Lau-lei & Michael: Mark Mirocha Photography

Saturday, November 10 2012

Lau-lei and Michael’s Laurel Ridge Winery wedding was everything they wanted: intimate, personal and full of tradition. Although there were a few bumps throughout the day, that didn’t damper the newlyweds’ spirits, and they had a beautiful and heartfelt day. Their photographer, Mark Mirocha, tells us, “It was one of the most serene and peaceful wedding ceremonies that I have ever been a part of.” We had the pleasure of talking with Lau-lei about her and Michael’s special day:

Our wedding day was calm and crazy at the same time. On our way to the venue I got a text from my mother saying they were running late and then a text from the groomsman who was picking up all the other groomsmen that one of them was MIA and they couldn't get a hold of him. Then when we were about halfway there it started to RAIN! Yep, I freaked out. But after a few minutes I had a moment of clarity. I thought, "This is just the Creator's way of showing me that I cannot control everything," and at that moment I decided to accept that and not stress anymore.

When we were all done getting ready Michael's family had not yet arrived. They were traveling from Washington and our venue was out in the country and presumably they got lost. I said we could wait for them for a little longer but after about 20 minutes it started to get dark. I gingerly told my husband that we would have to start without them. He was a little heartbroken but agreed. After all if we didn't start soon no one would be able to see our wedding.

While everyone walked down the aisle my mom and two aunts sang a traditional Yurok song and their beautiful voices echoed over the hills. We started to walk down the aisle but I kept tripping on my dress which made us have to walk very slowly. Turns out that was a blessing in disguise because just as we reached the guests my mother in law and her family showed up! I think that may have been the most memorable moment—the look of relief and joy on Michael's face that his mother would not miss one of the most important days of his life.


My grandmother performed the ceremony. My people are story tellers and she kept in that tradition telling the story of how woodpeckers mate for life and when one dies the other dies soon after. She also told of the words for husband and wife. Here is a small excerpt: "The sun is called wha. The moon is called xutLe wha. The words describe celestial beings. A wife is called wha'ut. A word meaning wife but translates celestial host. My wish is that every time Michael looks to the sun or moon he will know that his wife is equal to them. Now, xong' is the word for fire. When we think of fire we think of warmth, necessity, passion and a beacon to the heavenly beings. Husband is called whi xong', translating to my fire. It is also my wish that every time Lau-lei warms herself next to the fire she will be reminded of all it represents in Michael." I was so honored to have had my grandmother perform our ceremony. I will cherish her words for the rest of my life.

Congratulations to Lau-lei and Michael! To see more photos, visit the Mark Mirocha Photography blog.