A wedding with heart

ktanner@thetribunenews.comJune 14, 2012 

The 2012 wedding season is yet another walk down memory lane for us. As professional bakers and caterers for more than 15 years, we were classified as “wedding professionals.” Let’s just say tactfully we’ve attended more than our share of nuptials.

However, one of the most incredibly well-planned and -executed wedding weekends was in Oregon nearly a year ago, when our grandson Dylan and his daughter Holden married the lovely bride Nicole.

What a difference a year makes, though. Nicole recently underwent heart-valve replacement surgery. Doctors say the procedure was totally successful, a result for which we all are deeply, profoundly grateful.

So this seemed a good time to finally answer the question many kind readers asked us last summer after our strange train trip to and from Portland: “But how was the wedding?”

The entire wedding weekend was a happy, family-reunion kind of gathering.

The hyper-organized bride, groom and daughter were wed in the lush 75-acre setting of the Camp Angelos summer camp along the Sandy River, at the foot of towering Mt. Hood near Portland.

The complicated, four-day celebration — from Thursday’s “rehearsal” dinner (even though there was no rehearsal that day) to the morning-after breakfast-and-cleanup on Sunday — served as a lesson about how much two amazing people can accomplish.

The two teachers plotted, organized and coordinated the entire event, preplanning for absolutely every contingency. With the help of family and friends, Dylan and Nicole did nearly all of it themselves.

The bride and groom organized sleepovers at the camp Friday and Saturday nights (requiring a huge stack of sleeping bags). They created a party around the outdoor, wood-fired pizza oven, two breakfasts, a lunch, a post-wedding dinner reception and three days worth of activities, from laser Frisbee at dusk to movies by the river and more.

Oh yes, and the wedding itself.

The bride and groom made decorations for the lodge, organized and set up areas for crafts, swimming, team sports and games, hiking, dancing and a photo booth.

Nicole even created a detailed series of spreadsheets on which she put the schedule and who was to do what, when!

Dyl and Nicole also had a matching wedding ring made for Holden, presented during the ceremony with all the pomp and circumstance of those for the bride and groom.

I’m exhausted just thinking about it all.

The bride and groom cooked much of the food for six meals, even down to the special herbed syrups for champagne cocktails. Dyl and a friend smoked and pulled about 80 pounds of pork, made vats and bins worth of salads, and steamed many pans of rice.

A friend made gumbo for 150 guests. Another friend baked the wedding “cake,” a series of individual fruit galettes. A chef buddy coordinated.

Dyl’s father (our son) Richard and the rest of our clan were cooking, too, in a … um … compact Residence Inn kitchen, where they made three kinds of flan and an incredibly light chili relleno casserole. On the wedding day, they helped Dylan scramble eggs and flip breakfast pancakes, then were constantly on the move, helping, organizing, arranging.

Granddaughter Chrissy and I got in up to our elbows, providing about 20 pounds of a light, chopped vegetable salad, which (because the weather was 96 degrees, clear and dry), we dressed in a light, very simple blend of limeade concentrate, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and a splash of hot sauce. The guests loved it, leaving only scraps at the end of the meal.

And there were all those endless sinks-ful of dishes to wash (Justin gets the award there).

The sun was shining and it wasn’t raining, so for Portland, even in record-breaking heat, as Dyl said, “it’s all good, Grandma.”

Our entire complicated trip, train ride and all, was totally worth it, if only to see that radiant smile on our grandson’s face, bright enough to light up the entire northwest corner of Oregon.

We’re so hoping Nicole’s heart surgery will be nothing more than a brief medical detour on their road to their magical, mystical life together.

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