Brittany & Ian: “In sickness and in health, in wins and in losses”

Ian Silverii and Brittany Petterson’s wedding announcement picture in front of the Governor’s Mansion.

I love the story of how Ian Silverii and Brittany Pettersen met.

On a cold December day at the corner of 13th Avenue and Sherman Street, right in front of Denver’s version of Portlandia, City O’ City, and just a block from the state Capitol, Ian was headed to a meeting and Brittany was standing in the freezing cold with a clipboard.

Brittany Pettersen and Ian Silverii laugh as friends and family tell stories about them at their wedding.

“Do you have a minute to save the children?” she asked.

“No,” Ian replied, “but I have about 30 minutes to flirt with you.”

I burst out laughing when I read about that encounter on the couple’s wedding website. I met Ian when he had the good sense to introduce himself to me at Hamburger Mary’s and say he was a huge fan of my reporting. His line to Brittany in 2009 was so him: fast and funny.

Their wedding Saturday at the Governor’s Mansion was such a Demapalooza that Sen. Lois Court joked enough lawmakers were present to go into an emergency special session and vote to fund the energy office.

Former House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst officiated. She oversaw the House Majority Project when Brittany successfully ran for the legislature in 2012. Ian had worked for the House Majority Project, and as the media director for the House Democratic caucus (that’s when I really got to know him). He then served as Hullinghorst’s chief of staff when she became speaker. He now is the executive director of ProgressNow.

Three state lawmakers are running for the Democratic nomination for CD7 and they’re all friends: Sen. Dominick Moreno of Commerce City, Rep. Brittany Pettersen of Lakewood and Sen. Andy Kerr of Lakewood, at Pettersen’s wedding Saturday.

As for Brittany, she is one of three Democratic state lawmakers running for Congress in District 7 in 2018. Hullinghorst got a huge laugh when she opened the ceremony by welcoming “family, friends and primary opponents.”

Brittany’s two primary opponents, Sens. Andy Kerr and Dominick Moreno, watched her and Ian exchange vows.

The wedding party included two lawmakers, Reps. Faith Winter of Westminster and Chris Kennedy of Lakewood. Three of the many “groomsmen” had worked alongside Ian in the House: David Oppenheim, Sadie Hansen and Courtney Law.

The current occupant of CD 7, Congressman Ed Perlmutter, is running for governor. He and his wife Nancy were at the wedding. Other guests included U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet and his wife, Susan Daggett; former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb and his wife, former state Rep. Wilma Webb; the current lieutenant governor, Donna Lynne; former Lt. Gov. Barbara O’Brien (Brittany ran her campaign for Denver school board), and Denver District Attorney Beth McCann, who served in the House with Brittany when Ian was a House staffer.

Rep. Janet Buckner of Aurora, former Rep. Max Tyler of Lakewood and former Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst before the wedding of Ian Silverii and Brittany Pettersen.  “My kids,” Buckner called them.

Back to that first meeting: Ian immediately called his mother in New Jersey with the news that he just met the woman he was going to marry. Was she Jewish? No, but she was the one. Brittany took the more gradual approach. She said one night when they were out with friends she looked over at Ian and thought about how happy he was going to make some girl some day. And then it hit her.

2010 turned out to be a  grueling year for Democrats with the Tea Party mood sweeping the nation. Brittany worked for Bennet, who narrowly eked out a victory. Ian worked for the House Majority Project and watched in agony as Democrats lost the House by a single seat. (Full disclosure: I attended Republican Speaker Frank McNulty’s wedding.)

Brittany and Ian’s family and friends told great stories about them — how Ian used to watch West Wing and predicted he would be Josh Lyman when he grew up. Which kind of happened. Brittany has always been candid about her tough childhood and her determination to rise above it, and her friends talked about zest for life and the smarts under that Colorado Barbie look.

But first they exchanged vows. “In sickness and in health, in wins and in losses.”

The happy couple listen and laugh as friends and family tell stories about Ian Silverii and Brittany Pettersen.

1 thought on “Brittany & Ian: “In sickness and in health, in wins and in losses”

  1. It was so lovely to meet you, Lynn. It warms my heart to know that so many people love and respect Ian as much as I do. We welcome Brittany into our film with great joy and pleasure. Thank you for all of your kind words, love and support for Ian and Brittany.

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