea, Katie used old caramel-colored hairpins from my family; new pearl earrings from Art and me; a borrowed 1942 penny from Susan that her grandfather had given to her mother on her wedding day; and my mother’s “mother’s ring.” Among its stones are a dark-blue sapphire representing my September birthday and a light-blue aquamarine representing my mother's March birthday.
It took three of us to get Katie’s gown over her head without touching her hair or make-up. Susan and I helped with her footware. Matt's and Colin's getting-ready process was far simpler.
Occasionally, I texted Art to apprise him of our progress.
Matt and Colin returned to the cabin for the big “reveal” - the moment the groom sees his bride in her wedding attire for the first time. When they embraced, seeing the look of love in their eyes brought tears to my own.
Then it was off to the wedding site. Katie was alone in the back seat of Susan’s car, needing the space for her wedding gown. As we headed south, I texted Art. Like the other guys, he was relaxed, reporting he had fallen asleep. He started driving north to meet us.
Then the second bump occurred. As we neared the site, Matt got a call from Katie to see if the wedding rings were in his car. Caitlyn and Colin had called and said they didn’t have them. No one had them! So Caitlyn and Colin headed back to the lodge to look for them.
The rest of us proceeded to the parking lot near the site. Well-rested Art was already there when we arrived, holding his video camera and tripod.
The sun was shining with a temperature just above 80. A cool breeze kept us comfortable as we walked the dusty path lined with sage and wild flowers. The smell of pines filled the air. Once at the edge of the Snake river with the Grand Tetons in the background, we watched ducklings and their mother while Alex took photos of various family groups. Art commented what a nice spot it was for trout fishing.
Before long, Caitlyn and Colin came down the path - holding the ring boxes triumphantly above their heads!
Alex took more pictures and Art started the video camera. We were ready to begin. Mariya served as officiant and the couple shared vows they had written. We couldn’t help laughing when Mariya came to the part about the rings.
Whirlwind or not, the Grand Tetons, the Snake River, nice weather, a sweet ceremony, a few laughs, and a very happy couple made for a beautiful Wyoming wedding.
Left: groom-to-be Matt reads "How to Eat in the Woods" in preparation for the honeymoon; middle: bride-to-be Katie has her hair done by future sister-in-law Caitlyn; right: Mariya making bouquets and boutonnieres.
Husband and wife by the Snake River with the Grand Tetons in the distance.