Jamie was born and raised in the relatively small town of Lodi, and even though Luke moved there when he was nine, they didn’t meet until 2013…after they both had moved away.

Luke knew right away that Jamie was special. “When I first saw her, I thought, ‘Wow, what a beautiful woman.’ Then I got to know her and realized how kind and smart she is. I knew from that moment on that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her,” he recalls.

After dating for 18 months, he proposed on Christmas Eve (which happens to also be his birthday) in front of her entire family. “I had no idea it was coming. If I had, I wouldn’t have worn an ugly Christmas sweater to dinner,” Jamie says.

The couple started planning for their fall wedding at Mettler Family Vineyards in their shared hometown. Jamie knew she wanted to have all of their family and friends in attendance, which quickly added up to more than 125 people. Such a large crowd was a strain on the budget, but the couple saved by having Jamie tackle a lot of the details herself, with help from her trusted bridesmaids and a bevy of online checklists.

The couple had a traditional ceremony, but chose not to say their vows in front of their friends and family and instead keep them private between themselves. Jamie’s uncle officiated the outdoor ceremony, with a lovely pond and trees backing the bride and groom.

After enjoying a delicious buffet dinner by Angelina’s Spaghetti House, they had speeches by the best man, matron of honor, family, and friends, which the couple recalls as a particularly special memory. There was dancing, a garter toss, a bouquet toss, special dances—all of those beloved classic wedding moments.

Their traditional three-tier buttercream cake included fresh strawberries separating the layers with their favorite flavors: lemon, pink Champagne and vanilla. One of Jamie’s favorite touches was the custom, handmade clay bride and groom figures on top of the cake, decorated to look like the couple (down to the bride’s nursing cap).

Looking back, Jamie recalls that her favorite moment of the day wasn’t during the ceremony (which was a close second), but rather when they were introduced as husband and wife for the first time at the reception. “Getting ready and enjoying the ceremony wasn’t stressful, but I still felt as if I had been holding my breath all day and could finally breathe and truly enjoy the rest of our night,” she says.

For Luke, the best part of the day was seeing his beautiful bride finally walking down the aisle toward him. “It was impossible to hold back the tears. I had waited so long for that moment. It made all the planning and stress worth it,” he says. 

—Jennifer Resnicke