Chelsea and Ben’s story reads like the perfect Hollywood romantic movie, complete with the quintessential meet-cute. On April 5, 2014, Chelsea and two friends were getting ready to leave a crowded San Francisco bar when Ben walked in with his friends. Chelsea remembers thinking “If I stare at him long enough he will come talk to me.” Ben made a beeline for Chelsea and introduced himself. He told Chelsea he had just moved to the city a few weeks before so Chelsea offered to show him the sights. They left the bar and their friends, and set off together into the night. Chelsea found out later that Ben had actually been living in San Francisco for three months, and was just looking for an excuse to prolong the evening and his time with her!

From that night on, they spent almost all their time together. But there was a wrinkle. Ben had accepted a job offer in London that would take him across the pond for two years. So, the two decided to tough it out long-distance-style. It wasn’t easy. “There were thousands of texts, FaceTime calls at all hours, and seven SFO-LHR flights over the nearly two years that Ben lived overseas.” Finally, Ben returned stateside in May 2016.

On October 23, 2016, at Squaw Valley for Chelsea’s birthday, Ben took her to Six Peaks Grille. It was dark and empty but on the deck overlooking the valley was a romantic table for two. After wine and appetizers and her first birthday gift, Ben proposed. Chelsea was “of course elated and couldn’t say yes fast enough!” After a few hours staring at the ring and marveling at Ben’s planning, Ben asked her if she wanted her final gift; in all the excitement Chelsea had forgotten. Confused, she saw it was a ukulele (which neither of them played). Taking it from her, Ben began playing “Stand By Me.” Afterward he told her that he bought the ukulele and took lessons while he was living in London. Ben learned the song over a year ago with this proposal in mind. “I was speechless, crying and felt like the luckiest girl in the world,” Chelsea remembers.

The location was easy to pick: Tahoe already held a special place in their hearts. “Plus Lake Tahoe in the summer is just magical.” They chose White Wolf Tahoe, a private ski resort. “We actually booked it before visiting based on how stunning it looked in pictures!” The wedding was small and intimate but Chelsea added personal touches; from shibori napkins and the calligraphy on the name cards to finding the perfect wooden signs and a unique guestbook. “But our most favorite memory was our vows,” says the bride. “We wrote one set of vows together and read them back and forth. We felt that expressing the same intentions and promises to each other was the most meaningful way to enter into our marriage.”

— Sharon Penny