Inger & Joel: Love and Luck Unfold at a Castle Rock affair

by Amy Elliott

Inger and Joel met at church. Detained by the Sunday school class she teaches, Inger, an assistant retail manager, rushed into worship late one Sunday morning in the fall of 2000 and was immediately struck by the new intern pastor up front playing guitar. After the service, Inger introduced herself to him (he was talking to one of her friends). "Pretty soon, it was just Joel and I talking, and everyone else standing around," says Inger. Talk about love at first sight: That December, after the annual Christmas program, Joel asked Inger to marry him in the church parking lot. "We talked about getting married on our very first date," says Inger. "We knew it was meant to be."

THE BRIDE Inger Halverson, an assistant retail manager
THE GROOM Joel Payne, an intern pastor
THE DATE June 23
THE SETTING The Country Club at Castle Pines, Castle Rock

Inger chose her wedding dress the week that Joel proposed -- strapless, with simple beading on the bodice, which was the second gown she tried on. On the day of the wedding, Joel's sister Meredith presented the bride with a silver and turquoise necklace. "Their mother grew up on a Navajo reservation and turquoise symbolizes good luck," explains the bride. The beautiful necklace, wrapped around one of Inger's feet as an anklet, would fulfill both the "something new" and "something blue" requirements.

Storm clouds and a darkening sky seemed inauspicious, as Inger, Joel, and their guests gathered for the outdoor ceremony held on a cliff overlooking the mountains. There was also a great deal of wind to contend with. "We have some great pictures of my veil flying straight up in the air," says Inger, with a laugh, "and the unity candle stayed lit for about five seconds." A harpist provided gentle, lilting music, which seemed well suited to the mood, despite the threat of rain. "I was calm, so was Joel," remembers Inger. "I was a little worried that it would rain, but that happened after the ceremony, and only for about ten minutes."

Afterward, there was no need for bubbles, rice, or rose petals, as the newlyweds had just 50 feet to traverse until they reached the reception, which took place beneath a huge white tent. "The first thing I remember about the reception are the sides of tent rustling in the wind," says the bride. Eventually, though, the wind died down and the clouds dispersed -- just in time for the festivities. And then, an incredible sunset emerged, bathing the entire scene in soft, pink light.

-- Amy Elliott
Photography © Greg Haarburger

For the ingredients that make up this wedding, see the right side of this page.

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