One of the things Andrea admires about Brian is his persistence. It was only after eight months of calling and texting that she agreed to their first date. “I had just come out of a relationship before that, so I wasn’t really looking to date anyone else for a while,” Andrea says. “Finally my mom said, ‘Just give him a chance.’”

It was Andrea’s beauty, Brian says, that attracted him at the start, but there was more. “Whenever she’s around anybody…whether it’s her friends or a new person, she’s outgoing, [and] makes everybody laugh [and] smile,” Brian says. “She lights up the room every time she walks in so that’s the reason why I fell for her.”

Brian was from the Bay Area, and Andrea from Grass Valley. They started dating their senior year of college, and after graduating carried on a long distance relationship for two years. Andrea didn’t want to move to the city; she had always been a country girl and that’s how she wanted to stay. When Brian got a job in Sacramento and moved up to Grass Valley, she knew for sure that he was serious. “He has a really good work ethic, and he’s a very loyal man,” Andrea says. “He’s very family oriented, which I love.”

It turned out that Brian loved the country life, too. “Being born in the Bay Area and being surrounded by people and buildings, it gets to be a little overwhelming,” Brian says. “It’s nice to be able to get outdoors and just bring a coffee out to the back porch and enjoy the morning.”

Their courtship was highlighted by a trip together to Thailand. They had a lot of experiences there but the elephant ride, they both agreed, was the most romantic. “Just being in the jungle, alone together, and it was quiet, and you were on this animal,” Andrea says, “was something that you would never experience anywhere else, because it’s just so authentic to Thailand.”

Brian’s proposal came while they were at her parents’ cabin in Jarbidge, Nevada. He took her four-wheeling into the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest and found the perfect spot. They were both facing the Jarbidge Crater—he was behind her and holding her. Brian says, “I stepped back and dropped down on a knee and she turned around and started crying and said, ‘Are you serious?’ I said, ‘Yes, I’m serious.’” There was a Fourth of July parade in Jarbidge and the couple felt like it was put on just for them. There were canons going off, and a sign said: “This bang is for you, Brian and Andrea, congratulations!”

A little more than a year later, they were married at Empire Mine State Historic Park. They wrote their own vows for the ceremony. “I wanted to hear what he vowed to me, and what I vowed to him, and we still have our little booklets,” Andrea says. “I think it’s something that I can really cherish.”

—Margaret Snider