“I’m sure that if you asked us separately, you’d have two different stories,” says Cherise of her first meeting of Ryan. As she remembers it, she was working as a bartender at a country whiskey bar in downtown Sacramento when a girlfriend mentioned introducing Ryan. “I was busy working as usual, so we didn’t have a chance to really talk much,” she recalls. “After some liquid courage (provided by yours truly), he came up to me and confidently said, ‘I’m taking you to dinner next Tuesday. Pick a place and let me know.’ And then he just walked away. His confidence had me intrigued so at the end of the night, I gave him my number and we went our separate ways.” She took him up on his offer, and that first date turned into many more; ever since, the pair have been inseparable. Ryan proposed on a gorgeous autumn weekend in 2011 overlooking Emerald Bay.

Most important to the soon-to-be bride and groom was that the wedding be a reflection of them as a couple. “There were a lot of opinions coming our way during wedding planning, all coming from a place of love of course, but we knew we wanted the day to really be our day.”

They decided on an outside ceremony and reception, held in early summer, with a rustic vibe.

“Burlap and lace? Yes, please!” Cherise says. “And I always knew I’d wear a cute pair of cowgirl boots. It was a must-have for me.”

And while most grooms disappear in the haze of planning, Ryan wanted to be there from the start. “Every vendor meeting, flower searching, linen searching, cake tasting day…he had to be there. I loved how much he wanted to be, and enjoyed being, involved with all of the planning,” Cherise says. “Everything about our wedding completely represented both of us. It was perfect.”

Guests gathered at an Italian-style winery, Avio Vineyards, in Amador County for the ceremony, officiated by a close family friend. “Our ceremony was held outside overlooking Amador County’s rolling hills. It was beautiful. We both remember feeling that although we had nearly 100 close family and friends all staring at us, we felt like we were the only two people there,” says the bride. “It was so romantic.”

The entire winery site was transformed into an enchanted forest area for the wedding happy hour, while a picture-perfect setting with sprinkled lighting, lush trees and flowers, the vineyard and vine-covered estate served as the reception backdrop.

At the end of the night, both Cherise and Ryan felt like rock stars…newlywed rock stars. Shares the bride, “We jumped in the limo and as soon as the door shut we simultaneously looked at each other and said, “Did that really just happen?” It was amazing.”

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