Kaitlin and Evan became engaged after a romantic proposal on a black-sand beach in Maui—but technically, Evan proposed on the first date! “From our initial meeting I knew there was something special about Evan,” says Kaitlin. She remembers that he said on their first date that they should get married, but describes it as more of a “casual suggestion” than an actual proposal.

But eventually they did marry, in July 2018 in Lake Tahoe. After a ceremony at Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Tahoe City, the reception was held on Evan’s family’s property, in a pavilion built specifically for weddings. Evan and Kaitlin’s wedding was the third held in the location, and the third that included a tree-planting ceremony to mark the occasion. “Evan’s parents dream is for the family to have entire grove of weddings memorialized on the property,” says Kaitlin. “It was important for us to contribute to the special memories this property already holds.”

For these two, food and drink was an integral part of the celebration, with catering from Componere Fine Dining and the late-night arrival of the Pretty Odd Weiners Food Truck, a well-loved staple of South Lake Tahoe. Food played a part during the toasts as well, as they honored Kaitlin and Evan’s respective Irish and Polish backgrounds by serving shots of vodka or whiskey, paired with kielbasa and Irish soda bread. Their backgrounds influenced the party favors, too, as they gave out Tahoe-themed travel coffee mugs filled with Tasty Cakes (a nod to Kaitlin’s East Coast hometown) and almonds (a nod to Evan’s Sacramento upbringing). And for dessert they went all-out, too, offering a Champagne cake with raspberry filling as well as a dessert bar with cake pops, macaroons, mini cupcakes, and (of course!) Lake Tahoe-shaped cookies.

As their wedding guest list included more than 200 people, owing to their large families, the planning to make sure that everyone enjoyed themselves was time-intensive. But Kaitlin was surprised when Evan revealed on the wedding day a project he’d been spending extra time on: a book he wrote that told their love story. “It was really sweet and touching to read through all of our special memories before heading to the church,” she says.

Evan describes the day as “a blast from beginning to end,” especially on the dance floor, when he saw friends from all different points in his life together and having a great time. And fortunately for the couple, the good times didn’t end when the reception was done, as the two flew to France the next day for a two-week honeymoon.

Though their wedding was fabulous, Kaitlin says that the morning after was also a special memory. “Eating breakfast burritos and drinking Champagne on the way to the airport the morning after an amazing night with our friends and families was one of the highlights for us!”

 — Suzie Dundas