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A Methow Valley wedding resource guide

Valley Vows 2013

A supplement to the Methow Valley News


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Valley Vows 2013

Valley Vows

Contents Reasons enough Why you should get married in the Methow ....................................4

Standing on ceremony


Where wedding traditions come from .................................................6


The long view Local couples talk about making marriage last ...................................8

New possibilities The Methow quietly welcomes same-sex marriages .....................10

CONTRIBUTORS Ashley Lodato Ann McCreary Teri Pieper Joanna Smith Marcy Stamper Kristin Wall Laurelle Walsh E.A. Weymuller

Location, location, location Photo by Kristin Wall

We now pronounce ...

A supplement to the Methow Valley News 101 N. Glover St., P.O. Box 97, Twisp, WA 98856 509.997.7011 FAX 509.997.3277

It would be difficult to cover the topic of marriage from beginning to end with a few stories and photos, but in this special publication – our annual Valley Vows supplement – we’re going to give it our best effort. We start with some of the basics – why the Methow is such a great spot to have a

wedding not only because of the scenery but also the wealth of event planning talent and facilities here – and then take a look at how some people have creatively stretched the concept of what a wedding looks like. Now that same-sex marriage is legal in Washington state, we explore how the Methow might attract even

The valley abounds with perfect spots ..............................................12

Directory of Advertisers....15

more nuptial events. Finally, we asked some local married folks who have managed to make it work for many decades just how they did it. We hope Valley Vows will provide inspiration for marriage celebrations throughout the coming year. –DN

Ú e

Cover photo by E.A. Weymuller

KC and Dan Wheeler’s wedding ceremony at Cub Creek in Winthrop.

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Valley Vows 2013

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By Ann McCreary


hy choose the Methow Valley for a wedding? People have a multitude of reasons, from sentimental to practical. So, in David Letterman style, here’s a countdown of the top 10 reasons to consider getting married in the Methow.

Reasons 10 enough: why to get married in the Methow

It’s remote. Tucked away on the east slope of the North Cascades, the Methow Valley is hours away from almost everything, which means it’s not easy to get here. So why is that a good thing for people getting married? To be brutally honest, it means that Crazy Great Aunt Gertrude from Cincinnati and all those second cousins just may not be able to make the journey all the way to the Methow. “Sometimes they come here to cut down on the guest list,” observed Claudia Napp, a local event planner and caterer. “Their wish is to do it the way they want, and not the way the parents want.”

Photo courtesy of Scott Dickerson

Newlyweds Emily and Kyle Lints floated on the Methow River from ceremony to reception. It’s remote, part 2. If the 9 valley’s remoteness keeps some people away from the wedding, it also means the people who do come tend to stay longer. Assuming the guest list includes the bride’s and groom’s favorite friends and family members, that’s a good

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thing. Weddings in the Methow often become a multi-day celebration, which bonds the wedding party and guests together. “I think that’s an attraction, in that it’s a destination,” said caterer and event planner Stewart Dietz. “People will carve out a little more time to stay and relax. Most of my clients make a couple days out of it.” Tara and Peter Filipovic said their wedding in the valley provided a retreat for guests. “My husband and I really wanted a weekend destination wedding where our families and friends could have some time to get to know each other, as opposed to your typical wedding, which only lasts a few hours and then everyone goes home or back to their hotel,” said Tara. There’s lots to do (besides at8 tend a wedding ceremony). With all those wedding guests

hanging around for days, there are plenty of ways for the wedding party and guests to entertain themselves in the Methow Valley. Whether they simply want to relax and enjoy the fresh air and views, or challenge themselves with more daring activities like rock climbing or whitewater rafting, the valley has lots to offer. Golfing, horseback riding, hiking, fishing, biking and skiing are among the easily accessible recreation opportunities. “Most of my clients are encouraging their guests to come

and enjoy the area. They want to share it, and make an event of it,” Dietz said. “The people that get married here are generally really outdoorsy,” said Steve Devin, who owns the Mazama Ranch House and hosts several weddings there each summer. “They’re climbers, they’re hikers, they love the mountains … and they all want to have a great party for their friends.” comparatively inexpen7 It’s sive. Getting married is usu-

ally not a cheap proposition, but it’s generally easier to hold costs down in the Methow Valley than in a big city. After all, you don’t have to rent a meadow if that’s where you choose to tie the knot. “Budget is a buzz-word for sure,” said Dietz. While there may be some expense involved in travel to the valley, getting married in a field or on a river bank is cheaper than a country club, even after renting a tent to dine in. Also, Dietz noted, brides and grooms are often quite involved in planning their Methow weddings, cutting down some of those costs. Many couples visualize getting married in a beautiful, exotic place, said Kathy Borgerson, of Sunflower Catering and Events. They find the Methow Valley can make that vision reality with minimal hassle and expense. “People are looking for that beautiful experience,”

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said Borgerson. “This is just so affordable and accessible to people. The memories are going to be the same as if you flew to Hawaii.” It’s chill. This is a place for 6 people who don’t necessarily need the glitz. Instead, they

are choosing a more mellow and less traditional approach to their wedding. “People want something that is more personal, more relaxed,” said Borgerson. Traditional weddings “are so fast-paced, organized and scheduled.” Jaime and Brandon Levy chose the North Cascades Basecamp for their wedding in June 2011. “Everything was so special and genuine, especially the people I dealt with,” Jaime Levy said. The couple chose to rent mountain bikes for the wedding party to ride along the Community Trail to the rehearsal dinner at Wesola Polana. Along the lines of nontraditional, consider arriving for the ceremony as one groom did in Mazama – paragliding into a meadow where his bride and the wedding party waited. The laid-back vibe of the Methow doesn’t mean couples can’t have elegance and tradition, if that’s what they want. “But it’s a different kind of formal. It’s 2013 formal,” Borgerson said. “They may have the perfect wedding dress, tuxedos and seven bridesmaids, but have casual dinner ware. They’re looking for the elegant wedding that’s going to make memories for a lifetime, but is not so rigid.” It’s got everything you need. 5 Despite its rural character, the Methow Valley has everything that a good wedding needs: Plenty of lodging for wedding guests, experienced wedding planners and caterers, locally grown food, florists, musicians, DJs, photographers, cake makers, even jewelers to make rings. “People love to be able to use local photographers, produce, meats,” said Borgerson, who uses local products whenever possible in her catering. Using locally grown food and serving beer and wine made in the valley helps hold down wedding costs, Dietz noted. “If people can tap into anything lo-

A personal connection to the 2 valley. Many people who choose the Methow Valley for

cally it saves them from hauling it over and puts money here in the valley,” she said. Sun Mountain Lodge, the Methow Valley’s four-star resort, caters the weddings held there, and wedding planner Mary Campbell said other services such as photography, music and flowers are usually provided by local talent. “I put our service providers in the Methow up against anybody,” she said.


It’s got four seasons. The Methow Valley boasts four distinct seasons, each offering a different backdrop for weddings celebrations. Summer is traditionally the most popular wedding season, and that holds true for the Methow Valley. The warm and colorful summer months lend themselves to outdoor celebrations. “Ninety-nine percent of my weddings are outside,” said Dietz. Autumn, with clear days, golden aspens and cottonwoods, and cool nights is also a great season for weddings in the valley. In spring the valley conjures up visions of the Alps,

Photo by Kristin Wall

There’s no season that’s prohibitive for a Methow Wedding. framed by snowcapped mountains. Hillsides and meadows burst with color, carpeted with yellow balsamroot, purple lupine, mariposa lilies and scarlet gilia. Winter offers its own special beauty and opportunities for unique weddings. One couple chose to transport the wedding party by horse-drawn sleigh from Sun Mountain Lodge to a nearby hilltop with a panoramic view of the surrounding snowcovered mountains. “They had hot chocolate and cider to warm up before the ceremony,” said wedding

planner Campbell. “The bridal sleigh took the bride and her father right to the top of the hill. The bride and bridesmaids wore Sorels under their dresses.” After the ceremony the party moved inside the lodge for the reception. location for 3 Aanywedding notion. On the banks

of river; in a flowery meadow; on top of a mountain; astride horses; in a canoe; on a suspension bridge; in a barn; in a hot-air balloon; on skis; on snowshoes; in a sleigh. The possibilities are limited only by imagination.

their wedding do so because they have a personal connection with this place. Some people have been coming here for years with their families; others discovered the valley while vacationing or visiting friends. When they think about where to celebrate something as significant as marriage, they are lured to the valley by those connections. “They have a sense of connection to the place. I’ve had people who have been guests at weddings. When they got engaged, they wanted to come back, ” Dietz said. “Even if they don’t have the personal connection to begin with,” Borgerson said, “they come over here and feel the connection, because people are so friendly and easy to work with, They think, ‘Wow, look what I’ve found, and now I’m sharing it with friends and family.’ People feel so welcomed to the valley.” beautiful. Really beauti1 It’s ful. Just look around. Z


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Standing on ceremony: where wedding traditions come from By Joanna Smith


raditional American weddings are timeless traditions with incredibly bizarre roots. Today’s weddings still carry over practices from a time when brides were fought over, like Helen of Troy, or traded as agreements between families. Happily, we’ve evolved as a people and weddings are friendlier affairs, with pastel mints and hearty rounds of the chicken dance. Two people meet, fall in love, and decide to throw a big shindig so they can get matching dishes and a washer/dryer set. The traditional ceremony is still in full swing, with a few improvisations for the modern couple.

What to wear? white, cream, ivory or …

Before 1840, brides wore all of their best clothes (all of them, at the same time) to get married. The bride would waddle up to her groom in a layered ensemble of fur, silk and velvet

to show off her wealth. The dress was rarely if ever white, and most commonly black. The floral bouquet pulled double duty – something for the nervous bride to hold, and it hid the faint scent of BO that wafted up through all those layers on a warm spring day. All that changed with Queen Victoria’s wedding to Prince Albert in 1840. Fashion trendsetter and British monarch, Vickie broke all the rules when she glided down the aisle in a pure white satin gown trimmed in lace and orange blossoms. The crowd gasped in amazement and from then on frumpy black dresses layered with furs were tossed aside in favor of the elegant slimming look of white satin. Today, many brides wrap themselves in ivory or cream, but others like to add a splash of color beyond flowers and accessories. The modern couple may choose a favorite color,

When it comes to the bridal gown, nearly anything goes – it’s all up to the individual fashion tastes of the happy couple. Something old, something new, Something borrowed, something blue And a sixpence in my shoe

Photo by Krisitn Wall

Wedding dresses were once dark and dreary. such as lilac, or maybe coral is the best hue to compliment her skin tone. Maybe it’s a theme wedding and everyone is in costume – imagine an entire wedding party dressed up as … well, just about anything.

A number of English Victorian customs are tucked neatly into this verse. When worn in combination, these items were believed to shower the newlyweds with good luck. Originally, these were meant purely for the bride’s ensemble, but many couples have chosen to use this phrase as a guide for whole ceremony. Something old ties the couple to their family and past, and something new represents their new union. Some couples opt to include framed photographs of family marriages through the generations in

their ceremony or reception. Pieces of jewelry passed down through the family, like a watch, brooch, or necklace, are commonly worn. The “something new” may refer to a new article of clothing or jewelry. The item borrowed was supposed to be taken from someone who was already a successfully married wife, so as to pass on a bit of her good fortune to the new bride. So, keeping this in mind, whatever item is borrowed, make sure it’s from another happy couple so you can benefit from all that good relationship mojo. For people in the Victorian ages, the color blue represented faithfulness, loyalty and purity. Anything goes for an item of blue, just make sure it’s not the face of a nervous groom who forgot to breathe. The sixpence brought the bride and her new groom prosperity. Some brides stick a penny in their shoe, but this can lead to painful blisters. So,

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Valley Vows 2013

of the bride. And that is why bridesmaids now wear formal dresses in bright colors with shoes dyed to match. Today, more and more couples are choosing their best friends, regardless of gender or agility with a sword, to stand in the most honored places as witnesses to their union.

tape it onto the heel, or better yet, place a money tree next to the guest book. Consider a message in the invitations, “Please, no gifts. We could really use cash to pay off our college loans and put a down payment on a house.”

Groomsmen and bridesmaids

The wedding party originally was a band of men wielding swords and other sharp pointy weapons. These warriors were friends of the groom and stood ready lest the bride’s family caused any trouble. They aided in the kidnapping of the bride and stood guard next to the groom during the exchange of vows in case her family disapproved of the union. The groomsmen would then keep watch at the bedroom door throughout the night, in case anyone should attack or if the bride made a run for it. Now that we’ve evolved into a gentler and less creepy society, today’s role of best man has been reduced to throwing the bachelor’s party, keeping the ring safe and

Who gives this woman …

Men didn’t always wear wedding rings. ensuring the groom shows up to the ceremony on time and dressed appropriately. The best man is free to leave after the ceremony and if he’s single, hook up with a pretty bridesmaid instead of standing guard at the honeymoon suite. Thank goodness for progress! The role of the bridesmaid has always been to help the bride get dressed for the ceremony. It’s near impossible for one person to wiggle into 20 pounds of satin, lace and beading all by themselves. That’s

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right, 20 pounds – the average weight of a wedding dress. And that’s not even counting the girdle, which is impossible to lace up without at least six hands and several knees. In the superstitious past, the bridesmaids were dressed to look like the bride, to avert attention from evil spirits or jealous ex-lovers who might be prone to throwing rocks and mud at a wedding procession. At some point in history, someone decided that the bridesmaids should match the floral arrangements instead

The next time you tear up watching a beaming father walk his little girl down the aisle, just remember that the action is a tiny, barbaric holdover from the days when daughters were considered property. Young women were used to pay off a debt to a wealthier landowner, or symbolized a sacrificial peace offering to an opposing tribe, or were used to buy the family’s way into a higher social circle. The practice of fathers walking daughters down the aisle has evolved into a more sentimental meaning, a father acknowledging that his daughter is joining another family. He is passing her well being into the hands of someone else. For many, times have

 

changed. More and more couples are opting to have a ceremony that reflects their intimate commitment to each other, supported by a whole host of people. A couple may choose to walk down the aisle together, or meet halfway. Wedding officiators can ask, “Who blesses this wedding?” instead of the archaic, “Who gives this woman away?” The whole wedding party responds to the question of blessing with, “We do!” as a communal show of support for the happy couple. The couple should consider the ceremony a reflection of their life together and how they want to remember that one small moment.

A rose by any other name … smells like garlic

In early ceremonies, strong-smelling herbs made up the wedding bouquet: garlic scapes, thyme and dill were all believed to ward off evil spirits. Over time, the bouquet evolved to floral blossoms. Roses are the flower of romance, and remain the predominant choice in wedding bouquets. But like any other aspect of the wedding, choose the flowers that best represent who you are as a couple. Maybe it’s a bouquet of wildflowers, or a simple yet elegant gathering of calla lilies. Some couples opt for silk flowers so they can keep the bouquet forever; others prefer real blossoms for the ceremony.


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Early wedding rings were simple circular bands made from hemp, grasses or string. The ring represented two halves coming together to create a whole. The circle signified eternal love and devotion, the center hole was the gateway to the future. More permanent wedding bands were later made of leather, followed by ivory until the discovery of metal. Irish couples of old insisted on gold bands, as other materials were believed to be bad luck. Not everyone could afford the precious metal, so gold rings were borrowed from the church for the service and returned immediately after the ceremony. See TRADITIONS on P. 14

Valley Vows 2013

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The long view: making a marriage last By Ashley Lodato


he secret to a long marriage?” an old joke asks. “Don’t get divorced.” Glib, no doubt, but couples who follow that basic guideline will find themselves married long past their gold (50th), emerald (55th), and even diamond (75th) anniversaries. While each unhappy marriage may be unique in its unhappiness, a random sampling of happily long-married Methow couples reveals a surprising number of similarities, making an argument that there are some common key components to long and happy unions. The first of these seems to be accepting the fact that marriage – like any other truly meaningful endeavor – is not a thorn-free bed of roses. “It’s not really a secret,” says Winthrop’s Shirley Honey, who has been married to her husband, Ray, for 56 years. “Marriage has its ups and

you need to anticipate that downs. You enjoy the ups it’s not always going to be and deal with the downs.” perfect,” she says. The aptly Dave and Dee Schulz of named Honeys are of the Twisp, married nearly 54 same mind. “Divorce was years, echo this conviction. never even an option we “You just know there are goconsidered,” says Shirley. ing to be challenges and you “We made our commitment deal with them,” says Dave. and knew we would work “You know it’s going to be it out.” work; you just work it out. That’s the main ingredient Attitudes changed to a solid marriage.” Societal attitudes toward Eliot Scull of Winthrop divorce were different half and Wenatchee claims that Photo courtesy of the Honeys a century ago, too. Art and his motto about his 45-year marriage to his wife, Tina, Ray and Shirley Honey cut the Grace Nordang say of their wedding vows nearly 65 is “always a work in prog- cake 56 years ago. years ago: “Divorce was so ress.” He laughs, “Our first trust each other and you work uncommon in our day that date was literally a walk in you just didn’t consider it. the park, but Tina knows that out your differences.” “When you say ‘I do,’” Things had to be pretty seriI never promised her a rose continues Dave Schulz, “you ous for you to get divorced, garden.” Bob Tonseth of Methow – need to stick with that, through and if you did divorce your life who married Fanny almost 54 sickness and health and all the wasn’t necessarily very good years ago – puts it more bluntly: things that challenge a marriage afterwards; there was quite a “Anybody who says that their even more. You need to stick stigma.” Divorce these days is, marriage has had absolutely with your vows.” Tina Scull agrees. “Before however, an option currently no problems is lying. It’s not all sweetness and light. But you you make that big commitment, exercised by many. In the United

States, as in many developed countries, nearly 50 percent of marriages end in divorce. Broken down by number of marriages, however, the figures are even more sobering, with 41 percent of first marriages failing, 60 percent of second marriages breaking up, and a staggering 73 percent of third marriages ending in divorce. With the statistical odds against them, how have these local couples weathered so many years of marital bliss? It hasn’t all been bliss, most of them agree. But all bliss is not necessarily a good thing, says Rayma Hayes, married to husband, John, for 39 years. “You’ve got to have a little bit of heat if you want passion,” says Rayma. “Sometimes that fire is a good thing.” “I used to look at couples who seemed so harmonious together, who never seemed to disagree about anything, and I wondered why we couldn’t be like that,” continues Rayma. “Now they’re all divorced. John and I, we used to bicker, but we’ve learned to be more tolerant of each other and respect our differences.” Like the Hayeses, the other long-married couples agree that accepting each other’s differences is an essential ingredient to a healthy marriage. “We have both learned to be much more tolerant of each other,” says Eliot Scull. “You have to be willing to bend.” “You just overlook the little things,” says Shirley Honey. “Those things don’t really matter in the end. No one is perfect.” She laughs, “Although Ray did finally learn to put the cap on the toothpaste,” a trace of humor evident in her tone. Eliot Scull is adamant that humor is critical to a good marriage, which resonates with Bob and Fanny Tonseth, who say “Life needs a little fun.” The Tonseths, whose playful banter with each other hints at a house filled with loving laughter, claim “You should never grow up entirely.” Bob, in particular, seems to subscribe in earnest to this motto, teasing Fanny that he never would have married

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her had he known her father was such a poor shot. Humor, trust, tolerance, respect: the list of key ingredients to successful marriages reads like a list of desirable human character traits. Tina Scull adds, “Patience and understanding – you just couldn’t have a strong marriage without those qualities.” For couples like the Honeys, who began dating in high school in the Methow Valley, married shortly after, and moved to Los Angeles where they knew not a soul, the patience and understanding necessary for an enduring marriage was something they discovered and created together as they struggled to build a life for themselves. “We were just two young kids trying to figure it out,” says Shirley Honey. “We didn’t have a dime from anybody; we were both very independent. We knew what it was like to go without. We grew up together and grew closer as we faced all the challenges of establishing ourselves as adults.” Art Nordang agrees. “Grace and I came from farm and orchard families at the tail end of the Depression. We never went hungry, but we both knew what it meant to work hard, and we continued to work hard together as a young married couple. The tough times bonded us. If I had married some spoiled little gal, it never would have lasted.”

Photo courtesy of the Schulzes

Dee and Dave Schulz are nearly 54 years past walking down the aisle. “We had a great time raising our kids together,” says Shirley Honey. “We agreed on child rearing and it was very rewarding.” The Tonseths agree: “You get back what you invest in your kids.” “You establish traditions by raising kids,” says Dave

Schulz, “and these traditions become an important part of your marriage.” “Raising our kids was one of the most significant things we shared,” agrees Tina Scull. “Eliot and I have built all these memories together, and so many of them involve our children. Doing things with kids

is very bonding.” Eliot adds, “And we’ve survived the kids’ leaving, which is typically a very hard time in a relationship. Our kids went off to college and careers and we’re just these grey-haired people looking at each other. And I still think Tina is pretty cute.” Touching on one of the topics addressed by many of the couples, Eliot talks about finding the balance between shared interests and healthy independence. “If you’re fundamentally compatible and you have the ability to grow together,” he says, “that’s the basic foundation. Then it’s OK to have some different needs. You should still enjoy doing things together, but it’s OK to need space, too.” That’s where the trust comes in again, says Bob Tonseth. “If you trust your spouse, you don’t worry when you have different interests. You share some things, some you don’t.” Rayma Hayes concurs. “The secret is marrying someone who shares your fundamental beliefs and ideals. You can learn to live with everything else.”

“Our goals were always the same,” says Shirley Honey. “Ray and I were different people, but those shared goals helped us create a good life for ourselves.” Whether it’s children, faith, or a community, many couples agree that outside support is critical to lasting marriages. “Love has so many facets,” says Tina Scull, “and part of sustaining your love for each other rests on your circle of friends and on your family. You have all this history with them and they support you. They help tie your marriage together.” Says Art Nordang, “Your community keeps you lined out in the right direction.” “We’ve prayed together and stayed together,” says Dave Schulz, “and God’s love shining through us has helped keep our marriage strong.” He adds a sentiment echoed by the Honeys – that by trying to be a good example for their children, he and his wife put forth their best selves, which makes them stronger as a couple. Do these golden anniversary couples have any advice See MARRIAGE on P. 14

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Page 9

The Methow quietly welcomes same-sex marriages


hile the right for gays to marry in Washington is a major cultural shift for the couples themselves, with more than 100 pairs tying the knot in Seattle as soon as it was legal, ripples from the new law have been barely perceptible among wedding venues and caterers in the Methow. “We’re in a political bubble here in Seattle, but we’re not quite as sure how comfortable hosts and vendors will be in the rest of the state,” said wedding and event coordinator Kristen Tsiatsios of Seattle-based Jubilee Event Engineers, who got married in the Methow several years ago. “It is important to show that the Methow Valley is also celebrating.” For same-sex couples who want to marry – for emotional, practical, legal or other reasons – the hard-won right is lifechanging, guaranteeing more than 1,200 legal and economic

By Marcy Stamper protections for the couples and their children, among them the ability to visit a spouse in the hospital, to take family leave time to care for an ailing spouse, or to transfer property. But when it comes to the ceremony and the party, the new law may not really make much of a difference. “I say it’s a non-issue,” said Kathleen Jardin, co-owner of Central Reservations, a service that helps people find lodging and venues for events in the Methow. In fact, Jardin speculated that treating one group of customers differently could risk alienating them. Venues that host weddings in the Methow have not altered their marketing or approach, although as soon as the law passed, many received solicitations from groups offering to help them capitalize on the new business, said Geof Childs, sales manager at Sun Mountain Lodge.

Photo by Ashley Lodato

Frequent valley visitors Jennifer Albright, left, and Carmen Gutierrez were married at Seattle City Hall on Dec. 9. Sun Mountain’s advertising budgets were already set and they typically do not do any special marketing for weddings, said Mary Campbell, wedding planner for the Lodge. In fact, most wedding business comes to them, said Campbell. She said they have

put together several proposals for gay couples planning commitment ceremonies over the years. Still, said Campbell, “It’s a great market – if you’re trying to get business into the valley, it’s a clientele that hasn’t been tapped into.”

While the ceremony and party may be no different, facilities, caterers and florists want to reassure a couple that they will be comfortable working with them. That could be particularly important in Okanogan County, where voters rejected the referendum by 61 to 39 percent, even though support in the Methow was high, with a 17-point margin of approval (statewide, it was just 6 percentage points). Loreli Barks, a wedding planner and officiant with Heart 2 Heart Weddings in Tacoma, noted that having an intermediary with vendors can be helpful for couples who feel shy or do not know how their relationship will be received. She has compiled a list of gayfriendly venues and suppliers over the years, and many more have added their names since the law changed. In larger areas, there are photographers who cater to

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Valley Vows 2013

gay couples, but in the Methow it would be a niche market, said Twisp photographer Teri Pieper, who has photographed numerous weddings and commitment ceremonies here over the past several years. Pieper said she appreciates the uniqueness and the universality of weddings. “One of the things I really like – and find touching – about all weddings is the involvement of family and friends in support, saying, ‘We’ll help you stay together,’” said Pieper.

Conducting the ceremony

Outside his job at Sun Mountain, Childs officiates at weddings, one of thousands ordained through the Universal Life Church, which bestows the necessary legal status through its website. “I would be happy to officiate. I’ve talked to many long-term couples I know and told them, ‘If you want to make a commitment, I would be more than happy to do it,’” said Childs. Kelly Donoghue of Carlton also offers his services as

an officiant. “I think there’s a lot I can bring to the table in terms of thought and emotion,” he said. “In my heart, I’m a preacher anyway. And I can do cowboy weddings – I can ride a horse.” While some of Tsiatsios’ gay clients got married years ago, not caring whether it was legal, now that the law has changed, many same-sex couples who have been together for decades are considering marriage for the first time. “It really is momentous – it’s history,” she said.

Washington state

Photo by Teri Pieper

Washington is one of nine states (plus the District of Columbia) where same-sex couples can get married, and one of only three where the states’ voters affirmed that right in a referendum. On the other hand, while 20 states offer some recognition for domestic partnerships or civil unions for gays, state laws or constitutions in 39 states outlaw same-sex marriage or restrict other forms of recognition for same-sex relationships, according to

Gary Ford and Chris Schneider held their commitment ceremony in the Winthrop Barn. the American Civil Liberties Union. In Washington, marriage licenses are issued at the county level, but people do not have to live in the county (or get married in the county) where they obtain the license (nor even be a resident of Washington). Since the new law went into effect on Dec. 6, Okanogan County has issued 14 marriage

licenses, fewer than half to same-sex couples. On the other hand, while you do not have to live in Washington to get married, there is a residency requirement to obtain a divorce in the state. The new law also has a provision that automatically converts registered domestic partnerships to marriage as of June 30, 2014, unless one mem-

ber of the couple is 62 or older or the couple is in the process of dissolving the partnership. Couples with registered partnerships can also apply for a marriage license before that date and get married. In addition to the protections and privileges afforded by marriage in Washington, the status confers legal responsibilities, such as liability for a spouse’s debts. In Washington, both spouses or domestic partners are legally presumed to be the parents of any children born during their marriage or within a registered domestic partnership, but these parental rights are not respected by all states. In fact, some states and countries allow adoptions by single parents but not by samesex couples, so people could find it difficult or impossible to adopt if they do get married. The federal Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits gay marriage (thereby denying federal benefits such as Social Security and immigration rights to married same-sex couples) is currently being reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court. Z

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he Methow Valley offers spectacular backdrops for wedding ceremonies, from snow-capped peaks to rolling uplands, verdant fields to crystalline rivers, quirky towns and rustic barns. No wedding can have it all, but it’s safe to say that the valley presents boundless options for a gorgeous ceremony under – or in – the sky. Three couples who made it official in “quintessentially Methow” locations kindly shared their stories with the Methow Valley News.

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Sue and John Glenn of Puyallup chose to tie the knot in the skies above the Methow Valley last March during the 2012 Balloon Roundup. “I had flown once before in Gallup, N.M., and had been telling the family we were going to get married in a hot air balloon,” Sue explained. “John – bless his heart – went along with me.” The pair had considered going to a Justice of the Peace, but wanted something more memorable, Sue said. Both

By Laurelle Walsh had had traditional church weddings before, and with elderly parents and family members scattered around the country, a private and personal ceremony held strong appeal for them. John even made up new lyrics to the tune of “Going to the Chapel” for the event: “Gettin’ in a big balloon and gonna get married, Gettin’ in a big balloon and gonna get married, Gee, I really love you and we’re gonna get married, Married in a big bag of gas!” After deciding on a balloon wedding, they did some online research and found Captain Crystal Stout of Sequim-based Morning Star Balloons, who has officiated five weddings in the balloon “Diamond Sun.” “There is not one type of couple who looks to get married in a hot air balloon,” Captain Crystal said. “Doing something extraordinary as you commit yourself to the one you love,” is a “wonderful way to start your married

life,” she mused. Captain Crystal, who has been coming to the three-day Winthrop Balloon Roundup for many years, suggested it as a backdrop for Sue and John’s event. She and her husband and first mate, Don, also arranged lodging for the newlyweds at the Firefly cabin in Mazama, prepared a gourmet breakfast and “delighted us with a delicious wedding cake and champagne,” Sue said. A front was rolling into the valley on the cold Saturday morning planned for the wedding, and most of the dozen balloons at the Roundup opted not to launch. “When we found out we were only able to ascend to around 30 feet due to weather conditions, we decided we would still get married as long as it was safe,” said John. The Morning Star crew inflated the turquoise-whiteand-black “Diamond Sun” in the parking lot of the Friendship Alliance Church, and tethered it to parked vehicles. John, bundled in regulation black fleece, helped Sue, adorned in a floor-length

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Valley Vows 2013

agree. The hut itself provided just enough comfort for the bride’s preparations, while the remote-yet-accessible location appealed to their sensibilities. About 30 guests carpooled or rode bikes over U.S. Forest Service roads and walked a short distance to the hut perched at 4,100 feet above the valley, overlooking Virginia Ridge and the North Cascades. With Mt. Gardner as a backdrop, they exchanged vows of “love, care, concern and respect” beneath an archway of fresh-cut boughs festooned with homegrown flowers, accompanied by guitar and voice. Returning to town for the reception, they and around 120 guests enjoyed a catered dinner and danced late into the evening to local musicians in the Barn. “Having a great site for the reception was super important to us,” said Celeste. “We wanted what would work and be fun for everyone.”

A union at the rivers

Photo by Laurelle Walsh

Captain Crystal with Sue and John Glenn during the Glenn’s balloon nuptials. white satin coat and matching faux fur toque, climb into the balloon’s basket. The tethered balloon rose above the little log church and Sue and John took turns firing the burners to keep it aloft during their vows. A video drone operated by Roswell Test Flight Crew filmed the ceremony that ended with a flourish – a long, purple “Just Married” banner unfurled by the newlyweds from the edge of the basket. Although they didn’t really get to fly the day of their wedding,” We did fly the next day,” said Sue. “Breathtaking, absolutely breathtaking! There is such a calmness ... when ballooning, going with the breeze, touching the top of a tall pine, the glistening of the snow from up high.” Neither John nor Sue consider themselves particularly adventurous – “we probably won’t be bungee jumping anytime soon,” said John – but since their wedding they have

joined the Olympic Peninsula Balloon Club and begun crewing for Morning Star. The Glenns plan to return to Winthrop in March to celebrate their first anniversary at the 2013 Balloon Roundup.

A wedding with a view

Celeste and Kip Roberts share an ethic of living lightly on the land, with a handcrafted solar-powered home and sustainable food garden just outside the town of Winthrop. The values of simplicity and care for the environment were also clearly reflected in their June 2006 wedding at Gardner Hut, followed by a reception at the Winthrop Barn. “We wanted a low-impact, private and small ceremony, while still bringing the community and our friends to a larger party,” Celeste said. Gardner Hut, one of five rustic, off-grid cabins in the Rendezvous Hut system, “was the perfect site” for the intimate ceremony, the Robertses

The August 2009 wedding of Emily and Kyle Lints took place at a location that fit their requirement of “something kind of adventurous, outdoorsy and meaningful for us,” at the confluence of the Methow and Chewuch rivers in Winthrop. The two had considered the top of a mountain, a ski hut in winter, and on horseback in the Pasayten Wilderness, but they agreed they needed a place “all of our family members could come to,” said Kyle, including guests with mobility challenges. They had around 200 guests on their list, some coming from the east coast and Alaska, and many friends and family in the Methow Valley whose assistance with preparations helped keep wedding costs down. Emily was raised in the Methow, while Kyle hails from Homer, Alaska. Together they run a commercial fishing operation based out of Homer, but “were more Methow-based at the time of the wedding,” Emily said. Having decided on the rivers’ confluence for the ceremony, the next logistical See LOCATION on P. 15

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Page 13

TRADITIONS from P. 7 For centuries, it was believed that the vein of love, vena amoris, led directly to the heart from the third finger on the left hand. Although the vena amoris was later disproved, people continued the custom of wearing the wedding band on the third finger. For a short period during the Elizabethan era the wedding ring was worn on the thumb. Men did not wear wedding rings until 1940s America, when young soldiers were shipped off to World War II, and people wanted a symbol of a lasting relationship and commitment. The ring was a reassuring reminder of the loved one at home waiting for them. The tradition of trading rings as a sign of commitment continues today. Both men and women exchange rings, and active couples choose to wear their rings in a variety of ways: from a chain around the neck to a tattoo on the vena amoris.

Garter and bouquet toss

Long ago and far away,

after the bride and groom said, “I do,” they disappeared immediately into a nearby room and consummated the marriage. Maybe they couldn’t wait. Maybe the in-laws wanted grandkids ASAP. At any rate, couples were expected to waste no time and get down to the business of procreation. To make the marriage official, there had to be witnesses to the act. Wedding guests “helped” the couple get started by grabbing at the bride’s dress and tearing bits of it off. People eventually came to their senses and decided to give the poor newlyweds some well-deserved privacy. The bride would toss her bouquet as a diversion. The groom could simply remove an item of the bride’s undergarments and toss it back to the waiting throngs to prove that he was about to seal the deal. In time, the happy couple decided to get their revenge on those grabby throngs of people and instead turn these two acts of barbarity into a whimsical tradition of humiliation. All

the desperate single ladies are expected to fight over a small bundle of wilted stems and petals while the single guys get to jump in the air and try to capture a small bit of sweaty elastic.

Tossing rice

Guests of yore would shower the retreating newlyweds with nuts and grains to insure a bountiful harvest. During years of a poor harvest, rice was tossed instead. This tradition continues today with rice or birdseed to wish happiness on the newlyweds. Rice and birdseed can make a slippery path, so other less perilous choices are flower petals, lavender buds, bubbles, confetti … anything that will make a marvelous mess of a perfectly coifed newly wedded couple. Whatever wedding traditions you choose, add your own twist so that the ceremony is truly one that reflects your relationship. Remember, it’s not old English Victorians that are going to look back on your wedding, you are! Z

Beautiful Chewuch River setting for your Methow wedding Access to house is available

Call 509 996-2088 for info & to see property

MARRIAGE from P. 9 for newly married couples? “You can’t hold a marriage together on passion and sex alone,” says Eliot Scull. “That continues, believe it or not, but not in the same way. So you also have to be loving, and tolerant, and not too selfish.” “Don’t expect too much too soon,” caution the Tonseths. “Start with nothing and work your way up. Don’t put yourselves in debt for material possessions; it will put an incredible strain your marriage early on.” The Nordangs reiterate this, noting that one of their greatest triumphs together as a young married pair was over time saving up enough money to buy a refrigerator. Rayma Hayes advises, “Hang in there through the tough parts. Let the little things go. Try to get back to the roots – find that person you love.” “Forgive the little things,” says one sage anonymous contributor. Then, thinking for a moment, he laughs, providing words of wisdom that are perhaps the only true secret to a long marriage: “And then forgive the big things.” Z


As you plan for your lives together, know that we are working hard to ensure that the natural beauty, working farmlands, and clean flowing rivers that have drawn you to the Methow Valley are protected for future generations, forever. A wedding gift made in your honor to the Methow Conservancy or another local nonprofit organization is a special way to ensure that what you love about the Methow Valley endures.

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Valley Vows 2013

LOCATION from P. 13 challenge was obtaining access for themselves and their guests. Getting people through the Forest Service compound and onto an island would require a bridge, not to mention a shoreline permit. Emily’s father, Ernie Chenel, had wanted to deliver the bride to the ceremony by boat, but then they worried about tipping over downstream of the Barn. The solution was to access the river via Spring Creek Ranch, a vacation rental property across the river from downtown Winthrop that hosts weddings and family reunions year-round. The wedding party and guests walked a mowed path across a grassy field, directed by Ernie’s Burma Shave-style signs, and over a white-painted wooden bridge built by Kyle and Ernie that spanned Spring Creek. After exchanging vows at the river’s edge, Kyle and Emily stepped into an eightfoot wooden pram built by Kyle and his father, Paul. The guests showered them with flower petals as the bride and groom pushed off for a 45-minute float – complete with chocolate and wine – to the reception at a private home downstream. The shallows and riffles they negotiated along the way, “were symbolic of marriage,” noted Emily, smiling at the memory. Z

Contact information • Morning Star Balloon Company,, (360) 601-2433 • Ren d ez v ou s Huts,, 9962148 • Winthrop Barn, www.winthropbarn. com, 996-2117 • Spring Creek Ranch, www.spring, 996-2495

Photo by Teri Pieper

Directory of Advertisers Artists, Artisans Bruce Morrison....................... 6 Peligro Metal Studio.............. 5

Dining, cont. Sun Mountain Lodge............. 3 Twisp River Pub..................... 4

Bakeries Cinnamon Twisp Bakery..... 10 Mazama Store......................... 3 Rocking Horse Bakery........... 7

Entertainment/Musicians DJ Noah................................... 5

Banquet/Reception Facilities Brown’s Farm........................ 13 Mazama Country Inn............ 7 North Cascades Basecamp ....10 Pipstone Canyon Ranch.......11 Spring Creek Ranch............. 12 Sun Mountain Lodge............. 3 Twisp River Pub..................... 4 Twisp Valley Grange.............. 9 Winthrop Barn Auditorium.....5 Catering Rocking Horse Bakery........... 7 Stewart Dietz Catering.......... 9 Sunflower Catering ............... 4 Contractors JA Wright Construction......... 6 Dining Cinnamon Twisp Bakery..... 10 Mazama Country Inn............ 7 Mazama Store......................... 3 Rocking Horse Bakery........... 7 Stewart Dietz Catering.......... 9

Event Planners & Consultants Fawn Meadow Design......... 12 Methow Wedding.................. 8 Stewart Dietz Catering.......... 9 Sun Mountain Lodge............. 3 Flowers & Floral Designers Fawn Meadow Design......... 12 Gifts & Party Supplies Methow Conservanc ........... 14 Jewelry & Jewelers Peligro Metal Studio.............. 5 Local Goods Cinnamon Twisp Bakery..... 10 Rocking Horse Bakery........... 7 Lost River Winery.................. 8 Mazama Store......................... 3 Twisp River Pub..................... 4 Lodging Brown’s Farm........................ 13 Central Reservations............ 16

Lodging, cont. North Cascades Mountain Hostel.................................. 6 Spring Creek Ranch............. 12 Sun Mountain Lodge............. 3 Timberline Meadows Lodges................................. 9 Twisp River Suites.................. 2 Non-Profit Organizations Methow Arts Alliance............ 2 Methow Conservancy.......... 14 Photographers & Videographers Celebrations Videography.....11 Lifesong Photography........... 6 Reflected Light Photography...................... 9 Weymuller Photography..... 12 Radio KTRT...................................... 14 Recreation Bear Creek Golf Course......... 6 Lost River Winery.................. 8 Rehearsal Dinner Facilities Mazama Country Inn............ 7 Spring Creek Ranch............. 12 Sun Mountain Lodge............. 3 Twisp River Pub..................... 4

Rehearsal Dinner Facilities, cont. Twisp River Suites.................. 2 Twisp Valley Grange.............. 9 Rental Equipment Action Rentals....................... 10 All Season’s Events.............. 13 J.A. Wright Construction....... 6 Pipestone Canyon Ranch.....11 Twisp River Pub..................... 4 Salon and Spa Services Last Chance Salon.................. 2 Wedding Cakes & Confections Mazama Store......................... 3 Rocking Horse Bakery........... 7 Wedding Venues Brown’s Farm........................ 13 Chewuch River Property, R. Biel ............................... 14 Mazama Country Inn............ 7 North Cascades Basecamp ....10 Pipestone Canyon Ranch.....11 Spring Creek Ranch............. 12 Sun Mountain Lodge............. 3 Twisp River Suites.................. 2 Winthrop Barn Auditorium.....5 Wineries Lost River Winery ................. 8

Valley Vows 2013

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Valley Vows 2013  

Have your picked the Methow Valley as your wedding destination? Then this is the resource guide you need! Located in the pristine North Casc...

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