On New Year’s Eve 2010, Rachel and Kaine were both celebrating at Harlow’s in Midtown Sacramento. “We met at the bar, and he was generous enough to buy me and my friends a few drinks, and nice enough to stand with me in the (long) coat line when we were all leaving,” says Rachel. “I figured that earned him my number.” But a month went by with no word from Kaine. Rachel didn’t realize Kaine was living in Napa and not in town often. But when he did visit Sacramento, the two spent a Second Saturday Art Walk together. Adds Rachel, “We haven’t spent many Saturdays apart since.”

The couple moved to Washington D.C. in August of 2012 so Rachel could attend George Washington University for graduate school. “It was a big move for us, but the fact that we could do it together really solidified our relationship.”

Kaine, who loves the outdoors, talked about visiting the National Botanical Gardens but they hadn’t been yet. After Kaine stopped someone to take a photo (which was actually a video) he got down on one knee. “I don’t remember what he said because I just started crying!” remembers Rachel. “We celebrated that night with a fancy dinner out.”

According to the newly engaged couple, they wanted the wedding basics to shine when the day arrived. “Good food, good booze, and a rockin’ DJ that kept everyone on the dance floor all night,” shares the bride. “Everything else just built around that!” For the ceremony site, they did have one condition: Kaine wanted to get married under a large tree. “He had been to weddings like that before and always pictured that for his own big day,” says Rachel. “So when we found Rancho Victoria Vineyard and they told us that we could get married under a huge, beautiful oak tree then on to a reception with a big dance floor, we were sold.”

Kaine was very close to his grandfather who introduced him to bird watching as a boy, a hobby he still enjoys today. “His grandfather passed away about a year before our wedding so using birds throughout the day was our way of honoring him,” shares Rachel. For the ceremony, they wrote their own vows and both brought up how important it is to root for the other person’s sports team—the Chicago Cubs for Kaine and the Sacramento Kings for Rachel.

At the reception, games were set up to keep everyone busy while the couple took photos. “Of course plenty of alcohol was flowing, including our signature drink ‘Right as Raine,’” she says. “Raine is our portmanteau: Rachel + Kaine, which Kaine created.”

By the close of the evening, “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey pushed the reception to a climax. “Everyone was belting it out, but towards the end, all of our friends and family gathered around us in a circle to finish it out strong,” says Rachel. “To be surrounded by everyone we love at the same time, with us in the middle, was an amazing feeling. We literally felt the love!” 

— Darren Elms