Tara and Ryan definitely brought some sunshine to our rainy photo shoot. Their fun personalties made them a joy to work with – plus, they’re totally in love with each other! It wasn’t hard to capture candid, intimate moments between them. Read on to hear about their love story and to see the undeniable love they share.

What made you want to model for this photo shoot?

What bride doesn’t want to play dress up? I saw the contest posting and just knew, “I’m going to do that!” We wanted to take advantage of our engagement to celebrate our love in a very diverse way. Considering how we both separately thought we’d never get married before meeting each other. So now we want to do all the wedding fun things to say, “Hey!! I get to marry this person! This is awesome! Love is awesome!” This shoot seemed like the perfect time to do it! A pre-wedding dress rehearsal!

What was your favorite part of modeling? What was the most challenging part?

We got to experience what a wedding would be like! Considering how we haven’t had ours yet, we realized on the shoot just how fast time flies when you’re having fun. By the time the day was over, we realized that our wedding would be just as fast. We were present in every moment, we had a blast, but we were super tired by the end. It made us realize that we need to take breaks throughout our wedding to be sure to recharge. Plus, seeing how seamlessly the Real Weddings crew work on the shoot was remarkable to see.

What was your favorite part of this concept? Did you relate to the concept?

I loved that the concept embraced my tattoos! My body art got to be displayed which, as a stage actress, I spend a lot of time covering up. Celebrating my body art and my curves felt so liberating! It made us both feel sexy! It also captured our dramatic flare. As artists, we feel like it really embodied the things we naturally gravitate towards: bold colors, interesting textures and shiny things!

What do you do for a living?

We are both artists by trade. Ryan’s a professional musician, lighting/sound designer and web developer. I am a professional actress. When I’m not onstage, I work in donor outreach for a local blood bank and I run the organization Happiness Shared Northern California in my spare time!

What do you do for fun?

We love taking road trips! We’re also big on walking around midtown, cooking new dishes together, seeing local theater, going to see bands play, and we love going out to eat at new places! Also, we love laughing at episodes of Portlandia and enjoying wine tastings from our wine club at Rendezvous Wine.

Tell us about your love story. 

We met while working on a professional play at Capital Stage in Sacramento. He was in the orchestra and I was in the play. It wasn’t until opening night that we first spoke. Our first hello very quickly turned into long talks outside of the theater after shows, which then lead to our “not first date” first date! A bunch of us were suppose to go to lunch but when everyone but us bailed, we ended up spending 3 hours together talking. After that, I knew I had it bad for him. And vice versa. We became boyfriend & girlfriend within 3 weeks. Within a month we both proclaimed to each other and our families that we thought we found “the one.” We very quickly knew this was it. There was something indescribable that happened between us that can’t be defined by a certain moment or action.

As our relationship grew and progressed, we started lightly talking about marriage. Around Halloween, we talked about rings. I informed him I wanted something with a vintage feel, something with personality and a story. It was then I randomly blurted out, “I’d totally take your last name!” I previously wasn’t sure if I would, but finding my one made me want to change my name. Then at the start of Christmas time, every time the song “Santa Baby” came on the radio, I’d sing the part “forgot to mention one little thing; a ring” to him. It became our Christmas song. Unbeknownst to me, he had had a ring in his possession since Thanksgiving but was unsure when to purpose.

After Christmas dinner at his parents, he and his best friends/band mates broke out their instruments for a Christmas carol sing along. When the final song came on, they asked me to come up and sing. The song of choice was “Santa Baby.” Clueless, I went to the piano to sing unaware of what was about to happen. My back was turned to everyone as I tried to read the lyrics to the song. Little did I know his whole family was in on it! He recruited one of his brothers to film the event and another brother to take photos. As I got to the lyrics, “forgot to mention one little thing; a ring” he grabbed my hand and spun me around. There he was, down on one knee with the ring in hand. Of course, I totally ugly cried and squealed “yes” with delight!

 Tell us about your own wedding.

It’s going to be A FUN ONE! Seriously, our goal is to have a giant party. We want our guests to eat good food (Chando’s Tacos food truck), drink lots of wine, dance and to let their hair down for a few hours. We’re supporting local businesses along with utilizing our very talented group of friends and family who’ve offered their talents including web design, photography, wedding coordination and hair and make up. Plus, the Real Weddings shoot introduced out to our cake designer, Above & Beyond Cakes! Our theme is jazzy retro (think 50s jazz club). We’re combining his amazing musician skills, my love for all things pin-up with a lot of gold glitter. We cannot wait to celebrate with our closest friends and family!

What was it like modeling with your significant other?

AWESOME! It really made the day even more special. Sharing the experience together gave us a very unique and personalized adventure. We’re best friends, so who doesn’t love spending the day with their closest friend? It allowed us to celebrate our love even more, and allowed us both to be less nervous about shooting!

If you could offer any advice to future brides, what would it be?

Give advice? I’m still looking for advice for my own wedding! The only thing I can say about this process is to remember to have fun. Sometimes I get caught up in all the planning stress and have to stop to remind myself, “We are getting married!! This is truly a momentous occasion.” I just envision all my loved ones and us having fun and all the smiling that will happen. Suddenly those butterflies return and the stress fades.

-Interviewed by Kelley Saia

“In The Mood For Love” was produced by Lisa Lucia—L Squared Affairs, Cheryl Sage—Accents by Sage Floral Design, Emily Peter and Wendy Sipple—Real Weddings Magazine.

The Details
VENUE  |   The Flower Farm  |  916-652-4200  |  flowerfarminn.com

PHOTOGRAPHER  |  Nikki Hancock Photography  |  916-849-7427  |  nikkihancock.com

DESIGN, STYLING AND COORDINATION  |   L Squared Affairs  |  916-800-4522  |  lsquaredaffairs.com

STYLING AND FLORAL DESIGN  |  Accents by Sage Floral Design  |  916-799-6242  |  accentsbysage.com

CAKE  |  Above & Beyond Cakes  |  916-672-2259  |  aboveandbeyondcakes.com

CATERER  |  The Hidden Table  |  916-337-8613  |  thehiddentablegourmet.com

DESSERT BAR  |  Capital Confections  |  916-973-0249  |  capitalconfections.com

HAIR AND MAKEUP  |  Jenifer Haupt, I Make Beautiful  |  Jenifer Haupt, Hair and Makeup  |  916-532-9800   |  imakebeautiful.com

TARA’S GOWNS  |  Sparkle Bridal Couture  |  916-538-6615  |  sparklebridalcouture.com

RYAN’S TUXEDO  |  Always Elegant Bridal & Tuxedo  |  530-755-4282  |  530-487-7110  |  alwayselegantbridal.net

JEWELRY AND RYAN’S TIES AND JACKET  |  Macy’s  |  macys.com
Arden Fair Mall  |  916-925-2845  |  Downtown Plaza  |  916-444-3333  |  Sunrise Mall  |  916-962-3333  |  Westfield Galleria at Roseville  |  916-771-3333

Carolee carolee.com
Chloe + Isabel  |  chloeandisabel.com
Stella & Dot stelladot.com
Style Avenue Studios  |  916-812-1114  |  styleavenuestudios.com

HAIR ACCESSORIES  |  Formé Millinery Co. formeonlineshop.com

PAPERIE  |  Paper n Peonies   |  903-780-7772  |  etsy.com/shop/papernpeonies

Botanica Specialty Rentals  |  916-673-8650  |  botanicaevents.com

GUN METAL DINING CHAIRS  |  Celebrations! Party Rentals & Tents
916-773-2133  |  775-773-8900  |  celebrationspartyrentals.com

WHISKEY A-GO-GO VINTAGE TRAILER  |  Vintagique  |  530-391-2713  |  vintagique.com


VIDEOGRAPHER  |  Justin Buettner Wedding Photography   |  916-220-0159  |  jbweddingphoto.com

Special thanks to our real couple models, Tara & Ryan, and all of the professionals who contributed to this feature!


Blog post by Real Weddings Magazine’s Associate Editor, Emily Peter.

Photos by Nikki Hancock Photography / copyright Real Weddings Magazine.

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