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Ian & Lizza's Wedding

by Tara

Runnin' from the cold up in New England, I was born to be a fiddler in an old time string band...

"Wagon Wheel," by Old Crow Medicine Show

Four days ago, as Tyler and I drove out of our muddy, squelching driveway to embark on a 14-hour trek to the Carolinas, I felt hopeless, weighted down by uncertainty and gloomy weather. Now, piloting our little silver car home to Vermont after our friends Ian and Lizza's epic wedding, I feel rejuvenated, and my heart is overflowing with love.

The moment we pulled into Saluda Inn's gravel parking lot, we were whisked away for deep, strong hugs by my dear college friends. That night, the eve of the wedding, we enjoyed a delicious feast. Afterward, we gathered around a bonfire (lit ceremoniously by the pyromaniac bride and groom) and raised toasts to Ian and Lizza, sharing stories of their love and many goofy antics.

Lizza in Ian's Arms Lizza & Ian Starting a Fire Ian & His Childhood Cape Tara & Julia Eliza & Jamestown Gianluca & Annie Julia, Evelyn & Mary

The next day, most of us had a morning and the better part of an afternoon to hang out before the festivities began. How wonderful was the utterly soul-satisfying business of simply being together! We spent the day lazily puttering around town, catching up, laughing, and celebrating the joyous occasion.

Lucy On Teeter Totter Mary on Teeter Totter Julia Cafe Open Sign

I hear my baby callin' my name
And I know that she's the only one...

"Wagon Wheel," by Old Crow Medicine Show

Ian and Lizza's wedding ceremony was short and sweet, held in a woodland paradise by a crystal clear pond (Tyler and I had such pond jealousy!), under a sunflower-studded archway, handmade by Ian's mother. The vows (I'm looking at you, Ian) were intimate and soul-stirring—far more romantic than any book or movie. There was hardly a dry eye in the crowd!

Jamestown Playing Guitar Lizza & Ian Getting Hitched Teary Julia During Ian's Wedding Vows Teary Eliza During Ian's Wedding Vows Lizza & Ian Getting Hitched Lizza & Ian Lizza & Ian

Supper was a pig-pickin': barbecued pork, macaroni and cheese, and a rainbow of roasted vegetables, eaten on tables decorated with vases of wild, summery flowers peppered with sinuous garlic scapes. Dessert was a towering carrot cake, whimsically decorated with fruit, baked by the mother of the groom. An old-time band played the whole evening, creating the perfect soundtrack for a Carolina wedding.

Ian & Lizza's Wedding Cake Brian Vollmer - Appalachian Folk Band Lizza & Ian Dancing Chris & Lizza Dancing Chris & Lizza Dancing

My friends and I love dancing. I think the band was happily surprised by our enthusiasm, and by the impromptu contra dance we conjured up, populated with a good mix of seasoned dancers as well as newbies (Tyler was great at contra swinging!). We spun 'round and 'round so fast, we shrieked with dizzying delight.

Ali & Lucy Dancing Eliza & Tara Dancing Lizza & Tara Dancing Tara & Ali Dancing Lizza & Parks Dancing Tara & Annie Dancing

When we were out of breath, Tyler and I took a break from dancing to go for a walk at twilight, wandering the woodland paths around the pond. From afar, the party was even more spellbinding than it was on the dance-floor: with iconic summer fireflies blinking in the night sky, twinkle-lights hanging from the rafters, old time music lilting through the air, and lanterns swaying in the breeze, it was truly an enchanted evening.

Nick & Jess Nick & Jess Tyler Blowing Bubbles Bubbles Paddle Boating Ian & Lizza's Wedding

When we were ready to rejoin the fray, we took to the dance floor with renewed enthusiasm. Somebody even paid for an extra set from the band! Our friends Annie and Gianluca joined in, too, adding their talent to the fiddle and banjo sections.

Gianluca Playing Banjo Annie Playing Fiddle

Finally, after their second set was through, the band packed up and went home amid our resounding waves of applause. Unwilling to embrace The End—and with it, our group's inevitable dispersal across the country—Lucy turned on an iPod, and we all kept dancing as most of the guests went home.

Evelyn, Eliza, Jess, Ian, Tara, Julia & Ali Gianluca, Lizza, Annie & Eliza

As we twirled and swung, fists pumping, leaping around, my heart soared with love and gratitude. What a privilege to be among such beautiful souls, what a gift it was to be able to wrap our newly married friends with love and light. And what a magical party!

Nick Resting at Ian & Lizza's Wedding

Eventually, the last song played its final note, and we fell into each others' arms for lingering goodbyes. After working together to put away chairs and tables, we walked quietly back to our cars along candlelit paths, happy, silent, peaceful.

My dear friends, my people: you heal me with your energy, your childlike sense of wonder, your lack of pretension, your creativity, and the way you love without fear. You all laugh harder and louder than anybody else I know, and I love each and every one of you for it. Thank you all for being in my life!

Lizza & Annie Laughing Lizza & Annie Laughing Evelyn & Mary Jamestown Lucy & Eliza Jamestown & Eliza Ali & Lucy Hugging

Ian and Lizza, thank you for bringing us together, for throwing the greatest bash ever, and for loving one another so freaking well. I wish you all the happiness in the world as you continue on your journey together.

Ian & LIzza Dancing


Beautifully written Tara. The photos are also beautiful. My favorite is the one of Nick resting:)
Posted by Natasha on June 23rd, 2013 at 5:47 PM
What beautiful photos of a truly beautiful wedding!! It is so good seeing all those happy faces!!

Congratulations, Ian and Lizza!! <3
Posted by Cori on June 23rd, 2013 at 5:51 PM
Congratulations! Awesome looking wedding.
Posted by Chef LeeZ on June 23rd, 2013 at 8:57 PM
What a spell-binding tale, and what a wedding - enchanting! Beautifully written and heart-warming. And those fantastic, vibrant photographs! You capture so much joy and laughter in the dancing shots.
I'm always so rewarded when I take the time to visit your guy's blog. I'm glad all is well, I hope we'll talk soon! Love from across the pond x
Posted by Tim Stamp on June 24th, 2013 at 4:54 AM
Natasha - Well hello there, my dear! We had so much fun that weekend-- it was wonderful to see you guys (though the visit was far too short). I love that shot of Nick, too. He was so happy and sleepy and tipsy. :-) Love to you and Pete and Majessnick!

Cori - Congratulations to Ian and Lizza. indeed! All those smiling faces make me happy, too. :-)

Chef LeeZ - It was!

Timmy - Tim! I'm so happy that you stopped by to say hello, and I hope that all is well in your neck of the woods. Remember that you are always welcome here-- get Charlie to fly you over and come visit us!! Much love to you too!
Posted by Tara on June 26th, 2013 at 10:29 AM