Jen and Grant grew up on neighboring ranches, but they didn’t develop their friendship until becoming roommates in Sacramento, where she was working and he was finishing his degree at Sacramento State. “We enjoyed spending our free time sharing runs at McKinley Park and frequenting Big Spoon,” Jen recalls. For Grant, it was a small act of thoughtfulness from Jen that helped him realize that she was the one for him. “Before we were dating, we had gone to a mountaineering seminar together,” he says. “Afterwards, we stopped at the gas station and she washed the windshield of my truck. That’s when I knew.”
When they did decide to take their friendship to the next level, they knew they weren’t going to regret it. “From the start, we both knew that this was something special. We had known each other for so long that it was a true adventure to embark upon this romance together. It was like falling in love and knowing that you were living your happy ending already. Deep down, I knew all along that he was made for me. It just took a long time to realize that my best friend was also the best man for me.”
Grant proposed during a mountain biking trip in the Marlborough Sounds of New Zealand. When they stopped for lunch at a lookout along the trail, Grant handed Jen a Wet Ones antibacterial hand wipe. “The hand wipe had clearly been tampered with!” Jen says. “Inside the foil package, I found a ‘love map’ made from a crinkled-up brown lunch bag. It read: ‘To use this map, you must have the magic compass to show you the way! There is no true North, only true love!’ When I looked up, he was down on both knees, asking me to be his wife.” He proposed with a compass ring he had bought on Etsy, as he said he was too nervous to travel with the real ring.
During the long flight home back to the U.S., Jen and Grant immediately jumped into planning, starting with picking their wedding party. “Grant had his brother Jordan as his best man, and I asked my mom to be the ‘mom of honor,’” Jen says. And to make things easier, the location was already decided. Jen’s parents had hosted weddings at their family ranch for the last decade and she couldn’t imagine having it anywhere else. “The vision and feel for what I wanted to create for our day had been in my mind for some time,” Jen says with a laugh. “Truthfully, I had been buying silver-plated tea service and crystal at thrift stores during our entire courtship. I had amassed a small collection of chandeliers to hang from the oak trees. I had the décor on lockdown.”
Their vision was country chic. With a dance floor placed right up to the water’s edge—which cast a beautiful glow as the sun set—and touches of crystal and lace mixed with raw milled cedar and corrugated tin, their day turned out to be exactly what they both wanted. Jen remembers, “It was full of love.”
Jen & Grant's Wedding Resources
- Chocolate cake with white butter cream frosting
- Groom's cake: Funfetti
- Grant—Start early, pace yourself and the bride is always right!
- Jen—Develop a vision, determine a budget and prioitize the things you really want and those you can live without! Don't try to do too much yourself! When I asked for help I found that people really enjoyed being a part of the event!