Christina and Luke’s summer wedding in South Lake Tahoe was magical. Even though it was a hot day—over 90 degrees—the couple wasn’t focused on anything but each other.

“I felt so proud to be marrying my best friend,” says Christina. “He looked so handsome and I just wanted to take it all in and enjoy every part of that moment that we were sharing together.”

Luke, too, was in awe of his new wife. “After I stopped drooling over how beautiful she looked, I began to realize that I was starting a new chapter in my life and couldn’t be happier that I chose such a beautiful person,” he says.

The couple, who met on an online dating site in April 2013, dated for two years before getting engaged during a bike ride near Kings Beach. Fast forward two years, and Christina and Luke married at Revive Coffee & Wine in South Lake Tahoe.

It was the ideal spot for their nuptials. A friend had showed Christina venues in South Lake Tahoe. She loved the fire pits and lawn games in the front of Revive Coffee & Wine…then she saw the backyard, teared up, and knew it was exactly what she envisioned for her wedding.

All 70 wedding guests were from out of town, and some from out of state including Arizona and Washington.

The couple wrote their own vows for their simple 30-minute outdoor ceremony. A good friend of the groom served as the officiant.

“I wanted everything to feel like an enchanted, magical forest,” says Christina, who didn’t have an official color scheme, but used gold and light pink to accent the venue’s natural beauty.

The nine-person wedding party included Christina’s son, who was the ring bearer.

The bride wore pearl earrings that she borrowed from her mother. The earrings once belonged to her paternal grandmother, “Granny” who died a year earlier. “We were really close,” says Christina.

The bride’s favorite wedding detail?  “All of the little homemade items that I made,” she says, noting how fun it was to make the cupcake toppers, table numbers and other decorations.

Staying on a budget was challenging but the couple, who honeymooned in Maui, have great memories of their big day. Luke marvels “at how smoothly everything went,” and Christina remembers, “how happy everyone was that day. Love was in the air!”  OO— Kristen Castillo