Opinion & Editorial

Worlds collide at hyper-local wedding

You may have noticed my byline has grown by a whopping 13 letters in recent months. Lance and I tied the knot on June 21 – seven years since our first encounter at a dinky dive bar in Avis, Pa.
Much like this column, our wedding had been a long time coming, after postponing once due to pandemic conditions. We held the ceremony on the Summer Solstice – 15 and a half hours of pure, radiant daylight, spent with friends and family whose worlds collided in the woods along the McKenzie River.

What’s more fun than camping in the woods with the ones you love?

Family and friends from Pennsylvania, California, Colorado, Illinois and Virginia made the trek. Some made a vacation out of it; others came and went in a flash. No matter the pace, “I can see why you live here” was a common sentiment shared.

And those infamous fires they’d see on the news engulfing the West became more tangible. Still a raw scene from the Holiday Farm Fire, guests experienced pangs of heartache us locals know all too well.

Driving along Highway 126, out-of-towners gazed on charred trees that still line the passageways, looking on to those in trailers or rebuilding their once-beloved homes.

And still, beauty lives there.

In an attempt to leverage all of Oregon’s charm, we found a venue that fit the head movie with relative and surprising ease.

Follow the McKenzie and you’ll find Loloma Lodge an hour outside of Springfield, a 14-acre property with historic river cabins, A-frames, and towering trees. Light slants through the Douglas firs there, adding more texture to an already colorful scene. We rented out the space for four days and made the celebration span the entire time.

Getting ready

Staying true to the form of a hyper-local advocate, I made every attempt to draw on talent from the southern Willamette Valley for vending and services.

After witnessing the volume of foot traffic into our former Creswell office asking about Keeli Moriarty of Beauty Boutique once her ads debuted, it was a no-brainer to have her fix up my gnarled fingernails. What a chore. The end result – a pearlescent lavender-white acrylic – was far better executed than the example photo I gave her and removed the self-mutilation shame when it came to wedding band and bouquet close-ups.

Speaking of bouquets, my bridesmaids and family had a memorable time romping around Springfield’s Charles Little Farm, hand-plucking flowers we self-arranged for centerpieces, bouquets and boutineers. It was a much more intimate and hands-on experience than bagging up flowers at a market.
I picked out my dress ages ago at David’s Bridal in Allentown while visiting my mom in Pennsylvania. I was able to share the experience with her, while also having it shipped to the store near Valley River Center.

From there, I took it to Natalia’s Alteration and Tailoring in Eugene. A truly family-oriented business, Natailia’s family was often seen at her shop. Little coos from a newborn were heard from the back room. The Chronicle saw Natalia at the Ukrainian Day Celebration in Springfield a couple of months ago, as she reveled in her heritage while mourning her home that has become a war zone.

Adam at Copy-Rite Printing in Springfield was my go-to for printing invitations, envelopes and seating charts. I gave him absurdly short turn around times. He didn’t fret one bit.

All in the details

I commissioned Jenni Donley, prolific Creswell “Painted Rocker,” to create momentos to stash around the venue for my guests to take home. Always so artfully done, Jenni created masterpieces on rocks with a Pacific Northwest bent – the snow-capped mountain ranges, tall Douglas firs and Sasquatch silhouettes slumping along in the distance. Former Chronicle designer and dear friend Pamela Farmer of Creswell donated her time and skills to add to the stash, creating scenescapes and, of course, more Sasquatches. Her work is always done with so much love – a perpetual state of being for Pam.

Stashed in suitcases and coat pockets, their art lives around the country.

My wedding band came from Harry Ritchies, a local jeweler who opened his first store in downtown Eugene in 1956. I unashamedly bought into the story behind the design. The band was made to represent the “peaks and valleys of the Cascade mountains,” with dainty detailing on the rim that resembles a delicate lace.

Anyone who knows Dee Dee, co-owner of The Chronicle, knows that her cookie design is hard to beat. She made Sasquatch bride and groom cookies that looked as absurd and wonderful as it sounds. She also made Murphy cookies mirrored after my yellow parrotlet, with a handsome bow fitting for that of a “ring birder.”

Dee Dee also made a point of dead-heading roses around Springfield, Creswell and Cottage Grove to gather petals for a heart displayed at the ceremony site. The flowers from my neighbor’s garden, Mrs. Barnhurst and the Springfield Utility Board bushes largely contributed to the display.

The main event

I mentioned the term “ring birder” … Murphy did have a special role in our wedding. We tied our rings to the top of a clear cage and he was carried down the aisle by our dear friend during the ceremony.

I’ve known Joey Blum from my early days with The Creswell Chronicle. An avid newspaper reader, Joey took a liking to my work, which led to visits in the newsroom and subsequent coffee-sipping sessions at Blue Valley Bistro. When it came to finding an officiant, he proved the best person to spin some yarn, reflect on love and legally bind us together. After all, he has a pretty good track record; he says only one marriage has failed out of the dozens of couples he’s wed and he should’ve “known better” with that particular one, anyway.

I know Tamara Jeppesen from the neighborhood bars – from the BnB in Creswell to the former Frenchy’s in Goshen. These days you can find her at the Bohemia Pub in Cottage Grove, and I was lucky enough to entice her to spend her Saturday off slinging Oregon Old Fashioneds, Loloma Palomas, and well … just a truckload of beer. Her bright smile and cheery disposition made her a crowd favorite, and it was fun to see her in her element.

BBQ in the woods felt cozy and comforting and Bill and Tim’s BBQ of Eugene has been a favorite of ours for years. While a valiant effort was made by my bridesmaid to make me eat at the reception, I regret not having the stomach to enjoy it as intended. I was too full of emotion to stomach much else – equally queasy and delighted by the overflow of emotion.

Bob Wiliams, Chronicle photographer, and fellow photographer, Chapel, were there to capture it all. Bob’s a renowned wedding photographer, and after seeing him in action at such an intimate setting, it made me admire his work all the more. Flipping through the photo reel, I’d often exclaim, “I don’t even remember that moment.” His reaction: “That’s exactly what I am here for.”
Erin Tierney-Heggenstaller is the executive editor of The Chronicle.



View this profile on Instagram


The Chronicle (@thechronicle1909) • Instagram photos and videos