Timing was Everything
And to beat the clock, Acee and Mitch’s friends and family rallied
PHOTOGRAPHY Craig Wolfrom
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They knew a lot of things, right off the bat. Given their farming lifestyles, a Western wedding was never a doubt. Acee’s father was a widely-known and loved Dutch-oven chef who had catered many a wedding and provided smoked turkeys for holidays, so the food was in place. She’d helped her father cater a wedding at the Judd family’s Grove Creek Ranch in Picabo and knew that their friend’s home would be the perfect spot.
The couple decided on an August wedding to take advantage of the beautiful Idaho summer evenings. The bride found her dress at Margene’s Bridal in Boise, “the first one, and one I could ride my horse in,” she says.
Tuxes were ordered from Tuxedos Now in Twin Falls, Craig Wolfrom for photos and 120 long-stemmed white roses en route from Ecuador.
Although things were falling into place, there was one variable that no one saw, or wanted to see coming. Everyone knew Acee’s dad was being treated for throat cancer, but the optimism was abundant and the excitement of the pending event was distracting. So when the couple learned in June that his cancer had carried through to his liver and was terminal, the date was moved up to July 12, leaving only four weeks to get ready.
“He wanted to be in the best possible health for the day,” says the newlywed, who has since buried her father.
“The journey was very personal,” Mitch says. “Various friends and family pitched in. The collaboration of our friends made our day so special.”
Dad and friends prepared a feast of local roasted pig and buffalo and local vegetables for dinner. There were hanging flower baskets draped with lights, horses tied to adjacent trees, and homemade book and quilt squares made for the guests to sign, all created by friends and family.
All the table centerpieces were wildflower arrangements done by The Ketchum Flower Company. About 50 large pots of flowers were all planted from seed and small flower starts in April by Mitch and Acee’s moms who “mothered” them into bountiful flower baskets by July 12th.
The roses, which arrived with thorns in the dead heat of summer, were sequestered at a local grocery store’s beer cooler where friends gathered to shape them into boutonnieres and bouquets.
Their three grandmas served as flower girls. “They were so excited and proud that they nearly pranced down the aisle to huge applause,” Acee laughs.
“The event was truly a celebration. It was a celebration of a new life, that which was just beginning for Mitch and I, and at the same time it was a celebration of a life well lived, that of my father. The wedding was so personal, full of emotional happiness and sadness. There were more than 200 guests, all close family friends, and we were so honored to have each and every one there, not only for Mitch and I, but for my dad as well.
“My father, with his warm heart, kindness and talent, left very big shoes for us to fill. We are continuing with the Dutch-oven catering and free-range holiday turkey business and hope to meet along the way all those who knew and loved him.”
Managing Editor Jennifer Liebrum believes love and timing are always a challenge well worth the struggle.