While visiting Seattle with a group of friends, National Football League running back Shane Vereen was delighted to be seated next to Taylour Rutledge at a dinner with mutual friends. “Shane was so down to earth and humble," remembers Taylour. "He has truly been himself since the day I met him." Though neither expected to meet the love of their life that night, Shane and Taylour spent the evening growing closer. “We have spoken to each other every single day since that night,” Shane smiles.

Though they were in a long-distance relationship for two years while Shane played for the New England Patriots, their love never faltered. “I knew for a long time that Taylour was the girl I wanted to marry… I just remember one day waking up and saying to myself I want to be with her forever,” says the groom. Armed with the blessing of her father, Shane began planning the perfect proposal. Since they were building a house together in Colorado, he told his beloved that they needed to fly out for a meeting with the builder. After boarding a plane from Los Angeles – where Shane was training – they soon arrived at the building site, where fresh flowers and Champagne had been placed in the middle of the lot, creating a romantic spot for the proposal. Not done with the surprises for the day, Shane whisked his fiancée away to Santa Barbara to celebrate their engagement with a massage at their future wedding venue. “Besides my wedding day, it was one of the most special days of my life,” muses Taylour.

Since the bride had always dreamed of having an outdoor wedding, the couple chose to exchange vows in Santa Barbara, which boasts beautiful weather all year round – and most importantly, in March when the pair decided to wed during the football offseason. Since they were living in New Jersey at the time while Shane played for the New York Giants, they relied heavily on their team of wedding professionals to make their dream celebration come to life in just 11 months.

On the afternoon of the alfresco ceremony, 210 guests found their seats on a grass lawn facing a picturesque view of the sea. Two urns overflowing with blush and alabaster blooms marked the entrance to the aisle, which was decorated with vanilla petals leading to the spot for the vow exchange: an elegant archway designed by Flowers by Cina featuring a blend of white and ivory florals accented with fresh eucalyptus greenery. “Overall, my ceremony space turned out exactly how I imagined,” beams the bride. She was stunning in a strapless mermaid gown as she approached her groom holding a creamy bouquet of peonies, garden roses, and ranunculus blossoms. “I couldn’t take my eyes off of her,” remembers Shane of his favorite moment of the day.

After exchanging handwritten vows, the newlyweds met their loved ones on the terrace for a sit-down dinner service under the moonlight. To create an intimate and romantic feel, three 40-foot-long rectangular wooden tables were placed in the middle of the space, with round tables on the outside. Low arrangements consisting of soft-hued garden roses, ranunculuses, and greenery decorated the tablescapes and allowed guests to converse easily with one another. “The florals were one of my favorite aspects of my wedding display!” confirms the bride.

Once the sun went down, loved ones made their way into the rotunda room to enjoy slices of the couple’s four-layer wedding cake decorated with fresh blooms. Since Taylour and Shane couldn’t decide between their two preferred flavors, they chose both: chocolate cake with whipped white chocolate filling and raspberries and lemon cake with lemon-raspberry filling. They also wanted their guests to experience their beloved California treat, so the In-N-Out Burger food truck made an appearance just in time for a late-night snack that kept loved ones energized for an evening of dancing. “Much appreciation to the DJ who kept the dance floor packed for the entire reception,” notes the groom.

Both the bride and groom agree they wouldn’t have done anything differently. “That’s not to say we had the best wedding ever… I think just for Tay and I, it was exactly what we wanted,” affirms the groom. Taylour shares: “Everyone still talks to us about how much fun our wedding was and how much fun everyone had together… We loved every aspect of our wedding day.”