Chelsie and Ross what can I say about them? Well everything because they are one of the cutest and perfect couples I have ever met. I was actually surprised when they hired me because I had met with them at a Starbucks that literally closed 15 minutes after we got there. So I didn’t have much time to really talk with them, but I was hoping they would. They were outdoors people, like me, who love to backpack and hike and generally be outside. In fact they got engaged while hiking Horsetail Falls and their love story is magical as well.
I really loved hearing about their story because it was like something out of a movie. In this technological age it's not uncommon that they met on a dating website. Chelsie was apprehensive about meeting a guy for a date online, but decided to take the chance anyway because of what he said in his text messages. I think most of us that have tried the online dating route have had the same apprehension, sometimes the dates are great and sometimes not so much. It’s weird going out with someone you don’t already know, but obviously they hit it off.
I asked Chelsie about the best date they ever had and when she told it to me it reminded me of a Nicholas Sparks novel. They had made a day trip to Bodega Bay, which by itself is an amazing place to hang out. But literally all the cliché moments in romantic novels happened to them. She said they went to a beach where they flew a kite and played in the sand and at the same time a pod of dolphins swam past them. As the day started to wind down they sat on the beach with wine and cheese and watched the sunset. As it was setting a regal buck passed by them. When the sun disappeared the Milky Way lit up before their eyes. As they were watching the glimmer of the stars several shooting stars shot through the sky. They discovered that night was the height of a meteor shower. If that's not a Nicholas Sparks date I don't know what is.
I believe their wedding had the same romanticism that this date had. They had a small intimate wedding at Mulvaney’s B&L in downtown Sacramento. The setting was amazing! It was in courtyard between two restaurants. The space was so magical it didn’t need any decor. Brick walls lined the entire space. A full sized tree grew from one side of the space and canopied to the other side and it was wrapped in white holiday lights. The back wall had a beautiful metal sculpture of lily pads and again white lights weaved in and out of it. The perfect back drop for the perfect couple! The bar area had white lights and chili peppers hanging overhead and glowing stained glass windows. I thought it was the most beautiful backdrop for the most beautiful bride, see the first photo in the mosaic below.
The ceremony was very emotional with tears, laughter and of course lots of love, but in cute couple fashion Chelsie forgot the love letters they were supposed to read to each other. I think it might have been better that way as they can read them to each other in private. The letters will go in a wine box they had their names engraved on. They'll read the letters and share the bottle of wine on their first anniversary. Then write another letter, save it in the box and open it again on their second anniversary, so on and so forth. They plan on doing this for the rest of their lives. My heart melted when I heard this idea and I can only imagine what those letters will mean to them over time.
Their reception reminded me of a Martha Stewart magazine. They had long rectangular tables with candles, garland and fancy dinner settings. Did I mention it was perfect? They had a three course meal with lots of spirits to go around. The best man, woman and sister made some great speeches from comical to heartfelt. The love this family had for each other was undeniable and I know it will endure the test of time. The best part of the reception, I thought, was the first dance. It was truly magical underneath the canopy of the big tree while Chelsie’s brothers played “I’m on Fire” by Bruce Springsteen. Another reason I loved these two is there awesome taste in music! They were so snuggly and cute it made for the best first dance photos. A photographers dream!
I love intimate weddings! I feel like I say this all the time, but I really do. There's just something about small weddings that excite me. Maybe it's because I feel there's less fuss about them being perfect and more about the couple expressing their love. I'm not saying that big weddings aren't about love, but the bride and groom are just worrying about everyone else during big celebrations. I feel the bride and groom should be enjoying their guest's company and each other on their wedding day. That's why I was so stoked when Katie contacted me from Pennsylvania to do their intimate wedding in Tahoe.
A lot of intimate weddings I have had the privilege to photograph never do anything traditional. For Katie and Eryck's wedding I didn't do bride preparation photos or send off photos. They simply didn't want that. They just wanted something simple to document their day. Unfortunately, I didn't get to meet them before their wedding, but we talked over the phone and they filled out a questionnaire about themselves as a couple. Once I spoke to them and read their responses I knew they were my kind of people.
Katie and Eryck love the outdoors and they love to travel! Katie's Instagram stories are of beautiful places in Pennsylvania where they are from. She's usually hiking with her adorable lab/collie mix. Eryck proposed to Katie on a hike in Iceland. What a perfect place to get engaged for two people who love the outdoors.
My favorite part of their story is their first date. They went to a banjo night at the Elks Lodge in their hometown. I mean anyone who does first dates that are out of the ordinary has my heart already. A banjo night is something my husband and I would totally do.
These two have also been going on "dates" all over the world. One of their favorites was traveling to Munich, Germany to visit an old college roommate. As we all know traveling can be very stressful, but it's a great way to get to know someone in stressful situations. Katie said this wasn't the most perfect trip and that it tested their relationship. Obviously, they both passed the stressful situations test.
Their wedding is a reflection of this adventurous and intimate relationship. They love Tahoe because it represented all the things they love, the outdoors, hiking, views and good food. (Oh I forgot to mention they love good food and are avid cooks.) If you have never been to The Ridge Resorts in Tahoe you have to see it to believe it. The resort literally sits on a ridge. I feel if there ever was an earthquake it would just topple over down the other side of the mountain. The wedding site looks out over a valley that Minden and Gardnerville (small cities in Nevada) lie in. Even though it's not a view of the lake it's still breathtaking as you can see the entire valley with the Pine Nut Mountain range in the background. (Side note: did you know that Nevada is the most mountainous state?) Next to the resort is part of the Tahoe Rim Trail. One of the most beautiful hikes in California that goes around the entire lake.
Even though the wedding site it small it definitely is one of the most beautiful and it's great because you don't have to jazz up the space at all with decorations. The view and surroundings are their own decorations. Katie and Eryck know the true beauty of nature and like nature they kept their ceremony simple. The vows were short and sweet and everything was simple including her dress, the wedding party and the reception. The most memorable part of the ceremony, for me at least, is that she walked down the aisle to the Jurassic Park theme song. I'm pretty sure it was intentional (I forgot to ask), but if it wasn't it'll be a great story to tell everyone! (I'm pretty positive it was intentional.)
Lastly, I just want to say thank you to Katie and Eryck for allowing me to be a part of their special day. It's such an honor to be allowed into such a tight circle of family and friends. I wish both of you a life of love and happiness although I think you already have that.