Distance makes the heart grow fonder—and it certainly brought Sommer and Mike closer. The couple met at the Napa County Fair in 2009. Mike was a “tall, very talkative and handsome guy dressed in his boots, cowboy pants, white T-shirt and baseball hat,” Sommer remembers. She enjoyed talking to him, but they didn’t make plans to see each other again. One week later, he called her asking to take her to dinner.
“[On] our first date, Mike came to Davis and took me out to Buckhorn Steakhouse in Winters. Things went well and by our second date, three days later, I had moved home to Tahoe, so Mike came to Tahoe for the day,” she says. “I was pretty bummed because two days later I had to move to Washington D.C. for four months, and I was really starting to like this guy. But we continued to talk and for our third date, Mike came to Washington D.C. and things went great. By the time our fourth date came along, I figured it was my turn to do the traveling. I flew home from D.C. and went straight to Napa, and the rest is history.”
The long distance helped the couple talk and get to know each other. “I knew Mike was the one when he gave up everything he had in Napa and followed me to Tahoe, so I could pursue my career,” she says. “I think I realized what I meant to him, which made me know that he was the one.”
He proposed during a walk in the snow, which Sommer describes as the perfect evening. “I love walking in the snow at night when it’s perfectly still and quiet, and the falling snow makes the sky a soft purple, which set the mood,” she says. “I had no idea he was going to ask, but I couldn’t be happier that he did, and that has been my favorite walk in the snow.”
The couple wanted a summer wedding, as well as plenty of time to plan, so they picked a date a year and a half out—enjoying the first few months of their engagement without planning a thing. “Getting a signed contract with all of our vendors as soon as possible gave us plenty of breathing room to take care of all the small details,” she shares.
They also wanted a relaxed, laid-back wedding where they could hang out with their closest friends and family. “Finding River Highlands Ranch was the perfect fit for how we wanted our wedding to feel,” she says. “It had the fire pit to hang out by and roast s’mores, the beautiful barn and the tall grass fields, which set a gorgeous background.”
For Sommer, nerves did hit the day of the wedding.
“Once I started walking down the aisle, [however], I finally stopped thinking about how everything looked and worrying if everything was in place, and really took it all in and enjoyed the evening,” she says.
And even though Mike saw Sommer during their “first look” prior to the ceremony, it didn’t compare to seeing her walk toward him down the aisle. “It was like seeing her for the first time all over again.”