It was a moment of destiny when Shelley and her girlfriends walked into a Charleston, South Carolina, restaurant at the same moment Frank and his friends did. As fate would have it, only one large table was available, so Frank invited the women to join his group for dinner. The two hit it off.

Frank was living in New Jersey, and his fishing boat was docked in Charleston, where Shelley lived. “He would frequently fly down to fish, then we would go out for dinner and drinks with our group of friends that evolved into just us two,” she says. “A turning point was when we had to evacuate Charleston due to a hurricane, and a few friends and I rented an Airbnb in Athens, Georgia. Frank flew in and met us. We found ourselves alone, staying up late talking and falling asleep while watching movies.”

After travels together and trips to visit each other, the two made their relationship official. “From that point on, we went no longer than every other week seeing each other, which turned into every weekend” she says. Soon after, Shelley joined Frank in New Jersey. When she arrived home one night, Frank asked her to meet him in the bedroom, where he proposed. “We opened a nice bottle of wine and made a toast to one another. Then we wrote on the bottle, and now the bottle sits on our fireplace mantel in our bedroom. We sat and chatted for a bit and glowed in the moment before calling my mom first,” she says.

They started planning a few months later, both agreeing to a destination wedding. “We knew we wanted something outside, so one day it came to me: Lake Tahoe!” she says. “My mom and dad got married in Lake Tahoe. They were there skiing and decided to elope! I had been to Lake Tahoe several times, but Frank had not. I brought up the location and showed him pictures and he immediately agreed.”

Shelley’s vision for the day came together after visiting their venue. “I truly wanted to maximize the amazing view and selected the following words to describe my vision: elegant, classic, organic, texture, and natural beauty,” she says.  As the day arrived, Shelley and Frank both saw that all their time and energy spent planning had been worth it.

“Honestly, I was relieved that the day was finally here, and I couldn’t wait to get through the ceremony and let loose and have some fun with friends and family,” she says. “It was so memorable to see the beautiful, happy faces of our closest family and friends, then to see my future husband so happy and to have my father hand me to Frank. It was such an amazing experience I will cherish forever!”

—Kourtney Jason