Ashley and Chris attended the same high school, and for Chris, it was love at first sight. Fearing that Ashley was out of his league, however, kept him from doing anything more than asking to borrow a pen. After graduation and years later, Chris still found himself thinking about her from time to time. As fate would have it, on his 21st birthday, Ashley and Chris bumped into each other at the same grocery store. This time, feeling lucky and brave (or perhaps it was the celebratory birthday drinks), Chris worked up the nerve to approach Ashley and invite her out for his birthday. The connection was immediately strong for both of them. They laugh that it was their mutual passion for history and being the only people in their twenties who enjoy watching California’s Gold with Huell Howser that brought them together.

After a few years of dating, Chris told Ashley he was taking her out for a surprise. Although the signs of a proposal were all there—Chris was acting strange, secretive and was even looking green—Ashley still had no idea that Chris had planned on proposing at Hidden Falls in Auburn that day. They hiked to the perfect clearing where they enjoyed a romantic picnic, sipped on drinks and listened to music. Soon their song began to play and that was Chris’s cue to pop the question. He grabbed Ashley by the hand, looked her in the eyes as he took a knee and proclaimed his love. Ashley was so excited and shocked that she did not even hear him ask, “Will you marry me?” He had to ask twice! With the answer he was looking for, she only had to say “Yes!” once.

They enjoyed a two-year engagement and began planning their big day at the beginning of the second year. Most of the wedding planning was easy, except for deciding on a date. After learning that their favorite venue, Park Winters, was available on August 13, they took it as a sign. Thirteen is Ashley’s lucky number and eight is the symbol of eternal love. Once the date was set, the rest easily fell into place. Details were important to both of them, and their unique historical theme “1900s Gold Rush” helped navigate some truly special touches. The couple worked as a team to create and build many of the details including a copper pipe arbor with gorgeous chiffon fabric. Each table was marked by real minerals, which were placed at each setting with a description of its holistic properties.

Both  the bride and groom were filled with nerves on the big day, but their decision to do a first look prior to the ceremony proved not only special, but also helpful in calming both of their nerves. Feelings of nervousness quickly faded to utter happiness by exchanging personal vows and partying the night away with their guests. 

      —Kelley Saia