sacramento-wedding-photography-K&R-SHOOPS-RW-WS14-12FKaylee and Ryan both have strong northern California roots, hers in Shingle Springs, and his in El Dorado Hills. Their brothers are friends, so they would cross paths on occasion while she lived out of the state. Upon moving back in 2009, they met up again and started dating…becoming inseparable.

It’s only appropriate these two Golden State kids would choose Truckee to get engaged. “We jumped on the gondola to head up to The Ritz-Carlton to grab a drink in the lounge and sit by the fireplace to warm up,” shares Kaylee. “On the way up, Ryan got down on one knee and proposed. It was such a surreal and sweet moment—how could I say ‘no?’”

The couple decided on a destination wedding in Hawaii to mix things up.

“We wanted to create a wedding day that was elegant and unforgettable,” she says.

“We had friends and family traveling all the way to Maui to celebrate with us and we wanted them to enjoy every aspect of the wedding.”

Excited as they were at the prospect of getting married in paradise, there was one dark cloud shadowing the festivities. “My mom had been battling cancer for quite some time, and we had a very difficult decision when [she] told me she wasn’t going to make it to our wedding,” Kaylee says. “She said, ‘Please don’t change your plans, go to Maui, have the wedding of your dreams, and enjoy every moment.’ I desperately tried to wrap my brain around my mom not being there on our wedding day…one of the most important days of our lives. As difficult as it was, we honored her wishes.” The bride-to-be was lucky enough to receive her dress early enough to try it on for her mom. “Two days later, my mom passed away. I will always be grateful that I was able to share that moment with her and that memory will be forever etched in my heart.”

Like many modern brides and grooms, they relied on sites like Pinterest to collect tips and inspiration. “We had a moment of panic trying to envision all of our ideas coming together and not looking pieced together,” Kaylee says. “I remember looking at my mother-in-law in pure disbelief when she reminded me that the wedding was only seven days away. I had so much to wrap up before we left.”

But they made it, and the event went off without a hitch. A good friend officiated the ceremony. “Nick worked with us very closely to customize the ceremony to our personalities,” says the bride. “He came up with the idea to have the both of us write letters to each other that we would hear for the first time during the ceremony when he read them aloud. It was a beautiful moment.”

Guests enjoyed the reception at Paradise Point where they danced the night away. “At one point we looked around and saw our most cherished friends and family dancing their butts off to the song ‘Shout,’” recalls Kaylee. “We have such a fun group of friends. That moment of seeing everyone having so much fun was what made it all worth it.”

—Darren Elms

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