From the high school days and riding longboards to living and raising chickens in Portland, Oregon, Juliana and Derek’s relationship has been built on a solid foundation of friendship.

“It took us a while to start dating, but once it started, there was a lot of cheesy hand-holding while longboarding,” Juliana says.

For Derek, each day spent with Juliana has been better than the last. “I enjoy every minute with her through the good and the bad,” he says. “I love the way she does things. I love the way she handles herself. I don’t really know how or at what time I knew she was the one. It has been always from the day she said she would be my girlfriend and, luckily, she has only made me see it more every day.”

After a couple of years of dating, the couple moved in together. After a revolving door of roommates, seven more years together and a move up north to Portland, Derek proposed.

“After nine years of dating, I had given up on a surprise proposal,” she says. “Derek has always been incapable of keeping secrets or waiting to give gifts. Knowing this and knowing Derek’s ‘tells,’ I thought I would see the proposal coming from a mile away.”

She did not.

“We went for a hike on the Salmon River trail on Mt. Hood,” Derek says. “I had a good plan to wait until we got to the end and propose on one knee down by the river with the beautiful scenery. What actually happened was I was so nervous and excited that I couldn’t wait. We were both so excited afterwards, I don’t think we even finished the hike.”

Juliana’s patience paid off.

“We finished the hike grinning from ear to ear,” she says. “At the end, we drank a celebratory box of wine we had packed and enjoyed the glow of engagement without telling anyone else for the rest of the day. It was perfect.”

They decided to wait a few months before diving into the planning process. But Juliana’s mom, a professional wedding planner, wasn’t going to let that happen. She took the reins and got vendors and a date locked in.

Planning the wedding from Portland was a bit of a challenge though. “During the year leading up to the wedding, we had only two trips planned to Sacramento—for a friend’s wedding and for the holidays. A good chunk of these two trips were spent doing back-to-back appointments, which was a bit exhausting and overwhelming,” she says. “On the positive side, because we got so much done during these trips, the rest of my time back in Portland was spent on just a few smaller projects.”

Her favorite DIY project was making and canning small jars of jam for wedding favors. “My mother-in-law and I split this project and we ended up with a beautiful assortment of jams like orange-fig, quince, strawberry rhubarb and champagne blush,” she says.

As their day arrived, they were excited to break some traditions. “We had a pre-ceremony party, too!” she says. “We invited our guests to come a few hours before the ceremony for lemonade, Prosecco and snacks. Derek and I mingled with everyone as they arrived, which really took any little nerves away for the ceremony.” 

—Kourtney Jason