Tell us your love story!
Well, it’s kind of a funny story. I [Erin] had been working at a boarding school in Western, MA for 5 years and was looking to make a change. Simultaneously, Amber was living in Denver, CO and was looking to move back to her hometown to be closer to her family. She searched for jobs in the area and a mutual friend of ours, a coworker of mine, and a former high school adviser of Amber’s, suggested to Amber that she look into teaching at a prep school. I was teaching Psychology, working in a dorm, and coaching softball. The school needed to fill these roles along with a head girls basketball coaching position. As a former college baller, and a social worker by trade, Amber fit the bill and was hired to replace me. We met on her interview day and I knew she’d be a great fit - we were actually wearing the same outfit when we met. Ha! I moved away to a school in Connecticut and throughout the end of summer and early fall, I was attempting to email Amber with my Psychology materials. I was spelling her name wrong for months so we never got back in touch. A friend and colleague of ours threw a party mid-winter which drew me back to Williston. We got to know each other that night and finally got each others correct information. The rest of course, is herstory ;)
What about the proposal?
Oh boy. This was a doozy. The best version of the story can be told on @aralani's Instagram but I’ll give my version. We had been traveling in Leavenworth, WA for a trip with an amazing non-profit called First Descents, and Amber suggested that we make the trip to Portland, Oregon post FD. I obviously said, “duh” because who wouldn’t want to go to Portland? We hopped in our rental car and made the 3hr trek. Little did I know that her big brain was ticking away with some major plans. I was ready to hit up every brewery within walking distance of our Air BnB, but Amber kept my beer loving habits at bay by telling me she wanted to get to a waterfall about 30 minutes away because it’s been on her bucket list for years. This meant an early rise to get a good parking spot at the base of the trail. Keep in mind we had been waking up at 6am every day for the last week and I am NOT a morning person. Getting me out of bed was a real feat on Amber’s part. We got up and dressed in our hikers best… sort of. I should have known something was up when she told me my first headband option didn’t match. That’s never usually an issue. This is my version of the story, but know that in Amber’s version, she’d be telling you she was sweating bullets because for the life of me, I could not decide on a place for breakfast. Eating was a must because well, I get hangry, and that wasn’t an option today. And I know it’s basic, but I DO NOT function when caffeine doesn’t enter my system within 30 minutes of waking. Later I found out my poor decision making almost ruined the morning because of our time commitment with the hidden photographer. More on her later. We arrive at the base of the trail and begin our ascent. It’s a gorgeous walk through the woodlands of Portland and a caffeinated smile didn’t leave my face. In fact, it got even bigger when we reached the falls. There’s a family of four to our far left exploring the wilderness, and a beautiful photographer capturing the falls from a tripod. I turned to Amber and commented, “I wonder if she’s from National Geographic” We passed her to gaze at the natural beauty when Amber suggested I ask the lady behind the camera to take a picture of us with my camera. I had no issue with this other than the fact that my lens is cracked. This is important because noticing she’s a professional, I went on a 5 minute tangent about my broken lens, asking her if she knew how I could fix it. She was calm and incredibly polite. *Cue Amber’s sweat beads down her forehead because plot twist, SHE’S ABOUT TO BE OUR ENGAGEMENT PHOTOGRAPHER! Ara took our picture with my camera, it came out great, then whisked away back to her tripod. Amber then put her hand on my back and says, will you come back over with me? I was like, “sure…” then it hit me. She slowly positioned herself to my left and out of the corner of my eye, I see Ara, that little devil, pull her camera off her tripod to capture the most magical moment of our lives. Amber knelt to one knee with the biggest most beautiful smile on her face, and asked to spend the rest of her life with me. After calling her an asshole, I started sobbing, and said a blubbering “yes!” I called out to Ara, calling her a “beautiful human”, ‘cause she is, and we all hugged and cried together. Ara was booked as our wedding photographer soon after. So, short story, Amber organized an engagement across the entire United States with a photographer we didn’t know, in a location we’ve never been to. Like, c’mon. It was beautifully insane.
When did you know that you were meant to be with each other?
Erin: When Amber left for South Korea to visit a friend two weeks into us dating. I missed her terribly. More than I probably should have.
Amber: When Erin willingly took Emmett (Amber’s Golden Retriever) for two weeks while I went to South Korea. I, too, missed her terribly - it wasn’t long after that we were quickly making plans to always be together.
Going into the wedding planning, what did you definitely know?
We knew we wanted to make a weekend out of it with tons of activities for our guests to enjoy.
What surprised you during planning? What was easy, what was difficult?
Planning a weekend wedding has huge pro’s - you get to actually spend time with the people that came from near and far to celebrate with you - however be prepared to plan multi-day’s worth of food/alcohol/activities! We were at a perfect venue with tons of lake activities which helped in our choosing of the venue.
Is there anything you wish you knew while you were planning your wedding that you know now?
Before the wedding, people kept telling us that we wouldn’t have time to eat dinner at the reception, however we were both were convinced we would make time to eat. Everyone was right - we did not have much time to eat!
Any advice for couples planning weddings now? Anything you would have done differently or anything you’d like to add?
Breathe. Everything will come together and it will be okay! People will be so happy to celebrate you and your partner and that is what is most important. As far as the details go - make a calendar and stick to it for a year out to the wedding. Book as many vendors/the venue as early as possible. Also - have someone not in your wedding party designated as additional help the day of - for example having a plate of prepared food before or after in your post wedding room/suite makes a big difference! We were fortunate to have an amazing wedding planner, Kelsey Mozzi, come with the venue - it was important to communicate our vision clearly so that we weren’t worried about setup/decor day-of the wedding.
What was your favorite part of your wedding day?
Oh my goodness, too many. We LOVED that our dance floor was never empty, from start to finish. Our venue did the hard work in making our guests feel like they were on their own mini vacation. We felt so incredibly loved - the vibe was perfect. It’s hard to pick just one favorite. It was the best day ever.
- Venue: The Lake House Guest Cottages of the Berkshires (Lanesborough, MA)
- Photographer & Videographer: Aralani Photography
- Florist: Garden Blossoms Florist
- Paper Goods: Riley & Grey
- Caterer: Meyers Catering
- Baker: Donut Dip
- Music: And the Beat Goes On
- Hair & Makeup: Traveler Beauty Company
- Rentals: Classical Tents
- Attire: David's Bridal
- Wedding Party Attire: Weddington Way
- Officiant: Rev. E. Taylor Doctor
- Jewelry: Silverscape Designs