Like it does for most couples, the wedding day went fast for Claire and Nolan, and seeing each other for the first time was emotional. “I felt relieved when I finally got to see him and so excited and blessed to finally get to marry my best friend,” says Claire, an account manager for an insurance company. Nolan, an accountant, was excited “to see her walk down the aisle and know that this beautiful woman was going to be my wife.”
The couple—who met in 2011 at Ollie’s Pub in Lodi—dated for two years before getting engaged during her family’s annual river float and barbecue on the Mokelumne River. “My dad got up and thanked everyone for coming to the reunion float, and then said, ‘Nolan, I think you wanted to say something.’ And then Nolan called me up in front of our family and friends and everyone at the float, told me how much he loved me, and then got down on one knee and asked me to marry him,” says Claire. “It was absolutely perfect.”
The duo married in an outdoor ceremony and reception at Stone Ranch in Lodi. “We wanted somewhere intimate but also relaxed, and we felt that a backyard wedding was perfect for us,” says the bride. Nolan’s brother officiated the Christian ceremony and his two sisters read scripture during the ceremony.
The yellow and navy blue theme was as a colorful way to celebrate the summer. The couple and their 190 guests feasted on “good, simple food that everyone loved,” says Claire, noting that they served chicken, tri-tip, roasted vegetables, salad and rolls, followed by yellow cake for the bride and groom and mini bundt cakes for the guests.
Claire’s favorite wedding details included the ambiance created from the lights/lanterns over the dance floor, the wooden boxes her father made and the centerpieces she and friends and family put together. Nolan’s favorite detail? “A friend of ours brewed a beer just for our wedding, based on what we liked,” he says. “That was pretty awesome.”
Reflecting back on the wedding, they say the toughest part was staying on budget and making so many decisions. Still, they’re very happy with how smoothly the day went. “We had planned for months, and I had so much help,” says Claire. “It was all perfect and everything I imagined.”