People Out Loud: A priceless, perfect day

August 2014 Posted in Columnists & Opinion

dixonBy Dixon Bledsoe

The setting at Vanderbeck Valley Farms was perfect. The warm weather was softened by a cool breeze off of Butte Creek and shaded trees.

After 49,765 posts on Facebook, a houseful of decorations that soon became tripping hazards, many showers and some relatively calm bachelor/bachelorette parties, it was the day. Ethan Hupp and Briana Bledsoe were married Saturday, Aug. 9, and it came together beautifully. The bride was stunning and the groom dashing. More than 300 family and friends celebrated the event with the young couple – Ethan, a firefighter and paramedic, and Briana, a new nurse. The theme in the ceremony and subsequent toasts were that they both live their lives to help others.

The ceremony itself was poignant, somber and fun. It began with a parade of children that had direct ties to the couple – a God-Child in a classic red wagon, a little cousin ring-bearer carrying a fire helmet in honor of the groom. Six little darlings the bride had guided as a nanny over the years. An Elton John classic, Your Song, sung and accompanied by the talented Sarah Fronza and Gail Frassenei. Pastor Leah led the service and did a remarkable job keeping it on track despite the visible joy and audible giggling of the lady in white and the witty commentary of the happy groom.

Walking my daughter down the aisle is one of the highlights of my life. She looked incredible in her wedding dress that in no way will I attempt to describe. Guys just don’t know that stuff. She arrived to my arm in a classic antique car and while we thought our pace was perfect, it was duly noted that the song was only half done when we arrived at the arbor near the waiting groom.

When Pastor Leah asked me “Who gives this woman,” I replied, “Her family and I.” I thought about adding the Pepsi Co. as Briana has been its most ardent supporter, but thought better of it.  The vows were both serious and hilarious. The ones Pastor Leah had them recite were beautiful. The ones they wrote and spoke to each other were adorable and the guests enjoyed it immensely as they knew the couple had pegged each other perfectly. Seven years together will do that.

Dixon Bledsoe takes a moment to celebrate with his daughter, Briana Hupp. Photo by Kristine Thomas

Dixon Bledsoe takes a moment to celebrate with his daughter, Briana Hupp. Photo by Kristine Thomas

Wendy and Mike Burton had their farm, complete with a perfect new barn, meticulously prepared. Shirlene Bell did a wonderful job setting the scene with antique cherry-picking ladders adorned with vintage lights strung over the handmade French country tables built by Shirlene’s husband Rob.

Joel Autry’s catered dinner of the bride and groom’s favorite dish, gourmet Macaroni and Cheese with selected toppings, was delicious. Denice Seeger of Distinctive Designs helped Shirlene create a gorgeous scene with her floral arrangements.

There were a lot of creative things going on Saturday night – a vintage photo booth where guests could have their pictures taken. A strawberry-lemonade stand in the middle of a cool, shaded forest next to Butte Creek.  Milk and cookies (made by Barbara Keller) served well after the cake. Gourmet popcorn with a host of toppings. A gift to guests from the bride and groom – a CD of their “jam” consisting of their wedding music and favorite songs. A fire hose strung thorough the forest with pictures of the young couple attached. A gorgeous quilt handcrafted by the bride’s late grandmother, and pictures of the weddings of parents and grandparents alike.

One of my favorite moments was a dance floor packed with dancers and wannabe singers, belting out with the bride, Let It Go from the hit movie, Frozen.  It didn’t matter the age – everyone was singing and dancing. The little boy of five asking the little girl to dance was priceless. Their dance was even better.

To Jan and Cindy Hupp, thank you for all you did to make the event perfect, including but not limited to the incredible rehearsal dinner at 310 Water Restaurant. Mike and Dana Rich’s feast of prime rib and fresh salmon was amazing.

To Ethan, Lisa, Trevor and I are proud to have you become part of our family.  To Briana and Ethan – our very best to you. Enjoy your life together, don’t forget the grandbabies in a few years after you have time together as a couple, and thank you for being such blessings in our lives. Never forget the family and friends who love you, and the message from Pastor Leah’s “Wedding in a Bag.”  Laugh a lot, admit you are wrong when you are, and leave the things you cannot change alone.

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