Erin remembers a moment from her wedding day that she knows will remain with her forever. As she was getting ready in her bridal suite, she noticed her soon-to-be-husband, Troy, had left a card on her pillow with the words “my wife” written on it. “It was such a sweet surprise,” Erin says. Then again, Troy proved to have a knack for sweet surprises over the course of their relationship, which sometimes seemed hampered by time and distance.

The two initially crossed paths through mutual friends as students at Del Campo High School in Carmichael, where Troy was born. Erin, a native of Calgary, Canada, was just entering high school when Troy had already graduated the year before. He made enough of an impression, though, to earn a nickname from Erin. “I used to call him ‘Socks’ because he wore those big wooly mountain man socks under work boots,” she recalls.

A few years later, Erin was in college at Chico State and those same mutual friends reignited the connection at a Donner Lake camping trip. Erin and Troy hit it off, started dating, and worked through the long-distance challenges while Erin finished school.

Although their relationship evolved over time, Erin says that there was a distinct moment when they each knew they would last forever. A long, middle-of-the-night road trip from Chico to South Lake Tahoe was a true bonding moment, complete with winding roads and carsickness. “We arrived at the house at 5:30 a.m.,” Erin recalls. “We were both so delirious and giggling and having fun with each other that we knew we were going to marry one another.”

The path to the wedding officially (and literally) began on another path—a sled run to be exact. Showing his knack for surprises, Troy “fell” at the end of the run and stayed down on one knee. Erin says, “I thought he had hurt himself. Then he pulled a ring box out of his ski pants, which he said he found in the snow, and then he proposed.”

Erin and Troy originally were looking to have their wedding at Lake Tahoe or Santa Cruz for sentimental reasons, but on a whim visited Wine & Roses and fell in love with the venue. “It was exactly what we were looking for, with everything right there,” Erin says.

Their wedding planning was not at all rushed, and they took full advantage of their 18-month engagement to perfect every detail. Reflecting the young crowd in attendance, Erin and Troy hired a lively DJ who kept things fun and light with plenty of dancing and games for the attendees.

At the wedding ceremony, Erin had a surprise of her own for Troy. “I was so nervous, I put his ring on the wrong hand!” Erin says. Despite the small mistake, Erin and Troy relish the memories from their wonderful night. Their favorite memory is simple and timeless: “Seeing each other for the first time.”