Monday, January 16, 2012

And the Two Shall Become ... Eight?

Winter wedding at the TH!
(Photo courtesy of the Jepsons)

The call came in one Sunday evening right in the middle of the dinner hour. I understood the gentleman to be asking if I rented out the Tea House rooms. Thinking he was interested in the two suites next door, I quickly gave him my friend Bonnie's number and carried on with my serving.

Later that evening I got a call from my dear Sharon. "Karyn, that was my son Ryan who called earlier, and I think there was some misunderstanding. He is going to get married at the beginning of January and they hoped they could have the wedding in the Tea House!"

I called Ryan back as soon as I could, apologizing profusely. He put me over to Jenna, his fiancee, who said that she had loved the TH from the time she had been in it, on one of their very first dates. It was going to be a tiny wedding ... she would love to get married from the Tea House ... would that be possible?

"Absolutely!" I exclaimed. "When? How many people? How do you want it set up? Ambiance? Food?"

"About 25 people, and just leave it looking like the Tea House," was the response. "It's going to be very casual, very low-key. Maybe just a short ceremony followed by desserts ...

"Oh - did I mention that we have six kids between us?"

Kids in the TH - and for a wedding, no less! How could my joy be any greater? Those of you who know me know that if I could figure out a way to do it, the whole TH would be based around kids and it would be one tea party after another. This wedding was going to be a great party!

"We're going to have to feed those kids something beside desserts," I laughed. And with that the very trusting bride-to-be, who didn't know me nor I her, left it all up to us. The only request for the day was fresh berry tarts, a particular favourite of the groom.

I gathered my women about me - Brenda, Doreen and Tiffany. I sort of had an idea of how I wanted it to look, and I knew that these three women could transform my tentative vision into reality. 

We had no idea of what to expect for the evening; we just wanted it to be beautiful and magical, especially for the six children whose lives would be bound together irrevocably from this day forward.

Doreen set to work creating the floral arrangements. Brenda came to rescue me in the kitchen. And Tiffany showed up to put the final touches on everything.

Here, primarily in pictures, is the story of the day from the point of view of Nilgiris:
Heart in the entrance-way mirror

They would exchange vows
in front of the fireplace ...

What had been my cardinal Christmas
tree was transformed by Doreen
into a white and gold "wedding tree"
festooned with ribbons, where
butterflies and doves could lightly rest
(see anyone looking pleased with himself
at the ring-side seat he scored?!) 

The simple beauty of Doreen's arrangement
for the registry table spoke to me 
of faith, of hope, of love.
It symbolised courage, a willingness
to become vulnerable again, to say
"Your people will be my people ..."

Trying to retain the "TH feel," I placed the
comfy chairs on the perimeter and
set the other chairs in the space they made

There would be other children present, but I
wanted The Six to feel important; we arranged
chairs for them on their own side ...

The set-up for the ceremony was complete!
The beverage table ...

... and the food table. We wanted it all ready for 
6 pm because the ceremony was going
to be short and everyone would be hungry
after the drive out from Calgary ...

The officiant, Cliff Pedersen,
had been Ryan's pastor when
Ryan was a child

Ryan was the first to arrive.
As soon as we caught a glimpse
of him in dress uniform, we
had to add one more thing ...

 ...As the first guests entered, we
quickly rolled out a white runner
to mark an "aisle" up which his bride
would come to meet him.
"It will make it more special for her,"
he said tenderly

The Six were some of the first people to be seated

Everyone was in his or her place by 6:00 p.m.

... and anxious for the first glimpse of the bride

Here comes the bride!
One of the most beautiful I've ever seen ...
(Photo courtesy of the Jepsons)

Jenna's exquisite elder daughter
held her mother's bouquet ...

Husband and wife!

"The Lord bless you and keep you
The Lord make His face to shine upon you
and be gracious unto you
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you
and give you peace."

Both Dads taking pictures

(Photo courtesy of the Jepsons)

We had read on the "wedding website" that
there were going to be crafts and games,
so we set up a kids' area ...

... which was filled with activity and great joy ...
... but there was still space for a very little girl
needing a little quiet time by herself ... 

Fresh berry tarts,
made especially for the groom!

First dance, to Van Morrison ...

As I observed the activity and listened to the happiness, two images caught the corner of my eye, and my heart: two couples who have already been there, who have faced adversity, who have known both joy and sorrow, and who would rather be with each other than with anyone else in the room.

This kind of love is what I wish for our beautiful couple and their vibrant family. The love between them is palpable. Their commitment to each other, to their children, and to God is deep.

With that kind of impetus spurring them forward, this was not a celebration of two becoming eight but, rather, of eight becoming one.

(Photo courtesy of the Jepsons)


  1. God bless this wonderful family! They couldn't have chosen a better place to begin the future than surrounded by the Tea House's unique love, warmth, family and amazing food! Congratulations, Jepsons (and Nilgiris!)

  2. What a wonderful write up and beautiful pictures! Thanks for sharing them, Karyn! The TH looked amazing as usual!

  3. Oh my word, how lovely! It made me teary....

  4. Hi Karyn Great job... Thank you for your blog, pictures, and your gals excellent work in organizing the wedding evening for R & J with such lovely detail. Our whole family including 3 granddaughters from ON talk & still fondly remember their tea & dessert there as well as others of our family from Turkey, AB, & BC have celebrated events there... Isn't it nice that the town of TH can boast of the great Nilgiris Tea House. Encouraging you in your efforts to keep up your traditions and calling! Love Sharon & Jim

  5. Thankyou so much for all the info. It gave us the feeling of being there. May God richly bless this family as they join together. With six children they will have ups and downs but with God as the head of the house He will work all things out. Our love to you all Aunt Helene and Uncle Ken


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