As soon as Cassie and Shaun started dating, they both felt an instant connection. “After one month, I felt like I knew Cassie for years,” he said. “We really connected and opened up to each other quickly. We fell in love fast and it just felt right.”

Once he had her parents’ blessing, Shaun was eager to put a ring on Cassie’s finger. And he had a special surprise in store. He clued her into his plan to make the wedding ring himself. “There was no way I was going to be able to hide something like that from her,” he said. “I’m not a jeweler, so I took a silversmithing class and bought some tools. I’m an engineer, so I used the 3D-modeling software Inventor to design and draw Cassie’s engagement ring with her input along the way. We had a blast making it together!”

When the ring was finally ready, he pretended that it had been delayed. During an end-of-winter escape from Colorado to the Bahamas, the couple ventured to the somewhat isolated Tahiti Beach to take selfies and drink a bottle of wine. “After a glass of wine and while watching the sunset, Shaun got down on one knee and proposed. I was so surprised!” Cassie said.

The couple started planning right away. To save time searching for a venue, they decided to get married at Cassie’s parents’ house in Amador County.

With the help of family, the other details were soon figured out. “Cassie was in the middle of it all orchestrating everything like a maestro,” he said. “She had all these little ideas she was putting into action that she had been thinking about for years. She was really in her element and knew exactly what she wanted.”

Throughout the planning, they were able to see what aspects of the wedding mattered most to the other. “It seemed like if Cassie had strong feelings about one thing, I was okay with what she wanted. And it worked the other way, too,” he said. “She really supported me during the rehearsal where my Groomzilla came out, and I demanded that the bridal party stand during the hour-long traditional Serbian wedding under the California sun reaching an out-of-season high temperature of 103 degrees. It looked way better that way, and I have the photos to prove it!”

The couple highlighted their blended cultures by following certain traditions. “Besides giving the goat to her father as a traditional Serbian bride price, we also did a German tradition of cutting a log together, both of us using a saw together to do it,” he said. “I felt so happy to have the various people and parts and times in our lives come together.”

Their adventure continued with an incredible post-wedding rock climbing shoot with their photographer. 

— Kourtney Jason