Four weddings and a honeymoon
Chris and Brittne stood facing each other hand in hand, so much in love it would make a sphynx shed a tear. Chris smiled a smile that started in his soul and cascaded out through his laughing eyes.
He looked at his bride and whispered the obvious.
“I love you.”
The crowd looked at these two young people ” both beautiful, bright and strong ” and had a collective epiphany: This is what it looks like when you get it right.
At the home where she was raised in a wide, Western valley in Gypsum,
Brittne-Aspen Stone of the Vail Valley married Chris Whitelaw of Australia. They met in New York City where they were carving out careers in international finance. They saw the Twin Towers topple over on 9/11 and wandered around looking for normalcy amid the chaos. They didn’t find much. They migrated to London, where they live now.
It’s really pretty simple.
Brittne grew up in Colorado.
Chris grew up in Australia.
Brittne moved to New York.
Chris moved to New York.
They fell in love in New York, with each other, not just the city.
Brittne and Chris moved to London.
Brittne and Chris became engaged.
And now they’re married.
Chris is not a man to do anything halfway, which works out well because Brittne doesn’t happily tolerate those who do. When Tom and Henri Stone, Brittne’s parents, were visiting their daughter in her London home, Chris asked Tom to walk up the street to a pub for a pint. After some small talk about soccer, baseball and Australian Rules Football, Chris came to the point and asked Tom for his daughter’s hand in marriage.
Tom gladly gave it.
They were in New York City when he proposed. Rockefeller Center was the spot and Christmas was the season. He tipped the security guards to let them get close to the giant Christmas tree. When they were in exactly the right spot, during the right season and the right moment in history, Chris dropped down to on knee and popped the question.
“Did you cry?” asked one of Brittne’s high school buddies at their wedding.
“No, but the woman next to me was bawling,” Brittne laughed.
Weddings can be complicated if you let them be. This one had the potential to be either wonderful or terrible. Either way, because it would involve people from four continents, which made it one of the only international affairs that didn’t involve the U.S. State Department, which doesn’t plan weddings nearly as well as Susan Brozovich, the local wedding planner who helped Henri put together the Gypsum event.
They decided that since there’s just the two of them, it would be easier for them to travel the world instead of the world traveling to them.
So that’s what they did.
There was the London ceremony at St. Matthews Church in Notting Hill.
The New York City contingent raised a glass in their honor at Candela, between Park Avenue and Irving Place.
The Colorado celebration was at the Stone home in Gypsum, where Tom and a cast of several worked for weeks to get the place just so before the wedding. Neighbors wondered if t was worth it, until they saw Brittne glide around a corner on Tom’s arm to give her away, yet again, and saw by her beatific glow and his fatherly pride it was worth every bit and more.
“Weddings are for families,” Rev. Carl Walker said before the wedding in Gypsum.
This family hadn’t been in one place for 26 years. Now they have. Weddings will do that. Two weeks later they were together again for another wedding.
Brothers, sisters, grandparents, assorted friends and hangers-on are all misty-eyed and sniffly. Rev. Walker extracted from them a promise that they would do everything they could to help Chris and Brittne live happily ever after. They, like all married people, will be happy for now and into the future as long as they remember that when they turned and walked by up the aisle after being pronounced husband and wife, the music they’re hearing is a march. It’s not a waltz and it’s a two step. It’s a march and there are times when it’s wonderful and times when it’s work.
When Walker pronounced them husband and wife it was time to toast. Among the other well-wishers, Chris stepped to the microphone and had this to say.
“I’d like to thank the family for going to such measures to be here,” Chris said in his charming Australian accent, raising a glass in toast to the crowd.
“I’d especially like to thank Tom who had to give his daughter away. This is the third time he has given her away and I’m glad to receive her each time. She’s now my third wife and I’d marry every day for the rest of my life if I could.”
And they’re living happily ever after.
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