Life never turns out the way you imagined it, and sometimes that’s a very good thing. My nephew, Tyler, grew up in Fort Gibson, Oklahoma, and after college he found his way to Chicago to try his hand at improv comedy. There he met Blythe Haaga, a California girl (a Princeton grad) who’d moved to Chicago for the same reason. Saturday they got married in Pasadena, California, and they’ve already moved to New York City while Tyler gets a masters degree from Columbia.
As Tyler said in his vows, Blythe is smart, she’s pretty, she’s cool, and she’s funny. And now — maybe best of all — she’s family.
Fortunately for all concerned, I was NOT the wedding photographer. That task was well handled by an actual professional, as you can see HERE. As you can also see in those pictures, the wedding and reception were spectacular, thanks to Blythe and her parents, Heather and Paul Haaga.
The rehearsal dinner had an OKLAHOMA! theme. Tyler told everyone to dress like they would if they were going to a barbeque where a country band was playing. Which made sense, because it was essentially a barbecue where a country band was playing. I didn’t get my camera out ’til the dinner was over.
With a little help from our new California friends, Bill and Jana threw a helluva party. The band did a fine rendition of Okie From Muskogee — recall that the song contrasts the lifestyles of Oklahomans against that of Californians — except that they sang all the lines in random order.
You know you’re a long ways from Texas or Oklahoma when anyone relies on me to teach them to two-step.
Click HERE for another pageful of pictures from the rehearsal dinner/hoedown.
It was a busy week. On Thursday, they paid tribute to their mutual improvisational comedy roots by hosting an improv show with about 25 of their improv-world friends from Chicago, LA, and elsewhere. It was hilarious.
Some of the comedy was even true or touching (like the story of their second date, where Tyler could not find his car after a Bull’s game and then didn’t have cash for a cab to get them both home).
For me, another highlight of the week was the opportunity to hang out with my Mom and Dad a bit. They drove their Airstream from eastern Oklahoma to the outskirts of LA, where I met them (after flying into LAX). Early in the week, we walked the streets of Bakersfield (on Buck Owens Avenue) and then headed for California’s giant Sequoias. We “lunched” on the beach in Malibu and prowled the Rose Bowl flea market, and they got a taste of big-city Southern California life. And they sure polished up well for the wedding! (Yes, that’s J.B. Cotner in a suit; and yes, I tied his tie).
There are also pictures of Jim Parker (Tyler’s other grandpa) above and in the grid below. Bill Parker (Tyler’s dad) drove him out to LA in Jim’s truck. I’m pretty sure this is this the furthest and the longest Jim has ever been away from eastern Oklahoma. He seemed to enjoy it as much as Tyler and Blythe enjoyed having him.
I’m ordinarily not too big on wedding ceremonies. I’ve threatened my nieces for years that I wouldn’t even come to theirs if they got married before they were 25 or so. But Tyler and Blythe’s West Coast wedding week was a great experience for all of us, bringing together family (old and new) and friends in ways that few events ever could. I shed a tear or two seeing my 6’4″ baby nephew shed several as he watched his bride walk up the aisle. And I glowed with pride as I heard so many people gush about Blythe and Tyler all week long. Of course we lost of bit of him Saturday, but we gained much more. Welcome to the family, Blythe!