The Story of the Missing Bouquet & The Bear that Saved the Day

If you’ve ever read one of my blog posts, you’ll recognize an echo when I talk about a wedding day. There is always something that goes wrong behind the scenes; no matter how great of a planner you are, things just happen.  Sarah and Drew’s destination wedding in Highlands was not an exception to this rule.

Between the crazy weather and a few transportation hiccups, I thought we were done and I wouldn’t have any new material for my book. Boy, was I wrong! After an amazing party on Saturday, we said our goodbyes to the couple and the family. Our team got to work breaking down, packing up, finally leaving The Farm at Old Edwards around 3:30am. On Sunday, our team awoke and most everyone packed up, left town, and headed back home. Kristin, Laura, and I stayed behind to break down the farewell brunch, finish packing the cargo van, and close out/ clean up our VRBO house before our Monday checkout. The three of us made quick work of our to-do list, so we could enjoy a little bit of Highlands before departing on Monday.

As a special treat and cheers to a long but successful week, the three of us decided to enjoy dinner at Wolfgang’s Restaurant and Wine Bistro on late Sunday evening.  We did our hair and makeup for the first time in a week, ordered drinks and dinner, and had just said a toast when I received a text message from the mother of the bride.

“Hi Betsy! I hope you are relaxing and I am SO SORRY to bother you- we are looking for the brooch and the catholic charm that Sarah had pinned to her bouquet.  Do we know where these are? Thank you!”

This sweet image is from Sarah's bridal portrait session. Photography by Nancy Ray.

This sweet image is from Sarah's bridal portrait session. Photography by Nancy Ray.

My heart dropped because I had no answer to her question. I immediately went into fix-it mode.  I abandoned Kristin and Laura at our dinner table, drafted a text to our team of 8 and started walking across the street to Old Edwards. Thanks to our group message, I was able to establish a timeline for the bouquet up until the end of the evening, but no one from our team could confirm sending it home with the bride or her mom. After a quick chat with the Old Edwards manager on duty, we decided to drive out to the Farm to see if the rooms had been cleaned.  On the short 4.5-mile drive, I was mentally preparing myself to dig through trash at the Farm in search of the bouquet.  When we arrived at the Farm, our suspicions were confirmed; sometime between 4:00am and our current time, 8:00pm, the spaces had been cleaned and the bouquet was gone.  The manager on duty and I walked to the trash area and rolled up our sleeves.  Much to both of our surprise, there wasn’t a single trash bag in the dumpster, surrounding cans, or anywhere to been seen.  It was Sunday and I was speechless.   Surely the trash hadn’t gone to the landfill already, had it?

The next twelve hours consisted of lots of phone calls, emails, and “ideas” of where the bouquet had possibly gone.  I was beyond sick.  After a restless night’s sleep and endless prayers to St. Anthony, I awoke to no new news and a still missing bouquet.  I got dressed in my rubber boots and prepared to search the city landfill.   I received an early morning call from the parents of the bride and they decided to come to the landfill to help in the search before leaving to head home.  In route to the landfill, I called Callie, our incredible Sales Manager from Old Edwards Inn, partner in crime, and amazing trash logistics researcher. She told me she was in the Housekeeping department and they were trying to track down the team that cleaned to get more information to help in our search.  The whole property was on high alert.   Just as we were getting ready to hang up, Callie said to someone in the background, “WHHAATTT, you’ve got to be kidding me?” The next words out of her mouth were the most delightful shrieks of joy!

“They found it!  They found the bouquet!!!”

I immediately started crying and said, “I’ll call you right back!  Let me get a hold of our clients so they don’t get started at the landfill.” Because of the spotty mountain cell phone reception, I wasn’t able to reach the parents of the bride right away.  I left both of them voice messages and text messages, as I made a U-turn and headed back to Old Edwards Inn to meet Callie.

Here is an iPhone photo of Callie and me with the not-so-fresh bouquet in hand, sans makeup, but oh-so-happy because the brooch and charm are still attached!!

Are you on the edge of your seat yet?  Wondering how in the world the bouquet was magically delivered to Callie?  Brace yourself because I promise you I could not make up this crazy story if I tried! 

In Highlands (or anywhere in the mountains for that matter!) there is a big problem with bears getting into trash.  Even though the city doesn’t offer waste management solutions on Sunday, the Old Edwards facilities team hauls all of the trash from their property to the landfill.  Because the wedding occurred over Mother’s Day weekend, the housekeeping team was quite busy on Sunday. The team assigned to clean the Farmhouse, the house adjacent to the Farm, where the girls got ready - and the place where the bouquet was last seen- didn’t make it out to clean until after the trash was already hauled.  Instead of leaving one bag at the Farm, the trash from the Farmhouse was brought back to town. There is one waste area near the employee entrance that is behind a gate and doesn’t get food trash, so it isn’t usually a problem for bears. This is one of the few places that isn’t hauled on Sunday. Well, apparently the bears were very hungry on Sunday night because that trash fell victim to the black, big-pawed giants. 

Amidst our Monday early morning chaos, the facilities team had quite the chatter on their radios.  They were trying to confirm the address of the landfill for the “wedding planner and parents,” trying to coordinate the clean up of the bear mess, and communicate their regular responsibilities.  Well, the gentleman who drew the short straw and was assigned to clean up the mess at the employee entrance became the hero of the day.  As he was collecting shreds of the bear mess, he noticed a bouquet of flowers lying on the concrete.  After hearing all of the chatter on the radio about the landfill and wedding, he took the bouquet to Callie.  Insert Callie’s shrieks of joy and everyone’s utter disbelief. 

The hungry bear saved the day!!

I could write a book on the lessons learned, the praise and thanks, and our appreciation for such a marvelous team at Old Edwards Inn.  As I’m writing this post, I am still in disbelief that we found the family heirloom pieces.  If this story didn’t bring you to tears, this sweet little preview video of the wedding just might! Enjoy this trailer film from our friends, Chris and Toni Wheaton, at Heart Stone Films.  

Sarah and Drew truly are part of the kindest, most caring, gracious families!  We couldn’t be happier for these newlyweds and can’t wait to share so much more than just this crazy story with you in the coming months. 

Until then, cheers to the bears!

Betsy