Both hailing from Cameron Park, Colleen and Ryan met at Ponderosa High School on the swim team and have been gliding down the same lane ever since. The pair got engaged last year while living in Portland. “One weekend, we visited our favorite beach on the Northern Oregon coast,” shares Colleen. “As we were walking along the coast, Ryan got down on one knee, accidentally in the water, and proposed.”

The newly engaged couple hoped for a relaxed wedding, to give guests a chance to enjoy themselves and have both families get acquainted with one another. “We wanted the ceremony and the reception to show our personalities and be as entertaining as possible,” says the bride. “There were no real expectations, except to have our vendors all show up on time and provide excellent service…which they all did!”

Although they were married about a year from their engagement, the couple says the planning was a relatively slow process. “We were able to book all of the big, important parts of the wedding, such as our venue, caterer, photographer and DJ relatively quickly, but the actual decorations were being planned up until two days before the ceremony,” she says. “It was really cool to see how creative our family and friends really are, as they helped come up with ideas for the wedding and reception.” Both of their dads took on the woodworking projects, something that helped tie their theme together. “The best part of the planning was getting to try all of the wines and beers that different prospective venues offered, and choosing the beverages that we would ultimately serve during our reception,” adds Colleen.

At the outdoor ceremony, Ryan’s uncle, Tom, told the couple’s unique story, but also kept it short and sweet like they wanted. “We integrated a Celtic Oathing Stone tradition into our ceremony to honor the Celtic ancestry that we both share,” notes the bride.

The reception was at the same site as the ceremony at Gold Hill Vineyard and Brewery. “The California poppies were in bloom on the hills behind us,” remembers Colleen. “The decorations turned out fantastic, and the vast majority of our family and friends that were invited were able to make it.”

But the couple’s favorite part of the day was being able to see each other at the first look photos. “We knew that that was the first moment of the rest of our lives,” she says. “The fact that we were able to share the most important day with our family and closest friends made the day even sweeter and more unforgettable.” 

—Darren Elms