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Reno for the big day!

May 16th, 2023

This post will not have a map as we were flying across the Atlantic and then staying put in Reno. 

It’s a dreaded airplane/jet lag travel day today.  Our flight out of Paris to Reno via Dallas is at 3:25 pm and Paul has offered to drive us to the train station in Vierzon, about 30 minutes away.  He met came to get us at 7am and we made the 7:50 am train.  We opted to Uber the rest of the way rather than take the 3 trains; took only 40 minutes instead of 90.  We made it to the airport in good time.

After bag drop, security and immigration we wanted to have a beer and a snack; there was only ONE place to eat in the international terminal that our flight was departing from; that seemed strange.  We met a Canadian couple from Calgary and chatted with them a bit and then a woman from Arizona who also owns a home in the south of France.

Our flight left on time and 9 hours 52 minutes later we were in Dallas.  We had a 2.5 hour layover and that flight left 40 minutes late.  Neither of us slept on the first flight but did manage to get some zzzz’s on the second but not a lot.

Kurt had arranged a rental car for us at the airport to get us to the house which was pretty handy and we were in bed by 1:30 am.

Next morning Heidi and Titan were so excited to see us when we got up around 8.  We left in the rental car for the storage place to pick up our Tundra and a few things from the trailer.  That all went smoothly and after picking up groceries at Walmart and stopping for Blizzards from DQ, we were back at the house by 1:30.  We spent the afternoon organizing, sorting and going through our mail and packages.  It actually didn’t feel too bad.

We were introduced to the newest member of the family here in Reno.  Meet Alan, the hummingbird:

We spent the next few days helping out with wedding prep, acclimatizing to the Pacific Time Zone, playing with the dogs, running errands etc.  We had to get Doug a new shirt and tie, get haircuts, pedicures, etc.

We took care of favour bags creations, table cloth prep (Fran ironed for 7.5 hours!), getting a stand for a large seating table sign, arranging food for the bridal party on the day of, figuring out and making two desserts for the reception besides the wedding cake itself which is vanilla and lemon (Fran will make fruit tarts and fudge brownies) and helping to figure out how to transport fragile items to the venue.  Serena hired a “day of coordinator” that takes care of setting up, dealing with vendors and clean up afterwards.  We just have to deliver stuff to the venue and then take it all away afterwards.

News:  our reimbursement for the accident FINALLY arrived in our account on May 17!  Now we just await the towing money; a big step in the right direction. It’s only been 103 days since the settlement was reached and 127 since the accident itself.

Thursday, Kurt’s family (who drove in from Michigan) came over with bbq dinner fixings to celebrate Kurt’s birthday which was two days prior. Saturday, Serena took us to “Woof and Wonder”, an adopt a dog event hosted by a local brewery on behalf of the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) which is where she works as the office manager. They had a successful fundraiser.

Bruce, the cat, enjoying a sit on Grampa:

The weather since we arrived has been progressively warmer – reached 33C / 93F on Saturday! Most days have been cloudless but we had some dark clouds and a few sprinkles late that hot day.  Serena says they went from winter right into summer.

Sunday started sunny and we had a bit of thunder in the late afternoon.  The next few days continued with wedding prep and the arrival of Joshua and the kids.  They have become comfortable enough to fly (still somewhat anxious about COVID) but they will stay in a hotel rather than at the house with us.  By this time they weather had cooled up to a comfortable low 20’sC / low 70’s F.

Second day, Fran joined Arya going to a park to run around with Titan:

We played a lot of Corn Hole with a set Kurt  & Serena had received for Christmas but had not yet opened.

The kids, especially Cyrus, really enjoyed it. (They wore masks in the house at Serena’s the first day and then never after that.)  Wednesday, Arya, Josh and Fran took Titan to the park to run around; he doesn’t mind being around other dogs but Heidi does.  Arya did take Heidi for several walks in an effort to get her used to her for her duties at the wedding.

And of course, Grampa brought out his balloon pump:

Fran’s two sisters and their spouses are coming in for the wedding (one is driving taking a road trip from the Sunshine Coast of BC and one is flying in from Kingston, Ontario).  Doug’s youngest sister and her hubby and Doug’s youngest brother are driving here together from Victoria, BC.  Kurt’s family is from Michigan and has relatives flying in as well.  His one sister lives nearby in Fernley.  They have friends coming in from Montana and elsewhere as well.  The wedding will be small with less than 50 attendees.  It’s being held at The Ranch House, a Victorian house in the Rancho San Rafael Regional Park in Reno.  We did see the venue when we were here in December but it was covered in snow at that time.

By Thursday, the 25th,  the festivities began.  We spent a few hours in the morning packing up and prepping wedding décor and by 3:30 we were at the wedding venue to drop off the décor etc. and do a rehearsal.

After that we all went to The Depot Restaurant for the rehearsal dinner.  The two families were invited as well as the bridal party (most of whom arrived earlier that day).  Serena had arranged a set menu with a few choices, appies and dessert.  When they took us here for a trial run back in December we weren’t that impressed but we have to say it was very good.  The appies included maple corn fritters, broiled Brussel sprouts and a feta cheese spread with pita bread.  Then there were two salads to choose from: a mixed green and a kale Caesar.  The main course was a choice of steak, salmon, chicken or pasta primavera which was followed by a very nice light cheesecake.  Everyone left quite full!  After dinner, Josh and the kids returned to their hotel (kids were exhausted as you can see from the photo below).

During this event it was kind of an “open mike” to the guests if they wanted to make a speech or toast as during the reception, these will be limited to only two.  Two of the bridesmaids gave a speech/toast and Fran did a little toast with the presentation of our wedding gift to the couple:  a one week vacation in Belize which includes 3 nights in the jungle and four on one of the cayes in the Caribbean.  They were very surprised as we’d kept it a secret and made our choice of Belize based on the “wishes/desires” for a honeymoon.  (We had done this for Joshua for his wedding [sent them to Cancun], just like Doug’s parents did it for us way back in 1981 when we got married – we went to San Diego.)

We then met up with Fran’s sisters and Doug’s sister and brother who had all just arrived in Reno.   We met at Dana’s hotel, the Silver Legacy, in a bar.  Unfortunately, Sandra’s partner Anna, is ill and may have contracted COVID so she passed on attending that night and the actual wedding.

We got back to Serena’s around 9:30 and crashed.  Serena and Kurt have booked a hotel for three nights so we had the house to ourselves and we took care of the pets.

Friday morning, we had a bit of down time before getting ready.  Josh and the kids came over around 9 as they had the past few days and after lunch we all got ready.   Arya actually managed to smile in at least one picture today:

Fran had to be at the venue by 1:20 for bride prep photos and Josh and the kids came a bit later.  The grandkids’ part in the wedding was to be in charge of the dogs, Heidi and Titan, during the afternoon as they were going to be in “family photos”.   Arya took on Heidi and Cyrus took care of the little one, Titan.

FYI – these are all cell phone photos – none of the professional ones are in yet except a few “sneak peeks” so the quality is not great but you get the idea. 

Fran arrived in time to see Serena put on her dress and several photos were taken during that and on the balcony of the room we were in.

The bridesmaids, Becky, (whom Serena has known since kindergarten) and is seven months pregnant!, Mel, her friend since grade one and Maggie, whom she met in Big Sky 9 years before.

Kurt’s, niece and nephew, Piper and Colton were the “bubble bearers” and were quite cute in their fancy clothes:

After this we went outside to take pre wedding pics; Kurt arrived, Doug helped him with his bow tie and then the photographer had him head over to a spot to take his “first look”.

Arya and Cyrus brought the dogs over and “family” pictures were taken – see the pic at the top of this post.

The “Bubble Bearers” sharing the bubble machine:

The groomsmen joined in after this; Kurt’s cousin, Chris, his dad, Mark and his brother in law, Jacob.  Altogether now, the bridal party did their photos.

The weather was supposed to be dry, but we had a few sprinkles and about an hour before the ceremony, it came down pretty hard.  All the tables that had been set up outside in the courtyard were dismantled and set up indoors where the dancing was going to be held later.

Just before the ceremony, the coordinator reached out to Fran and asked “do we use the tablecloth as they are (soaking wet) or do we do no tablecloths or do I send my assistant over to a nearby laundry and dry them”?  Since we had about an hour, we did the latter and kudos to her and her assistant, they were dried and the tables all redone before they were needed at 5.   It was a little crowed but as there were less than fifty of us, it wasn’t too bad.  We managed to get 90% of the pre wedding photos done before it started.

The rain stopped just before 4 and the ceremony proceeded after we frantically went around drying the chairs and it went off well.  The officiant was good and the vows were lovely.

Pics At 4:15 the guests went for appies and the bar and we began family photos and just before 5 it began to rain again so they did not get all done – just the entire group ones were missed but either side of the family was done which was the important part anyway.

By this time the tablecloths were back, and the dining tables all set up, the food was ready and the new couple entered the hall.

The caterer luckily had a dry area outside to set up under and the Mexican buffet dinner began.  Doug made his toast to the bride:

the best man, Chris, gave a toast to Kurt

and dinner went well.

The cake cutting took place ten minutes early at 6:20 and the desserts Fran made came out.


shot of desserts once they’d been dug into…

Then it was time for the first dance:  “I can’t take my eyes off of you” by Lauryn Hill (video is in two parts as it’s too large):

Father daughter dance and Mother Groom dance was:  “Always, in all ways”:

Some of the tables were removed and others rearranged and the traditional dances began and by 7 the floor was open to all. The photographer hung around another 90 minutes and got some great shots and during the entire reception, Polaroid cameras were available for the guests to use.

We had a wonderful time dancing and our side of the family danced pretty much the entire three hours till ten o’clock.  The DJ was very good, the music was great 90% of the time and fun was had by all.  At ten the happy couple left to return to their hotel, we finished the clean-up with Kayla, the coordinator, packed up our truck, Serena’s car (which Fran drove) and the groom’s parents’ car and were home by 11:15, happy and exhausted (and Fran was super sore – knees back and sore feet from new shoes from which she got two huge blisters from dancing!).

Saturday dawned sunny and we began unloading everything from the vehicle, and setting up for todays’ pancake brunch at ten.  We had brought our little Coleman stove and Doug made pancakes on that while Mark (Kurt’s dad) worked on a griddle on Kurt’s bbq.  Josh cooked bacon in the oven and we had leftover appies and dessert from the wedding.  About 25 people showed up including Fran’s sisters (Anna came wearing a mask and stayed outside in a corner but at least she got to meet some people, including the groom and have some brekkie) and they left at 11 to begin their drive home.  Dana, D’Arcy & Mark couldn’t make it as they need to be  home by Sunday night so they hit  the road early that day.

It began to thunder around 11:30 and then rained just before noon (which was the end anyway) and everyone was gone by 1:30.  There was several items that did not get used and Kurt’s family took them back to return them to Costco (turns out that they had purchased too much alcohol) while Doug returned several items to the Dollar Tree (napkins, cups etc.) we didn’t need and since they don’t refund, he exchanged them for household things that Serena or us could make use of.  It was very good of them.

Serena and Kurt gathered their gifts, opened a few in front of us (from our side of the family), and then returned to the hotel to open the rest and stay for one more night.

We had a quiet evening at the house while attending to the dogs.

Sunday morning we took care of a few chores around the house and the bride and groom were back by lunchtime.

They had all the wedding décor etc. to take care but Serena is off tomorrow and Kurt has until Thursday off work so they left most of that for then.  We had a quiet afternoon while it rained and that night went to fetch subs for dinner.  We were all quite tired and it was early to bed as we wanted to leave early tomorrow to begin our drive up to Canada.