Amanda (known as Mandy) and Jon grew up in northern California—way north—in Shasta Lake City and Cottonwood respectively. They always chuckle when people ask how they met, because they’ve essentially known each other their whole lives. Both of their moms were best friends since they were four, and their grandparents still live across the street from each other.

“We’d see each other at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, watching each other grow up, date other people, go off to college,” says Mandy. “In 2008, something changed. Life, as it seems to do, brought us together when it was finally ‘right.’”

Before Christmas in 2012, the couple spent a morning in San Francisco, walking around Union Square, getting tea and looking at the decorations. “Jon’s only request for the day was to go to the Palace of Fine Arts,” remembers Mandy. “As we were walking up to the main structure, I spotted my stepdad’s signature cowboy hat and his wife. My sister popped her head around the side of my stepdad with a huge grin on her face…then my mom, her husband and his parents. Jon dropped to his knee, and everything kind of…stopped.”

Before the wedding, the pair sat down together and went over what was most important to them. The combined list included music, food and a photographer. “We focused the majority of our resources and time on those things,” says the bride.

“I love planning, so the wedding was a big happy blur of lists, spreadsheets and binders,” she adds. “I definitely had moments of getting overwhelmed and panicked, but I had a huge team of people who came together and created this wedding army that always kept me on track.” Mandy also hired a day-of coordinator, Jodi Drysdale with Chico Event Specialists, who proved vital in ironing out the logistics in the days leading up to the wedding and made the day go off without a hitch.

The couple kept the ceremony short and sweet, with the vows personally written by each of them. “Because our moms were such a huge part of our story, we made sure to include them by having my mom read a poem I selected, and Jon’s mom read a prayer that he picked out,” she says.

Guests took a short walk from the ceremony area to the courtyard at Centerville Estates for the reception. They served one of the couple’s favorite foods from their college and dating days: Woodstock’s Pizza, followed by individually boxed Krispy Kreme donuts in lieu of a big wedding cake. Everyone got a Mason jar filled with wine or beer and enjoyed acoustic musicians Ryan Hernandez and Kaz play before the DJ took over.

“I honestly don’t know how you pick a favorite moment from our wedding,” shares Mandy. “The whole day was magic.”

—Darren Elms