We Rocked Our Snowy Wedding with Hot Cocoa and a Carriage Ride

P.S. Did you know snow and sequined crop tops are made for each other?


Seth, Professor & Olga, Pediatrician

SUM-UP OF THE WEDDING VIBE: Roasting marshmallows while dancing to Wild Bell while spilling champagne on muddy wingtips

Soundtrack Song: “This Head I Hold” by Electric Guest

Fairmont Banff National Park _124_1leaving the barn_26 Fairmont Banff Hotel‎ Wedding_52 Fairmont Banff Hotel‎ Wedding_98 Fairmont Banff Hotel‎ Wedding_104Fairmont Banff Hotel‎ Wedding_153 Fairmont Banff Hotel‎ Wedding_146 Fairmont Banff Hotel‎ Wedding_151 on the way_12 on the way_25 on the way_27on the way_47 reception _5 reception _20 reception _46 reception _65 reception _100 reception _123 reception _178 Seth and Olga _14Seth and Olga _27leaving the barn_34leaving the barn_12banff gondola _103 banff gondola _53banff gondola _8banff gondola _20 aurora_wedding_after_party_91aurora_wedding_after_party_362aurora_wedding_after_party_108


I loved the part where we came into the barn and instead of rice, people threw colored pompoms at us.


Olga and I met right at the end of college, in 2002, at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She’s from Detroit, and I’m from Brooklyn. At the time I was living in this scholarship house where the residents actually get to choose each incoming class, so I came to know about Olga first through her application to the house. I happened to be the resident philosophy major, and people wanted to know what I thought about her essay on Hegel. I’m not the sort of philosopher to particularly like Hegel… but her essay was great (though she still claims to be embarrassed about it), I gave it the thumbs up, and she was in. I had no idea then that I was voting on my future wife.

Eventually we started dating, and after we graduated and spent a summer bumming through France, we were about to take different directions: me to grad school in philosophy at MIT, and Olga to med school (Dartmouth, then Brown). We were on this hammock, and I could tell she was getting ready for me to say that we should break up. Given the situation, breaking up would make sense, but it just felt like the wrong thing to do to me, so instead I said: let’s try to make it work. And she was elated.

We were long distance for seven years, trying to make it work with weekend trips and summers together. It was tough. We almost didn’t make it. It wasn’t until 2009 that we were finally able to move in together in the Bay Area—Olga did her residency out here in pediatrics and I got a gig as a professor at Berkeley.

We’re a pretty nontraditional couple, so marriage was never something we felt looming over us, but at some point we thought it would be fun celebrate this thing we have in front of everyone we love. I proposed in Napa Valley, in a hammock like the one where we decided to stay together all those years back.

Our first idea was to do a beach wedding in Tulum or somewhere around the Yucatan, but after a trip there to scout the possibilities, we just couldn’t find a place to the host the sort of party we wanted to have. So we shifted gears and turned our attention to winter destinations. Our shortlist was Jackson, Wyoming, Telluride, Colorado, and Banff, Alberta, Canada. We’d never been to Banff, but it struck us as the most promising, so we flew there to see if it would feel like a cool place to have our party, and it did. It’s a lot closer than it seems, but still feels remote and magical. And of course the mountains are epic in a way that’s hard to find anywhere else in North America. (Oh, and it’s way less expensive than Jackson or Telluride.)

We organized the wedding with about six months lead time. Our morning ceremony was on the deck at the Banff Springs hotel. We took horses from there to the barn, which was in the bow valley of Banff. It’s a real barn—we actually had to talk the owners into letting us use it. There were plenty of reindeer hanging out right outside the barn. After a BBQ lunch, we packed everyone in a school bus and took them to a gondola to the top of a mountain. There was a siesta, and then a big dance party at night. It was hectic and stressful—and of course, the only day with a bit of rain during the whole trip was our wedding day—but it didn’t make it any less perfect.


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