I never would have imagined that a wedding to the most romantic, sweet, kind, caring, thoughtful, man would be published in “A Grand Wedding” magazine, the 2017 Edition. But much to my surprise, there we were, pages 68-71! Our story, our love, our wedding pictures, and mention of those who made it all possible!
I was a single mother, doing my very best to raise three young children on my own. I seemed to drown daily in all of the heartache, pain, trauma, sleepless nights, of recovering from 10 previous years of marriage gone “wrong”. I was working hard through each day running a home day care, and late into the night baking cakes for my cake business, I did not think that life would purposely bless me with the gift of a wonderful new man, a companion, best friend, soul mate to love and cherish for the rest of our existence together!
Fred was a single father, working hard to provide for his two daughters. Very busy with his work schedule, his daughters’ sporting events, and time with friends. He was a hard working man, always thinking of the needs of others, the guy people call up when they are in crisis, always lending a hand whenever he could. We were both busy, not on the lookout for a romantic relationship because of the high demands of our own children. But, as fate would have it, we met one beautiful sunny day in the summer of 2013.
Fred’s competitive tennis background adds to the serendipity of our chance encounter. He had not played competitively, coached, or picked up a tennis racket in 25 years. But, given his athletic ability, was asked to be the Tennis Pro at Teton Springs Country Club, where I was a sports camp director for kids and swim instructor. From the nearby tennis courts where Fred taught, he noticed my contagious smile while I was at work at the poolside. He stopped at the poolside, soaking up the sun one perfect afternoon. I was just finishing up work, he took the chance of saying “Hi!” And introduced himself. We spoke briefly by the poolside, I was sure to let this man know that I had three small children, in case he was getting any ideas. On our second encounter, Fred asked me to help run a tennis camp because he saw how patient I was with kids.
Soon, we were heading to the golf course for our first date. I was completely new to golf, but willing to learn. I was nervous and unsure about my golf swing. Fred was quick to “relax” me with a big kiss! I soon fell in love with Fred’s passion for life, his deep care for everyone he meets, his ability to draw out all of who I am, and willingness to help me reach my fullest potential. Fred fell in love with my outgoing personality, my determination to work hard, and the ability to help him think deeper about life in new ways. Our friendship continued to grow as we shared dinners together, many rounds of golf, hiking in the Tetons, and skiing on the slopes.
The magical day arrived, Fred proposed to me on March 3, 2015, at Grand Targhee ski resort. It was a very stormy winter day. Fred was determined that we head up to the mountain any way. Almost desperate that we “just had to go!” I was happy to go, but not with as much enthusiasm, given the weather conditions. We went on a few runs together to get our ski legs going. Next, Fred encouraged me to hike up to the top of Mary’s Nipple with him. The storm continued all around us. But, once we reached our destination, we stopped to enjoy a breathtaking view as the sky cleared in a circle of sunshine right above us.
Fred began to rummage through his coat pockets, pulled out some dark chocolate for me to eat. I started to think he was up to something! Fred then got to his knee expressing his love for me through the most beautiful, romantic, heart felt speech I had ever heard. He then offered me a gorgeous diamond ring, asking me to be his wife! I said, “Of course!! YES!!” My whole being swelling with love, with joy, with pride to become Fred’s wife. We shared a prayer of thanksgiving to God for joining our lives together. Then, floating back down the snow covered mountain as though on the clouds, living in a dream that we both knew was our new reality. Sharing a mutual love and respect with your best friend is an intensely wonderful feeling, and a must in hopes of remaining together for life.
I grew up in the gorgeous Teton Valley and Fred had moved to the valley in 2002. We both love the rugged beauty of this valley and adventuring out in the activities that the changing seasons bring.
A wedding with the Teton view, our favorite game of golf, and love for swimming made Huntsman Springs the perfect location for our wedding. A wedding in the summer with most of our family and many friends in attendance was our hope. We wanted the wedding to be full of sentiments from our experiences together and touches throughout the event from loved ones. A wedding where the marriages of others would be rekindled, renewed with hope, even inspired.
The ceremony was to take place under a hand crafted wooden arch that the groom and groomsmen made, to later be placed in the flower garden of our new Teton Valley home. At the Huntsman Springs poolside, 120 of our closest friends and family members witnessed our vows. The officiate was our Pastor Karlin Bilcher, from Church in the Tetons. The piano player was a piano student of my late grandfather, with flute accompaniment from my Uncle Alan. The saxophone solos were given by my cousin Isaac. We were gifted with Service-berry jelly wedding party favors, from the berry pickings at Teton Springs where we first met. We had a dear friend sing a rendition of “It Is Well”, while we took communion together; there was not a dry eye during the ceremony.
We were gifted with cake tasting and the perfect cake for us from a friend, through the Sugar Bakers Cakery. Every layer of cake was a different flavor and filling. Our graphic designer was Sarah White, my best friend from England, who was also in attendance. She designed the wedding announcements, RSVP cards, and thank you cards. A dear friend of Fred’s, Blue Bunch, provided his love of photography through gifts for the groomsmen. The lovely Teton View Lavender Farm, provided baskets full of lavender makings for the bridesmaids and close family. We also shared our favorite drinks, southern sweetened ice tea, and lavender lemonade.
Our color theme, bright sunflower yellow and a deep royal purple were chosen for the beauty of the wildflowers that cover the Teton Valley all summer long. I chose to order flowers of various shades of purple and yellow to create wedding boquets with close friends, my grandmother, mother, aunts, and bridesmaids. We had an incredible ladies day filling purple and yellow mason jars with flowers to be dangled from shepherds hooks down both sides of the isle. The bridal boquet, bridesmaids bouquets, boutonnieres, all created with the loving hands of family. A photo booth with an antique chest filled with outfits for guests to dress up in, was made ready in a cabana by the pool. Our Musicians and DJ took turns playing all evening while our guests enjoyed delicious hors d’oeuvres, dinner, and wedding cake.
The day would not be complete without a grand entrance on Ben, the horse, overlooking the golf course. But, due to the change in weather 15 minutes before the ceremony was to begin, the event was moved to the tent at the poolside and the six groomsmen brought guests and the wedding party in under umbrellas in the rain. I was blessed to have my four sisters, and my two new step-daughters as my bride’s maids. I was escorted by my father, who wore a suit entirely designed and sewn by my mother. Due to the rain and high heels, the golden wedding shoes were kicked off and I waltzed down the aisle barefoot, as my father held an elegant parasol over my head. It was all so perfect!
After the ceremony, Fred and I danced our first dance in the rain barefoot to, “You Are So Beautiful To Me.” Everything was picture perfect including a brilliant rainbow and stunning sunset. The photographer, Jamye Chrisman, capturing us in the glorious beauty of the evening. We then changed into our departure attire while the wedding party created a tunnel and lit sparklers for us as we departed. We then spent a luxurious night at one of the rustic log homes at Huntsman Springs. We celebrated with family having brunch the next day before flying to the honeymoon destination of Kauai, Hawaii, for one week of pampering at the Grand Hyatt followed by a second week at Hanalei Colony Resort, Hawaii. Including golf outings, yoga, long beach walks, snorkeling and ocean sunset dinners.
Throughout the year of planning for our special day, my Matron of Honor, my sweet sister, Diane, helped me with every single detail. Listening, talking, sharing, encouraging, me from long distance, in Hawaii. Diane was able to come stay with me one month before the wedding for all final preparations. And played a huge part in making the wedding day so successful.
Fred also shared in every thought and idea with me during our 14 month engagement. Fred was an incredible strength for me when I was exhausted from making decisions. I found it so comforting to know that Fred wanted me to have the wedding I always dreamed of and at the same time took part in every aspect with me from having my wedding ring engraved with the words, “My Angel, Love Fred”, the beautiful pearl necklace and earring set, to coming with me to taste over a dozen flavors of cake and fillings. Fred expressed to me that he would even love to have buttons all down the back of my wedding gown. I found an incredible seamstress to alter the design of my gown to perfection. Together we picked out the perfect departure gown for me and an ideal suit for him.
Fred faithfully bought me a bouquet of flowers with a thoughtful note each month, encouraging me and letting me know how deeply he cares for me. He listened to me for hours as I described details, going to meetings with me, and being my anchor. Fred is my dream come true and the man my heart has always longed for. Together we are stronger in who we are individually and in all we hope to accomplish together! Together with our five beautiful children we have a family of love, of joy, and strength even in the challenges, heart aches, and growing pains of life. Our bond and union in marriage has created something beautiful that we share each day with one another, our children, family, friends, and a great community!