Ivory Isle Brides: Melanie

“We’re both pretty passionate about the outdoors,” says Melanie, a pediatrician hailing from Ohio now settled with her auditing, Arizonian husband, Ryan, in sunny Phoenix. “We love hiking. We love eating.” It’s all about balance, says Melanie with a smile. Clearly, this couple are perfectly in tune with their lives, and one another.

Contrary to their open-air vibe, Melanie reveals she met Ryan online, but that from the moment they first met in the real world, they spent the lion’s share of their dating life exploring the great outdoors.

About a year-and-a-half ago, “we were hiking in the Rocky Mountain National Park just outside of Denver, Colorado,” remembers Melanie. “I wasn’t feeling very well, actually. I had a terrible headache. I was exhausted. It was altitude sickness.

“We made it up to a beautiful lake and then Ryan handed me a photo album he’d made. It was full of our early online conversations. It was something I’d wanted for a while and he’d done a wonderful job with it. As I thumbed through the pages, I started feeling better, and then I got to one that said, ‘Will you marry me?’ I turned around and he was holding the ring out!”

FYI, she said yes.

The engagement lasted a brisk 14 months. Prep for the wedding was evenly split between Melanie, Ryan, Melanie’s mom and her Matron of Honor sister.

“Location was definitely the priority for us,” adds Ryan, who booked the ceremony and reception for November 12, 2016, at the picturesque Edgewood, Tahoe country club. “It’s a beautiful venue, in a stunning setting, so we didn’t need to overdecorate on the day.”

“We wanted our wedding to reflect who we are,” continues Melanie. “For our personalities and interests to shine through. We also wanted to keep things on the smaller side. For our wedding to be intimate and personal. Lake Tahoe is such an inspiring setting, and in November the colours are so rich, we let those elements guide us. Everything came together when my sister came up with the perfect theme: Fall in Love!

Melanie handled the printables. “I wanted a simple invitation that tied those Fall and Lake Tahoe themes together. Josie had a beautiful, rustic wedding suite with pine trees that was just perfect. Best of all, she was so easy to work with. She always responded quickly. She was friendly and eager to help. She listened to all my crazy ideas then helped hone them. Working with her was a pleasure.”

From the ceremony to the festivities, says Melanie, “It was the best day ever!

“We wanted to gather our friends and family to have the best possible time, and everyone loved it. Most of them had never been to Lake Tahoe before, and ended up loving it as much as we do. As it gets dark early in Fall, we married at noon, so everyone could see the lake and the mountains, and also walk around on the beach, for as long as possible.

“We did our First Look on the beach about two hours before the wedding. It was a little windy but sunny, and the water was crystal clear. We were lucky with the weather too: it was very mild. The ceremony was short and sweet, officiated by an old friend of mine. My dad did object though, when I said to Ryan, ‘I’ll be your best friend and your lover,’ but it was funny!

“Afterwards we did our family pictures and later, at the reception, Ryan and I surprised everyone with a dance routine we’d put together to Elvis Presley’s ‘Burning Love’. Though we’d only rehearsed for about a week, we were pretty slick. Unfortunately the dance floor was slick as well and I slipped a bit at the beginning. I think we covered it up pretty well though.”

“I don’t think anyone noticed that, “adds Ryan. “It went really well. The whole day went really well. It was wonderful.”

Married life is pretty sweet as well, concludes Melanie. “We lived together before we got married, so not much has really changed, but it’s nice to be able to call Ryan my husband!”

Photographs by Joy Ximenez. Visit her website, A Moment of Joy Photography, HERE.