Weddings August 4, 2008

Wedding Tips Volume 6

Ann McGree and J.D Graziano

Photo: Hillary Maybery

When J.D and Ann met at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, they had everything in common including a love of the outdoors and Midwestern roots. But their romantic timing wasn’t right until senior year. “We finally got together,” says Ann. “When we did, we knew it was forever.” 

J.D. proposed in the Rose Garden at Tacoma’s Point Defiance Park after graduation and the couple ultimately settled in Boise. A Sun Valley wedding was set for Feb. 24, 2006. “We both wanted a small wedding, and a winter wedding,” Ann explains. “It’s our season. We spend much of our time backcountry skiing together.” The day was a perfect mix of snow and sunshine. Since both are in grad school, there has been no time for a honeymoon yet, but they have plans for skiing on Mt. Fuji and touring Japan soon.

“If I could give one bit of advice, it would be not to get caught in the trappings of the wedding,” Ann says. “Use your time to enjoy your fiancé, family and friends and to contemplate the marriage. Enjoy every moment!” 

Tara Rushton and Cliff Toone

 Photo: Hillary Maybery

The Wood River High School cowgirl and the cowboy from Gooding High School met at the 2003 Hailey Fourth of July as rodeo queen and barrel racer, and bronc rider and steer wrestler. The match held as she went on to Boise State University and he to Montana State. In 2005, after a long day of cattle work, the pair took a mountaintop break. Cliff grabbed Tara’s hand across one horse’s behind. Thinking he was being playful, she jerked it back until

“I saw the shiny rock out of the corner of my eye.” Their engagement was spent preparing her parents’ yard for the wedding. “Every family member worked their fingers to the bone preparing for the day (Aug. 12, 2006),” Tara says. “I believe the most important thing to remember about preparing for a wedding is that you as a couple are truly planning a life together. The wedding is just the beginning,” the newlywed advises. “Insist on a few things that you absolutely have always dreamed of having and let everything else just happen. The day of, just go with the flow. If you expect perfection, you won’t enjoy the special moments of spontaneity.”

Lindsey Mahoney and Ian Jameson

 Photo: Kirsten Shultz

When Lindsey and Ian met the summer of 2002, she was working at Jameson Ranch Camp, a summer camp owned and run by his family in the Southern Sierra Nevada Mountains. They moved together to Idaho where she began working at Sagebrush Equine Training Center and he manages the YMCA’s indoor climbing gym in Hailey. They became engaged during Christmas and planned for a September wedding. Guests were coming from as far away as Spain and Japan for their Sept. 9, 2006, wedding set for Silver Creek Meadow north of Ketchum. But as the guests arrived, the sky opened up, let out a roar of thunder and poured rain and hail, forcing everyone to their cars. Eventually, when the sky did not clear, the whole party caravanned south to the reception site, Coolhand Ranch out East Fork where the night continued with “the most incredible energy and joy,” the couple recalls, advising flexibility in the face of challenges. “The rain only added to the experience!”

Maya Knapp and Mark Lovlien

Photo: Kirsten Shultz

Mark (from Bend, Oregon) and Maya (from Seattle) lived in Ketchum for three years before they met. She was starting Big Belly Deli and he was going to school in Boise. When he came back to ski and party with friends, they finally met at Whiskey’s. Eight months later they were engaged. Their Sept. 23, 2006, wedding at the Sun Valley Ranch in Bellevue had a love-the-outdoors theme with pumpkins lining aisles and baskets of green apples for centerpieces. Since he’s a fly-fishing devotee, each table was named for a fly; for example, woolly bugger. Their biggest tip for other couples: “Go away, just the two of you, the weekend before the wedding. Do not take your phones; do not mention one word about the wedding. Just be together and remember why you are doing this. The week of the wedding and the wedding day is so crazy and blurry that you often forget each other during that time since you have so much family and friends around.” Where did they go to get away? “Well, we went fishing.”

Regan Wilson and Thomas Ellsworth Nelson III

Photo: Thia Konig

They met while racing on opposing ski teams as freshmen, he at the University of Oregon, she at the University of Puget Sound. They met again five years later on a group bike ride in Portland. Tom proposed in Regan’s living room. “He started telling me about how much he loved me, and then ended up on one knee with a ring in his hand.” They were married on Aug. 26, 2006, at the Figge Barn, which Regan’s father had restored for Jim and Sandy Figge. With Baldy to the west, the Sawtooths to the north, paragliders overhead, and the beautiful bronze barn behind them, “it was exactly what I had envisioned as a perfect summer wedding in Sun Valley,” Regan says. “Enjoy the celebration. At what other point in your life will you have all of your favorite people together? Relax and have fun. If you put as much work into your marriage as you do into the wedding, you are sure to have a long life together!”

M.L. Cleary and Rob Anderson

Photo: Thia Konig

M.L.(Mary Lynn) moved to Sun Valley from Chicago in 2003 and dove right into a job with a local television station. It was while on assignment that she met her future husband. Rob proposed through an ad in an Oregon paper he’d said M.L. should check out for information on an antique fair. The celebration included a tennis tournament and barbeque before. The wedding itself was held on a beautiful, hot July 22, 2006, at Duffy Witmer’s estate. “The wedding was magical,” M.L. says. A three-piece ensemble played while the bride walked down the aisle escorted by her mother and father. The reception was held beneath a tent with tables covered with orchids. “Judith McQueen outdid herself with the food,” M.L. recalls. Drinks and hors d’oeuvres were served before a dinner of lobster ravioli and lamb. A singer from Seattle kept people dancing all night. This bride’s advice; “Work with people you trust and who take pride in what they do; they won’t let you down.”




This article appears in the Summer 2007 Issue of Sun Valley Magazine.