A Rocky Mountain Wedding
The scene: a mountain town about an hour north of Interstate 70. Meeker, Colorado. You exit in Rifle and take Government Road through town, starting and stopping through the main drag until everything opens up. Townscape transforms into landscape, with a canyonette dipping to your right-- shelved by grazing land and farm roads that twist about until they disintegrate into pasture.
You'll pass heavy trucks with horse trailers and heavy trucks without carrying sportsmen and sportswomen who long to feel a sense of wilderness in their hands; flyline in their fingers; the steel of a rifle warming under their palms; the buzzcut hide of an Appaloosa as it's reined. The odd man out is a wedding photographer with a Subaru full of photography equipment, a few changes of clothes and a radio playing anything but country music. I was heading to the wedding of Alice Chapman and Jared Harvey at Miller Creek Cabins, a wooded field bisected by the White River, complete with a pavilion and shaded groves- a perfect venue for an outdoor ceremony.
You may remember Alice and Jared from the blog I wrote on their engagement photos-- a sweet, outdoorsy couple that met in Meeker (pop. 2500) of all places. I learned that Jared first approached Alice because she was drinking some bland beer which almost a misdemeanor in Colorado, and ordered her "a real one" instead. Smooth, Jared. Real smooth. They had a lot in common. They found each other very attractive. They shared a love for nature and science and space and hiking and camping. I bet they talked about aliens a few times. They started hiking together, then mountain biking together, then they introduced their children and Alice started a blog about her journey into Motherhood -- it's really worth a look.
I wasn't sure how to describe the wedding day. Outdoor-chic? Plus craft beer. They lived close by, but everyone in the bridal party had a tent and sleeping bags and camped overnight right there on the property. I found out that some had been there for 2 days already helping to set up.
The ceremony was beautiful, and my bride and groom wasted no time signing the papers and starting the party right up. The sun set shortly after leading to all the good parts of a wedding. There were fireworks, dancing, dinner, more dancing, more fireworks, until it was just a group of determined bridesmaids and myself and our lovebirds. They built a fire and set out to deplete the kegs. Waste not, want not!
It went on into the night, well after the moon set. At some point, I put down my camera and joined them (after all, Alice is a dear friend of mine from high school, and I had put in a solid 9 hours of photography). It was cold. We bundled up in blankets and held our feet up to the fire. Alice's maid of honor kept a close eye on our cups and out of a self-imposed duty, brought more beer to anyone who needed it. They sat in a circle and laughed at stories. I sat next to Alice and Jared and smiled because call me a hopeless romantic, but that's what true love looks like.
We walked out into the field at some point, the three of us, because I wanted to take some long exposures of the night sky. We don't see the stars so clearly in Denver, and I didn't want to miss the opportunity. We were buzzed and giddy and talking about space and whether a certain star was Saturn or in fact Andromeda. We huddled together while my camera ran exposures and you could see our breath in the midnight air. We gazed and gazed at every star with indefatigable awe.
Our hearts and minds paused in awe, and intrigue,
at these violent giants that volley gentle beams
through the veiled gas upon us curious Earthlings.
We watched the light of the past dance with the light of our future, agape in the grandeur of it. What a beautiful night for a wedding.
"Congratulations, you guys," I said.