Stacey and Joe met through mutual friends after Joe transferred colleges and moved to Santa Barbara. They started dating a year later. “I knew the first time I saw him that there was something there,” Stacey recalls. Joe felt the same spark. “I remember meeting her for the first time at a party,” he says. “As we spent more time together as friends, I realized how beautiful she was, and still is, on the inside and out.”

They dated for the remainder of their college years. Looking back, Stacey is appreciative of the thoughtfulness Joe put into their dates. “You have limited funds, roommates and differing school schedules but Joe did an amazing job by planning dates that were fun and thoughtful,” she says. “Our first official date was a total surprise; he would not tell me anything. He took me to the Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens and then to dinner at the Santa Barbara Harbour Restaurant. After dinner, we walked along the pier. Joe stopped, put his arms around my waist and said, ‘Will you be my girlfriend?’”

Nine years later, they were engaged. And on their 10-year anniversary, they were married. Like many couples, they fell down the rabbit hole of wedding planning. “At first, it was rough,” she says. “There are so many ideas, lists, Pinterest images and opinions…we were bombarding each other daily with questions.” To solve the wedding takeover, they made the decision to only plan the wedding on the weekends. “We made a standing Saturday morning breakfast date, no phones allowed, where we would respond to wedding planning emails, get checklists done and make final decisions,” Joe says. “That allowed us to de-stress during the week, and refocus on being a couple; not just a bride and groom.”

Joe and Stacey lived in Austin as they were planning their Sacramento wedding. Factoring in the distance, they knew they wanted someone local to help with the details. They hired G.G. Colette Events, a full-service wedding planning team. “They allowed us to feel fully in control of the planning process, which was important to me,” Stacey says. “I was heavily involved in the designing of the wedding, from the concept to the finishes, and G.G. Colette provided us with a range of options for us to choose from that fit with our ideas.”

As their vision became their wedding day reality, Stacey and Joe were able to focus on each other. “Honestly, I barely remember walking down the aisle,” Stacey says. “I was so scared. Not about marrying Joe, but about all of the attention focused on me. I do remember the feeling that washed over me when we first held hands at the altar: pure love. I could not believe we were finally there.”

—Kourtney Jason