Like many couples, Andra and Billy met in high school. But what’s a little more unusual is that they met because Billy’s friend, who had a crush on Andra, had asked Billy to break the ice on his behalf. But everyone fell out of touch after high school, until Andra and Billy reconnected in 2013. The two dated for five years before Billy proposed at San Francisco’s Baker Beach. “Suddenly, he grabbed my hand and started telling me how much he loved me,” says Andra. “I thought, ‘oh, how sweet!’ But didn’t think he was about to propose until he pulled out the ring box.”
Andra and Billy planned a September wedding, both because she knew she wanted to marry in the fall and because a friend had gotten engaged at the same time, and the two wanted to space the celebrations out a bit to make it easy on their mutual friend group. Fortunately, The Landing Resort in South Lake Tahoe proved to be the perfect venue for an autumn wedding, especially as they were able to host their reception at the resort and host the ceremony across the street at the beautiful Lakeside Beach. They opted for a non-traditional ceremony incorporating a candle ceremony to honor Billy’s late father, security guard outfits and sunglasses for the ring bearers and a sparkly collar for the couple’s pooch, Allie. After the two were pronounced husband and wife, they walked back down the aisle under a cloud of bubbles blown by their 100 guests.
After that, it was on to the cocktail hour and reception, where Andra and Billy planned plenty to ensure their guests had an excellent time long into the evening. “We did Polaroid cameras and had everyone take pictures at the welcome table as they entered, and put them up on a big wood frame of chicken wire. That was so fun for everyone and we love all the pictures that were taken,” says Andra. In addition to a family-style meal at dinner, the reception included a sprawling dessert table with a wedding cake, cookies, candy, cupcakes and even a separate donut bar. Guests left the reception with pine tree sprigs bearing the message “Let Love Grow” to plant when they got home. “We get lots of status updates on how they’re growing,” says Andra. “And we love it.”
Andra says that the entire celebration was personalized to them, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. “The wedding was everything we wanted,” she says. “We didn’t really follow the rule book.” She says that while she loved the entire day, one of her favorite aspects was the fun they had with their kids. “They loved playing the roles of ring security and flower girls!”
Andra & Billy's Wedding Resources
Glazed & Confused Tahoe Donut
Camelot Party Rentals
Camelot Party Rentals
Wailea Beach Resort – Marriott, Maui in Wailea, Hawaii
“All Night Long” by Lionel Richie
We had Sarah at The Flour Girl make us a cake topper, rustic style and chose a carrot cake and cream cheese frosting as that had meaning for us. Then we had the big desert bar for our friends and families to feast on with bags we got from Etsy to grab a donut to take with them that said “I Donut Mind if I Do.”
We went with whimsical. I wanted to make sure they had flat eucalyptus and blue thistle in them along with white and blush roses and the florist filled in the rest based on her judgment and photos I had shown her––she made them perfectly.
• We also did Emergency Survival kit bags for our guests full of all kinds of goodies. They were waiting in their rooms when they arrived. Included liquor, toiletries, snacks, candy and more. They were a big hit. We had the bags made on Etsy.
• At the wedding, we also gave away desserts and we gave everyone a pine sprig since we were in Tahoe. It was a thank you and said “Let Love Grow” –– and we’ve loved everyone sending us the photos of them planting it and seeing it grow.
• Let Love Grow Wedding Favor | Seedling Wedding Favor | White Pine Seedling | Spruce Seedling
• There were so many great moments to our wedding. Obviously the moment we completed our vows to one another surrounded by all our family and friends, laughing and crying because our vows were non-traditional, fun, sweet, emotional and heartfelt. That moment of standing there in all that beauty and immersed in all the love from our friends and family, I couldn’t stop smiling and crying because I couldn’t believe we did it! I was so happy to become his wife!
• Our ceremony was so unique to us –– we also included our ring bearers, dog, bridesmaids, and my new step-daughter. We started with Billy’s sister, Bobbi coming up and lighting a big hurricane with a candle on a wine barrel with gorgeous flowers in honor of their Dad, Bill who had passed away two years prior. This way he was there with us in spirit and we wanted to honor and recognize him. That got us all crying.
• But even before that, hearing my friend Stacey sing and play acoustic guitar live while we all walked down the aisle to different songs was hard to keep from tearing up. She made it so, so special. Other fun things we did with our ceremony that were non-traditional and special, like including my step-daughter in our vows where I delivered vows to her and gave her a ring I had bought myself and was passing on to her to remind her you never need a man if you can do it yourself; she also read vows to us. We included our dog Allie and put a sparkly collar on her and all of the rings and the collar were carried in the Ring Security briefcases our ringbearers were guarding.
• Once my brother, the officiant announced us as husband and wife, we had the DJ play the wedding song Mendelssohn’s Wedding March for about 10 seconds and then he screeched the record and went into the baseline of My Posse’s on Broadway. This was a huge hit and made walking out of the ceremony to the cocktail reception so fun because everyone loved it. This allowed Jen to take an awesome group shot before everyone came up to the Landing for the cocktails.
• Since Billy and I have known each other since he was 16 and I was 14, meeting back up later in life like we did is pretty amazing. We had so much love there with the people we’ve grown up with all coming together with our families. It really was a perfect day.
Get a coordinator. The hotel’s help was very limited.