What do a band of troubadours, dogs in tuxedos and a tractor driven entrance all have in common? They were the memorable details of Michele Rosier and Paul Bundy’s wedding, an event that mixed the rustic with the refined in a decidedly unique twist on the traditional pomp and circumstance.
Once Michele and Paul’s yearlong friendship became a romance, it was apparent to Michele that her days as a city slicker were numbered. She and Paul both dreamed of raising a family surrounded by the freedom and simplicity of nature and soon they had purchased a ranch in Oregon, where Paul was already living. Michele relocated from Los Angeles to build a new life there with him that already included his two amazing children, Mary Cate and PJ. “People started calling me Zsa Zsa Gabor,” laughs Michele, because of her similarity to the Park-Avenue-princess-turned-country-bumpkin the actress played on Green Acres. But Michele was so perfectly suited to her new lifestyle that she and Paul decided to get married at their Sweetwater Ranch, a wonderful way to “bless the land.”
As owner of Flowers by Michele at L.A.’s signature department store, Fred Segal, Michele was already keenly aware of the responsibilities involved in planning a wedding. She therefore recruited the help of friend and seasoned event planner, Mary Dann, to wrangle her countless ideas into one cohesive plan. There were so many factors for Dann to consider - an outdoor wedding at home, the participation of children and pets in an unconventional processional, Michele’s father as the officiator – but she expertly rose to the challenge with only a brief amount of time to rehearse with everyone before the big day.
When guests arrived at the ranch they were entertained by a twentyfive member strolling band with musicians and stilt walkers creating a circus-meets-Mardi Gras spectacle. The band paraded guests across a grassy pasture where they gathered under a grouping of trees and waited for the couple’s dramatic entrance. First, Michele’s father arrived on an all terrain vehicle, followed by Paul driving a tractor with his son seated in its raised bucket. Finally, Michele, her step-daughter and the family Yorkie were led toward the aisle on horseback where they dismounted into Paul’s arms. Holding a striking bouquet of crimson roses against her sleek yet saddle friendly gown, Michele and Paul walked the aisle together and stood beneath a chuppah fashioned from her grandmother’s tablecloth.
The couple’s vows, like their relationship, were both romantic and lighthearted and after Michele’s father pronounced, “You may kiss my daughter,” the unified Rosier-Bundy family rode off together on their “Oregon limo” (a.k.a. tractor) toward the reception.
Long, elegant tables partially protected by white market umbrellas sat overlooking the bucolic landscape. Wooden vessels holding white polo roses and horseshoes mingled with silver flatware and crystal glasses to create country chic tabletops. It seemed an ideal summer setting, but with dark clouds beginning to congregate overhead, Dann implemented her “Plan B” while Michele and Paul enjoyed their first dance. The rain, referred to by upbeat guests as “liquid sunshine,” began to fall, but thanks to the quick work of their coordinator, Michele and Paul continued their celebration indoors without a second thought. They cut their chocolate brown and white, asymmetrical cake in their living room and joined their guests to dance the evening away under a welcomed tent.
No one could deny that Michele and Paul’s wedding was completely their own, embracing their colorful personalities and celebrating their perfectly matched relationship. But beyond sharing their inimitable love with their guests, Michele and Paul also wanted to leave them with an experience they would never forget. It seems their mission was accomplished. “Our guests said they’d never seen anything like our wedding,” beamed Michele, adding, “we totally succeeded in blowing everyone away.”