While Collette and Mark attended Chico State, both worked at the campus bookstore. “Right before our winter break, Mark struck up a conversation with me at work,” Collette says. “I told him that I was going to Canada to visit family over the break and that sparked his interest, having been a hockey player his whole life.” Things got anything but icy after that meeting, and the couple began dating when school resumed.

About five years later, the pair planned an annual trip to Las Vegas for Mark’s birthday. Having never ascended the Eiffel Tower at the Paris, Mark asked Collette if they could check it out. “When we got to the top of the tower, we took in the amazing view for quite a while,” she remembers. “And, as the last few people left, he got down on one knee and popped the question. I said ‘yes’ without hesitation.”

With so many guests traveling for the wedding, both Collette and Mark knew they needed to plan events and set up lodging arrangements. “At the same time, we were very cautious to make all decisions based on what we wanted, and not just to please other people,” Collette says. “This allowed us to create a wedding that was truly our own.”

Living in Oregon and planning a wedding in California proved to be quite a challenge. “We had to be very efficient with our time during each trip and could not linger on decisions,” she says. To help the process along, Collette relied very heavily on online reviews, Pinterest, and Etsy during the entire process. “They were my lifesavers,” she shares.

When the big day arrived, the couple kept the ceremony short, sweet and humorous.

“I remember first seeing Collette in her dress,” says Mark. “I couldn’t believe such a beautiful person was going to be my wife.”

“We presented flowers to each other’s mothers, and to my uncle, since he and Mark have a serious bromance,” laughs Collette. They also added in personal touches about hockey and Collette’s controlling tendencies, which kept our guests smiling. “The ceremony was fantastic,” adds Mark. “Everything felt natural and ‘us.’”

The reception took place in two tents behind the ceremony location at Willow Creek Events. The newlyweds offered a “couples’ dance” to honor friends celebrating their 27th wedding anniversary and played their wedding song from 1986. “After a speech from one of Mark’s groomsman, the entire group split up into Canadians and Americans and we each sang our national anthems,” says the bride. “Incredibly random, but absolutely perfect. We also did a sparkler exit when we left, which was such a cool sight, and made for amazing photos.”

―Darren Elms