When Brandon was stationed at a new U.S. Air Force Base in an area he knew little about, he relocated with a bit of nervousness. Yet, fate had plans for Brandon’s future that he never could have imagined. “Looking back, it really seems so crazy, as Travis Air Force Base was last on my dream sheet of places to be stationed,” says Brandon.

A few short weeks after getting to the area, he was invited to a backyard barbecue that was joined with a neighboring event, resulting in a fun mix of new and interesting people. There he met Stephanie, who came from the gathering next door, and their connection was undeniable.

When the time came, Brandon brought Stephanie back to the spot where they had gone on their first date, and in that same place, with their parents nearby, Brandon kneeled in front of Stephanie asking for her hand in marriage. They spent the next year planning their special day, focused on teamwork and communication to make sure their wedding represented them and their love in the most authentic way possible.

“Our goal was a moody, vintage and romantic wedding with subtle hints of our favorite time of year: Halloween,” Stephanie says. “We tried to keep in the wedding traditions but put our own unique twists into it. It was important to us to still make it feel like a wedding but our wedding.” They also incorporated their golden retriever, Forrest, into the ceremony by having him join them for a walk down the aisle.

Stephanie says that whether or not the elements of the wedding were traditional, they still reflected her and Brandon’s personal style. It was not a decision they took lightly, but it was one that was important to them. “I wanted to look back at our wedding and be happy that we took the risks to make this wedding our own…this theme was very much us, from the ‘American Horror Story’ themed welcome sign to our all black cake, we were really happy we stuck to our personal style.”

She says she thinks their guests will remember how unique their wedding was, but for them, the most memorable moment was standing atop Taber Ranch, overlooking their reception while the sun set behind them. “We could see all of our beautiful friends and family, we could see the wedding we worked so hard on for months and we were officially married. It was the most surreal, special feeling in the world.” 

—Abigail Blank