“Have you seen Forrest Gump?” asks Julie. “Like peas and carrots!”

That’s how Julie describes her relationship with Jonathan, and their happiness together couldn’t be more evident. What started out, in Julie’s words, as a “silly schoolgirl crush” blossomed over the year they knew each other as friends, and they started dating in June 2015.

Fast forward to a year and a half later, and Julie and Jonathan visited Disney World’s Animal Kingdom hotel in Orlando, Florida. One evening, while watching the animals roam outside their window, Jonathan got down on one knee. Julie thought he was just tying his shoe—until he pulled out a ring and asked her to marry him! As the Disney World evening fireworks show went off behind them, Julie of course said yes.

For the beginning of the wedding planning process, Jonathan was deployed overseas, so Julie was on her own to plan some major details including the location. Fortunately, she found the perfect venue: Willow Heights Mansion in Morgan Hill. “Walking through the mansion, it rang out elegance and romance,” says Julie, “which is exactly what we were looking for for our wedding day.“

Romance was the right theme for these two, because what they both remember best is that their wedding day was filled with love. Julie was overwhelmed with emotion when she heard the letter written by her matron of honor who was unable to attend (and yes, it made her cry like crazy), while Jonathan recalls that his favorite memory was “finally being able to kiss Julie”—though he’s pretty proud of how perfectly they cut their red velvet and burnt almond cake, too. Their color scheme—deep cabernet reds and shades of off-whites and creams—was carried into everything, from the bridesmaid’s dresses and the place settings, to the wooden “Mr. & Mrs.” sign on their sweetheart table. Subtle jeweled and crystal details throughout the reception completed their romantic, elegant motif.

Despite hosting her dream wedding in an elegant mansion and all the details that went with it, Julie’s wedding day memories are more about her husband than anything else. “When I saw Jonathan for the first time on our wedding day, I was so giddy,” says Julie. “I wanted to run down the aisle and jump into his arms!” Fortunately, Julie was escorted down the aisle by her mother and grandfather, who were able to keep her calm while she made her way to the front.

Their ceremony, which included elements of Julie’s Jewish faith, was a time for them to acknowledge each other, as well as family members unable to attend. “We felt that it encompassed both of us while still representing some of the traditional Jewish wedding customs.” Julie says her giddiness continued through the ceremony until she reached her favorite part—getting to finally walk down the aisle with Jonathan as a married couple. “Being able to call Jonathan my husband created a whole other feeling that left me on cloud nine!” 

—Suzie Dundas