Laura & Sarah shared personal, intimate vows in front of their favorite people at their outdoor Lake Tahoe wedding day.
Our story began four years ago at a cocktail bar in San Francisco. We connected through a dating app and had been chatting for two weeks. This was Laura’s first online date, and lucky for Sarah, it was her last. After just one date, we had a feeling we would be in each other’s lives forever. With hours and hours of Laura telling hilarious jokes and Sarah inserting her east coast sass, we knew we were hooked. After the first date, we found every possible excuse to spend more time with one another. The next three years were filled with endless adventures together, from backpacking through Patagonia and Southeast Asia to cozy weekend ski trips in Lake Tahoe.
Tell us about the proposal.
S: Laura mentioned that she wanted to propose to me someday, and I was beyond excited for that potential. Being the planner that Laura was, she organized a beautiful fall weekend trip for us. She called it the “2.5-year anniversary trip”, I didn’t question it because I would never turn down an excuse to escape the city for the weekend. It all started with Laura waiting outside the hospital after my 12-hour shift with a car full of balloons. “Are you ready for your scavenger hunt?!” she asked. I sure was. The hunt took place over multiple days and consisted of various questions, with the answer to each question was inside the balloons.
Our first stop that night was at a brewery in Santa Cruz, then we continued down the coast to Monterey. We woke up the following morning for a spa day that Laura arranged for us. She surprised me with a fantastic coconut bath that was decorated with rose petals, glasses of champagne, and a perfect view overlooking the Monterey Bay. We slid into our romantic bath to almost immediately be interrupted by a knock on the door. I dragged myself out of the tub and was surprised to see a woman in a suit standing at the door. “You must evacuate the building IMMEDIATELY,” she said. With no further information, I told Laura she had to get out of the bath ASAP. Extremely flustered, Laura hurried out of the tub. The second her silky coconut foot hit the ground, she wiped out on her butt. So if you can imagine, we have a woman in a suit standing at the door, while my naked girlfriend is flailing around on the ground with bath suds flying all over the place. We finally gained composure and made it out of the building.
After three hours of waiting outside in our bathrobes, we finally gained access to our hotel room. At this point, Laura was extremely stressed that the morning was such a failure, but she still planned on finishing the scavenger hunt.
While she was in the shower, the hotel manager called our room and apologized immensely for the evacuation. He offered to reimburse everything and give us a free stay in the future. He then went on to say, “I just can’t apologize enough. I know how stressful today is with the proposal and everything.” Well, at this point, I just about passed out! The rest of the conversation was a complete blur. Laura then yells out, “who was that?!” I told her, still white in the face, it was the hotel manager, and he would be covering everything for our stay. She was confused as to why I wasn’t more enthusiastic. Meanwhile, I was just trying to keep down my lunch at this point.
We went on with our magical day, wine tasting in Carmel, driving down the coast of big sur, all without me saying a word. We made it to our last stop of the day. With only one balloon left, I wondered if this would be the conclusion of my scavenger hunt. That night, we were staying in a twig hut nestled away in Big Sur. As the sun started to set, Laura gifted me a handmade book that reflected on our entire relationship. With tears in my eyes, I popped my final balloon. As I glanced over the last message of the scavenger hunt, “will you marry me?” Laura got down on one knee. There wasn’t a person insight, and it was the most perfectly imperfect engagement I could have ever dreamed of.
Did you undertake any DIY projects for the big day?
Yes! All of our signage and handmade details were DIY. We made all of our signs, chalkboards, and easels together. We even created our own corn hole set (lawn game)! Laura did all of the calligraphy, including all of the names on our beer growler seating charts.
Our favorite DIY project was handmade coasters from a fallen redwood tree on our friend’s property. We were able to make 150 coasters! We sliced, sanded, and stained each individual one and completed it with a wood-burning stamp designed by one of our bridesmaids. Not only did we use this as a little takeaway for guests, but we also tied individual name tags to use as place cards.
Tell us about the wedding day.
We woke up bright and early in separate houses and enjoyed a laid-back morning of getting ready with our wedding parties. Before the ceremony, we met at Laura’s house for the first look. Sarah was escorted through the woods with her eyes closed as she made her way towards Laura. Seeing each other for the first time was absolutely breathtaking. We hugged, and laughed, and galivanted through the woods with our photographer and videographer. As we headed for the house, we were welcomed by our wedding parties joined together on the pier, cheering, with champagne corks popping left and right. We all got on a bus together and headed for the venue.
The ceremony was short and sweet and perfectly personalized to our love story. We said our vows, exchanged our rings, then headed for the party. We danced for hours to our live band as the full harvest moon lit up the sky on Friday the 13th.
What are some of the unforgettable moments from the day?
Sharing our vows was definitely the most memorable part of our day. Allowing ourselves to be completely vulnerable with one another in front of all of our favorite people in our lives was a feeling we will never forget.
Dancing was also REALLY fun. The band was incredible, and the dance floor was overflowing the whole night!
The day after our wedding was a blast as well. We hosted all of our guests for a lakeside BBQ. There was nothing left to stress about, no schedules or time limits, and we just enjoyed being married.
Our photographer and videographer came over that morning for a “trash the dress session.” We floated on a giant unicorn in the middle of Lake Tahoe, did a slip and slide down the lawn, repeatedly cannonball plunged into the freezing cold lake, all in our wedding dresses.
Your wedding vows were personal, and so thoughtful, can you share them with us?
One thousand two hundred and sixty-one days ago, you swept me off my feet. I immediately knew after our first date that we had something undeniably special. I fell fast, hopelessly, and harder than I ever thought possible. It wasn’t long before I knew you were my person, and quite honestly, I’d never been so sure about anything in my entire life.
Since the day I met you, you’ve inspired me and challenged me to be the best person that I can be. From my goofiness to my sassiness, you embrace every ounce of me. You never fail to make me feel safe, supported, and unbelievably loved. You’ve opened my eyes to the beauty of the great outdoors and showed me that some of life’s most beautiful places are best seen on foot. But most importantly of all, you’ve taught me how to share my snacks.
Whether it’s endless games of rummy on some remote island, gallivanting around the house in our Santa onesies, or Sunday football at our favorite spot, it is always with you that I have my best days. But today, today is my favorite day.
I love you because you always find a way to make me feel calm at life’s most stressful moments. Loving how we fit so seamlessly into one another’s families. I love that you unpack your suitcase right after a trip, even if it means repacking it a week later. And I love you for always wanting to pack that bag the second it’s empty. What I love about you most is how you continuously go out of your way to put others first. You are the most selfless person I have ever known.
For the rest of our lives, I promise to never stop challenging you. I promise to communicate with you and to be the light during your darkest times. Also, I promise to be the brave one when it comes to unwanted insects in our home. I promise to work my hardest to be the best mother to our children someday. And I promise to always be by your side as we adventure through this crazy thing called life.
The happiness and fulfillment you bring me is nothing I could have ever dreamed of. You are absolutely perfect for me and give me something to look forward to every single day. You are my world, and I can’t wait to love you forever.
I’ll never forget the moment I laid eyes on you for the first time. Three and a half years ago, in a dimly lit bar in San Francisco. I don’t think I’d ever seen anything so beautiful in my life. Your single dimple, the way your laugh-filled up the entire room, and the authenticity you embodied. Fast forward a few months, and I knew a lifetime with you Sarah could never be long enough for me.
Our love story took off fast and hasn’t slowed down since. It didn’t take long for me to realize people from the East Coast are a little more honest than us Midwesterners. But this honesty that you bring to our relationship every day is one of my favorite qualities about you. You stay true to yourself and encourage me to do the same.
Our love story is something I’ve dreamt of finding my entire life. You love me Sarah, in a way that I’ve never been loved before. In a way, I didn’t know I was worthy of being loved. It is the way you hold onto me at night like it’s the last time you’ll ever see me. It’s the way that you support my dreams, even if it means spending weeks apart while I wander through the Sierras. It is how you are quick to forgive and never too stubborn to say I am sorry. It is the way you make me feel secure after we’ve argued – making sure I know you will never leave my side, even at our most challenging times. It’s the loyalty you bring to every friendship you have and the way you love them as if they were family. It is the way your eyes light up when Mason calls you “Auntie” and the way you love Maddison as if she was your own daughter. And above all else, it is how safe you make me feel in this love story. You love me so fiercely and so profoundly. And make me feel like I’m the most beautiful person every single day. It’s for these reasons, this type of love story, that I feel confident looking you in the eyes today in front of our closest friends and family and promising you a forever.
I know our forever won’t be easy, but I also know we are fighters, and we’re going to fight like hell for this marriage. I know our forever together will be filled with compromises where I promise to be as brave as you are and help you kill the spiders. And many days where I remember to take my shoes off before coming in the house. And many nights where I remember to rinse the toothpaste out of the sink. Our forever will be filled with loyalty and putting each other above all else. I will always choose you, even at our toughest times. Our forever is finding every moment to remember why we fell in love in the first place. Creating new memories together, spontaneous date nights, never being too busy for morning cuddles and reminding each other often how we feel in this moment today.
Our forever will also be filled with family and hopefully creating one of our own someday. I promise to walk hand in hand through motherhood with you, but I promise never to lose sight of us in that process. And lastly, our forever will be filled with honesty. The same quality that drew me to you from the very beginning. I promise always to speak my truth and listen to yours. I am not perfect and know that I’ll make mistakes along the way, but I promise that I’ll always give you honesty and never stop fighting for us- I love you so much Sarah. And I can’t wait to start this forever with you.
Photography by Martin Ngo
Bar Petite Street
Cake & Catering Blend Catering
Cinematographer Johnny B Films
Celebrant Terry Everson
Decorative Elements Theoni Collection
Engagement & Wedding Rings Derco Fine Jewelers, RP Diamond & Gold Imports
Entertainment Lucky Devils Band
Florist Love and Lupines
Gown Designer Mikaella Bridal
H&MU Salon Be
Planner & Stylist Audere Events
Shoes Jewel by Badgley Mischka Flats, Lulu’s
Venue Gatekeeper’s Museum
Wedding Party Gifts YETI
Wedding Party Outfits BHLDN, Lulu’s, Azazie, Menguin