Though they’ve known each other since high school, Tracey and Clay’s love really blossomed in college at Chico State.

“I had wanted to date her for a while prior to us dating,” Clay admits.

The couple had been together for a few years when Clay graduated. He was planning to leave Chico and move back home. Tracey still had a year left of school.

But they didn’t let the distance affect their bond. Clay wanted to show Tracey how committed he was to her before he moved. “He told me he was going to be taking grad pictures at his parents’ house and, of course, I believed him!” she says. “But when we went to scout for great picture locations, he took me to the place where he told me he liked me for the first time. And then, he just knelt down and popped the question. I couldn’t believe what was happening! I think I said, ‘Really?!’ about 20 times. Finally, I said, ‘Yes!’ and we went back to his parents’ house, where all our friends and family were waiting to congratulate us.”

Clay never had a doubt that Tracey was the one for him. “I knew from our first date,” he says. “We were so similar and always got along. Plus, she lets me fish whenever I want.”

Because Tracey was finishing up her degree, they held off on planning for about a year. After she graduated, they started making plans for their big day.

Tracey says the best decision they made was hiring their wedding planner Jenn from Jenn Robirds Events. “She made the whole process a breeze, and I never had to worry about anything,” Tracey says.

Their top goal was to make sure it was a party. “We wanted everyone to celebrate our new life together,” she says.

And though it took about 10 months to plan, it was well worth the wait. “I loved seeing it all come together,” Tracey says. “It can be such a slow and tedious process, but once everything starts coming together, the excitement begins.”

They got married on a family property that combined Victorian touches with total glamour. “It was incredible to see what Tracey and Jenn had come up with,” Clay says. “I was amazed when I walked up and saw it all decorated.”

After six years of dating, the couple was head over heels with excitement to become Mr. and Mrs. “It all just felt unreal,” the groom says. “I could not believe that I was actually marrying Tracey. Of course, I was nervous and excited at the same time. When I saw her finally coming down the aisle, I did tear up.”

Tracey adds, “I remember seeing Clay crying as I was walking down. I was trying so hard not to cry, but when I saw him, I couldn’t hold it in anymore.” 

—Kourtney Jason