Everyone expects the mother of the bride to be a head case at her daughter’s wedding, so Spooky Taft doesn’t really have anything she can compare with the experience of marrying off your child during one of the biggest fires ever seen in these parts.
“The fire was on our tail the whole weekend while we were trying to pull off this wedding,” Taft said about daughter Alexandra’s marriage to Dash Longe Saturday at Trail Creek Cabin in Sun Valley, which was under pre-evacuation orders the entire weekend.
“What was it like? Filled with anxiety,” she said.
First, the welcome dinner was held at Valley Club, half way between Ketchum and Hailey. There, guests on the patio were strobe-lit by the emergency lights of patrol cars and fire engines and serenaded by the thwop-thwop of helicopters overhead shuttling over Greenhorn Gulch, which flamed in the foreground.
Friday night, the event at the Knob Hill Inn in Ketchum was almost canceled, “because everybody was really terrified by then,” Taft said. “But everybody felt it; the energy was electric. It was about getting these kids married.”
The horse-drawn carriage was canceled. The locals invited gave their regrets, and then, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony was canceled. It took with it the quartet that had been hired to play the “Wedding March,” sending wedding planner Heather Minor into overdrive.
Sun Valley Resort provided what crew it had left from those not dealing with evacuation orders in other cities. Photographer Hillary Maybery entertained with diverting photo ops.
Ultimately, Minor found a band called “The Party Crashers,” who made a great impression in its maiden voyage here, coming over from Salt Lake City for the reception.
The patch of blue sky that seemed to follow the Tafts and the wedding party was a comforting nod that they were doing the right thing, but Taft said the whole situation was driven on the sheer will of the wanna-be-weds.
“Everyone commented on the sheer determination these two have always had for work,” Taft said about the ski-racer groom and the nurse bride. “They put that same determination into being married this weekend.
“It was their love that pushed this thing through.”
When the union was complete, the couple turned to the assembled guests and simultaneously punched the smoky air.
“The crowd roared,” Taft said.
“Psyched we pulled it off,” Minor crowed after. “It was gorgeous and Alex and Dash were beaming.”
Tested by fire, the couple is now on the island of Bora Bora in French Polynesia seeing how sand, wind and water affect their marriage.