Megan is a dispatcher for the City of Chico Police and Fire Departments and Jim is a fireman with the Chico Fire Department. Part of Megan’s training when she transferred six years earlier was a ride along, where she met Jim. According to Jim, “marriage would be an easy transition since Megan already told him what to do at work.”

Jim had planned to propose under the fireworks on the Fourth of July, but the day before he decided Independence Day wasn’t the best day to propose marriage. So, on the third of July, Jim proposed to Megan on a houseboat with their closest friends.

The couple both wanted a wedding that brought pieces of them into it. “We had Jim’s fire chief get ordained and perform the ceremony,” shares Megan. Jim, with some help from the high school Megan had graduated from (Elk Creek High School), built 30 picnic tables and 60 benches for the ceremony and reception. Megan’s dad built the arch they got married under with wood from an old barn Megan played in as a child. “We put out honey sticks at our dessert table from Megan’s childhood neighbor’s apiary,” says the bride. “And I made homemade essential oil mosquito spray, since we live in what we call the ‘Mosquito Capital of the World.’”

One of the highlights of the planning process was going out to the pasture site of the ceremony and reception with beer in hand and envisioning how the day would look. Once it arrived, the couple invited an Irish band from their local pub to play. Both Megan and Jim are Irish and traveled to Ireland for their honeymoon.

After being pronounced husband and wife, Jim stuck his nametag from his fire turnouts in the back of Megan’s dress for the walk out. “We have a mule on our property that brayed during the vows,” says Megan. Megan and Jim’s three children attended the ceremony as the wedding party.

At the reception, one of the bridesmaids rapped her speech with the story about how the newlyweds met. “All of Jim’s co-workers brought their fire helmets to take a picture with us,” remembers Megan.

At the end of the evening, the couple stood near the bar and looked out at the empty wedding site with a feeling of “wow, we did it.” Megan continues, “The best part was seeing our family and friends come together to help both with the wedding and also to celebrate with us.” 

— Darren Elms