August 24th, 2018 // South Lake Tahoe, California

Our Amazing Wedding Photographers: Cedar & Pines

And incredible, but retired Videographer: Jairo Barrera

When I tell you that my husband and I had the best day ever, I truly mean that I wouldn’t change a thing about what we did. When I talk to a lot of couples who didn’t get much of a say in the way their day went, my heart aches for them because I want everyone to look back on their wedding day and have the same goosebumps I do when I think about mine.

So, if you’re a couple of mine or you’re a stranger here looking for inspiration to do your own thing – please, for the love of god, eat your heart out.

For anyone that knows Marcus and I’s relationship, they know that the entire foundation of our love is built on Big Daddy quotes, hockey, the outdoors, and our dogs. We tried to include as much of that in our wedding weekend as possible.

On Thursday night, we drove up to Tahoe with all of our friends and got settled in two separate houses. My girls and I planned to stay at my family’s home in Stateline, NV and Marcus and the guys stayed at an AirBnB in South Lake Tahoe, CA. Marcus had Zuko and I had Naga with me. One thing not many people know is that we actually got married for real at Marcus’ AirBnB in South Lake. Our officiant was only licensed in California and the spot we chose to have the ceremony was technically in Nevada. So, surrounded by beers, our closest friends, our dogs, and our photographers Megan & Nate, we got married for real and we laughed A LOT.

On Friday morning, the girls and I got up and went to breakfast. Per my knowledge, the dudes did the same. I spruced up my vows while in the shower, and asked one of my bridesmaids to order 15 pizzas for that night. I took my time getting ready. My best friend Shelby did my makeup and the wonderful Lizzy Leigh did my hair.

Once I was ready, Megan, our videographer Jairo, Naga and I drove together to my favorite trailhead. Nate, Zuko and Marcus had already made their way up the trail so we weren’t at risk of seeing each other until I reached the waterfall where Marcus was waiting.

Naga beat me to Marcus and made a literal splash in the waterfall, completely ruining the emotional moment for our first look. Marcus was fully prepared to cry, but all we could do was laugh at how “us” it was that Naga flopped her perfectly groomed body down in the cold water at Marcus’ feet. It was there that we read our vows from our phones, and had some time alone together. We hiked back together slowly, soaking in the day as much as possible.

While we were gone, our friends and family rallied to put together our ceremony set up in a meadow close to my family’s home. Our grandparents were present, so our groomsmen took extra care to make a bridge across the stream for them. I honestly don’t know how everything got done, but I couldn’t be more grateful for the effort that happened behind the scenes.

Marcus, our dogs and I drove to the ceremony meadow together. Once we arrived, I handed our dogs off to our “dog wrangler” and groomsman and Marcus went to go help with the remainder of the ceremony set up. I took my dad by the arm, and he walked me down to our magical meadow where everyone I love was waiting and watching.

We’re not religious – pretty agnostic actually – so our ceremony was short and sweet. Here’s the part I will never forget though- when Marcus and I kissed for the first time as husband and wife, Naga was let off her leash and almost as if she knew, she jumped up to kiss us in excitement. Her joy was so sweet. Few things in this world make me cry, but thinking about that moment will always get me goin’.

Once we finished up photos and fled the scene (bees) we all went back to my family’s home for pizza and beers. It was an extremely chill night, and getting to enjoy the night without any hoopla with SO important.

The next morning, we got up for an intimate sunrise session with Megan and Nate. It was nice to decompress before more festivities began. That evening, our families and friends helped cook and set up a backyard party for everyone we couldn’t invite to our nuptials. We didn’t have photographers there, but I don’t regret that. I wore the same wedding dress (now ombre’d in dirt) had my makeup done all over again and then put my hair in a braid. Our parents put out an amazing dinner for 100 people, a friend from work tended the bar, and some of my other coworkers dj’d. It was so DIY, but so special because it took a ton of effort from our parents and loved ones. I will never ever take for granted how much work was put into making Marcus and I happy.

About halfway through the night the cops were called on a noise complaint, so we went inside and had our very own emo nite. We belted songs from middle school and had sing along after sing along. We did this for hours and belted well into the middle of the night. It was messy and imperfect, but so perfect at the same time. I have never been happier.

Every last detail was made with love and held so close to our hearts-

Photography: Cedar & Pines // Megan & Nate

Videography: Jairo Barrera

Florals: Box of Love Reno

Makeup: My Maid of Honor, Shelby Lundquist

Hair: Lizzy Leigh

Dress: Swoon Bridal // Asa – Willowby By Watters

Arch Macrame: My bridesmaid, Taylor Hinson

Groomsmen Bowties & Arch: Our Best Man, Cameron Vournazos

Zuko’s Bowtie & crystal design: My good friend Brooke Mikkelsen

Bridesmaids Lanterns: Bertu on Etsy

French Macarons: Ally Sewell