It was a special bond over similar interests that brought Megan and Pat together. When they met on the first day of classes at Cal State Long Beach, where they both were getting their master’s degrees in sports management, they realized how much they had in common. “We’re both Capricorns, enjoy being active, playing sports, watching sports, and of course, we have the same favorite sports team—the Buffalo Bills,” Megan says.

Their relationship started as a friendship—meeting up to play tennis together and hanging out after class with their group of friends. As they spent more time together, however, their feelings grew as well. “I’ve known he was the one for a long time,” she says. “Our relationship was always also a friendship. It’s fun to share your own likes with someone else and see them take that on as well.”

Fast-forward more than five years later, and the couple had moved a couple times before landing in Sacramento, where they purchased their first home. Although Megan knew early on that she’d marry Pat, he was still eager to surprise her with his proposal. “We had always discussed that I would not propose to her on a holiday or birthday, so when we started planning a trip back to Southern California for a joint birthday trip, I thought there was no way she would expect I would do it then,” he says.

He held onto the ring until after dinner. On the drive back to their hotel, he suggested a nighttime walk on the beach; Megan agreed—still unaware of his plan. “We took a walk out to the water and as we were coming back up to The Strand, that is where I proposed,” he says. “After saying, “Yes!” we called our parents and then went to the hotel to celebrate with champagne and cookies!”

The couple immediately agreed on a fall wedding, which gave them less than a year to plan. Megan dived into the research, hoping to secure a venue first. “Since Northern California is so beautiful in the fall, I quickly realized that finding a venue was a little more difficult than I thought it would be. Several venues were booked more than a year in advance,” she says. They soon found Gardener Ranch. Megan loved the “Bridal Camp,” where she and her bridesmaids stayed to get ready. “We had our glam squad from early on in the morning—it was one of the highlights of the day,” she says.

The bride also relished in the excitement of bringing two sets of friends and families together. And though the planning had the time crunch, Megan would do it all over again. “I loved the process. I found a new passion I never knew  I had!”

—Kourtney Jason