How did you meet?

Our officiant, Sarah Joseph, introduced us the first semester of college. She was a friend of the groom in high school, and the bride’s assigned roommate for freshman year of college was Sarah’s best friend, which is how the bride ended up getting introduced to the groom.

When did you become engaged, and how?

September of 2021 we went on a hike with a group of our closest friends in the same regional park as our venue. Under the guise of one of them moving away to nursing school the next day (“One last Berkeley hike before Fiona leaves!”). When we reached the peak, the groom said to the bride, “Let’s take a family photo!” (with our dog); then shocked the bride by getting down on one knee. Friends recorded the whole thing, and had brought champagne in their backpacks.

While planning the wedding, was there anything in particular you knew you wanted for the day?

Sunflowers. We wanted our families to get together for a happy occasion… and have fun. We wanted outdoor/indoor, and luckily wildfire smoke cooperated (somewhat). We wanted our mutual friend and matchmaker to officiate. We wanted to take a few photos with our dog. These were our biggest expectations.


Many guests told us it was the best ceremony they’d ever witnessed. Our officiant, Sarah, made it so personalized with stories only she could’ve told. She also started the ceremony by welcoming close family members who have passed away into the space, by name, so they could be there for it, at my request. Kyle and I both have blended families; my dad and stepdad escorted me down the aisle while my brother played guitar; Kyle’s mom and stepmom walked with him; all siblings walked down the aisle before the wedding party; and then when Kyle’s youngest brothers—who are 19 and 10 years old—were finished walking down the aisle, they did their secret handshake followed by the elder giving the younger a piggyback ride to their seats.

Memorable Moments

My mom and I changed into cowgirl boots for the reception, and we got the most epic candid boot picture during cocktail hour. Also Kyle’s youngest brother ended up being the life of the dance floor. And, much of Sarah’s officiating involved cracking jokes (mostly about Kyle), catching many off guard leading to genuinely candid laughter and surprise.


Olivia was the best coordinator we could ever have hoped for. Adrienne & Dani took the most beautiful couples’ portraits and were so easy to work with. Sarah Joseph introduced us and agreed to become a certified officiant just to officiate our wedding, and she knocked it out of the park. My aunt, Maria DaPrato, arranged the most beautiful florals. Her creativity and attention to detail with florals is truly unmatched, as is her generosity.

Samantha’s Favorite Details

There’s too many to pick just one–the flowers by my aunt, the back of my dress, and the veil made by my bridesmaid’s mom.

Advice from the couple:

It’s never too early to start planning and really digging deep into some of the things you’re going to need to think through—if you wait too long, you won’t have time to give it the consideration it warrants.