They say that home is where the heart is, and Erika and Kyle knew from the moment they met that they had found home with each other. A chance meeting and a series of fortunate events brought these two together, and they haven’t looked back since. This wayfaring couple is always looking forward to find the next destination, but no matter where they go, they will always be at home with each other. Read more about how their straight-from-the-movies romance led to a gorgeous mountain elopement at Redfish Lake.
Erika: I guess you can say it all started with a “home.” Our story sounds like a sweet country song. I was living in Nashville, Tennessee at the time. I wanted to move to Clarksville, to make my commute to work easier. A friend had told me about this charming tiny white house with a front porch surrounded by magnolia trees that was going to be available for rent over the next month. I pulled up to the address, parked my car, and that’s when I first saw Kyle. My heart literally skipped a beat. Kyle was outside having just pressure washed the porch. He was barefoot, wearing wranglers and said in his sweet southern drawl, “Hi, you must be Miss Erika.” I still remember the first time I heard his sweet laugh. The house was all of 300 square feet, so as cute as it was, the tour didn’t last that long. Instead, we ended up chatting for hours that day on the porch. As it turned out, Kyle was moving out of the house to relocate to Colorado. I ended up signing the lease that day, excited for my new home, but bummed the cute cowboy who lived there wouldn’t be local.
Kyle: I remember her leaving to sign the lease. I wanted to get her number but I didn’t want to be too forward.
Erika: Well it all worked out! I called my friends on the way home to Nashville and they were like “How was the house?” They still joke that the first thing out of my mouth is “Oh my God! A really good-looking cowboy lives there!” His huge heart was the first thing I was drawn to – he has a heart of gold. When I moved into the house a month later, I opened the mailbox and there was a stack of mail for Kyle. I was able to get his contact information and I messaged him asking if he would like me to shred some of the important looking documents.
Kyle: That’s when I said, “Hell no! I’m coming back to Tennessee to get them myself!”
Erika: Pretty close to that! He replied and said plans fell through in Colorado and that he still had work in Tennessee. And he asked if it would be alright if he stopped by in person to get the mail. I remember being so excited to see him again. I immediately said, “Yes! Come on over!” We started dating shortly after Kyle came back to Tennessee and the rest is history.
Kyle: Best decision I ever made. Next to asking her to marry me.
Erika: I fell in love with Kyle’s heart the minute I met him. He has this huge, warm smile and kindness just echoes through his being. I had a crush on him for months! I think it was love at first sight for me.
Kyle: She is such a good person. We could talk like we had been friends forever. I thought she was beautiful when we met, but it was when I came back to Tennessee that I knew we had something special.
Erika: We were supposed to backpack Zion National Park last Thanksgiving. The weather turned crazy basically all over the country. We ended up heading to Joshua Tree National Park because it was the only area we could find that wasn’t getting plummeted with a storm. We drove out to Joshua Tree (from Arizona, where we were living at the time) and when we arrived, Kyle saw snow covering the San Bernardino Mountains. So we drove towards the mountains and stumbled upon Idyllwild, California. It was so cute! And absolutely covered in snow.
Kyle: It was awesome! I found us a campsite. We went in and spoke with the ranger, and she told us that in just an hour the town was going to have their annual tree-lightning where they lit up five giant Sequoia trees in the middle of town. I knew that was it.
Erika: It was the most beautiful mountain town engagement! I was so surprised when he proposed. After Kyle set up the tent, we walked into town and explored all the shops, and then he took me to a romantic dinner. When we left the restaurant there was a snowball fight happening in the center of town and we jumped in. We had a lot of laughs. After everyone went home, we took one last stroll around the lit up Sequoias and that’s when Kyle took me to the center of them all and got down on one knee. Of course I shouted yes! It took my breath away.
Erika: Gosh, I just love everything! I love Kyle’s heart, and how generous he is. He is willing to help anyone and he always shows up for the people he cares about. I love how I can always count on him and I know he will always protect me and keep me safe. He is the perfect combination of a spontaneous soul with a grounded heart. He is my favorite adventure and he has shown me that I am capable of so many things I never knew. I would never have lived my life this fully if it weren’t for him.
Kyle: Erika is beautiful inside and out. She would do anything for me. She is sweet, caring and kind. She has shown me what love really is, and she is my best friend.
Kyle: Appreciation. Erika has always been so thankful for what we have and she shows me her gratitude every day. Waking up early to pack me a lunch, making sure my coveralls are clean for work, having a warm meal on the table when I come home from the shop…little things like that.
Erika: It took forever for me to find Kyle, and he is better than anyone I could have ever imagined for myself. I would say committing to making each other’s life better by being in it. We both want what’s best for each other. We support each other and we are always looking out for each other’s needs.
Erika: We wanted to experience a totally intimate wedding celebration – a day focused on just the two of us and saying our vows out loud for God to hear. I didn’t want the pressure, anxiety and obligations that can come with having a traditional wedding.
Kyle: We wanted it to feel like “us.” Free spirited but real, honest and meaningful.
Erika: I Google searched elopements.
Erika: I had been researching various vendors and it seemed like a lot to manage for an event that I truly wanted to keep simple, fun and special. It was very important to us that we keep the focus on the love shared between us and the significance of the commitment we were making to share the rest of our lives together.
Kyle: When Erika told me that Simply Eloped does everything for the couple and all we had to do was dress up and show up — that sounded good to me!
Erika: We wanted an outdoor location that captured our spirit of adventure. We live on a ranch in Wyoming and we just had to have mountains, cabins and horses with us or it wouldn’t feel like home. Redfish Lake is absolutely beautiful and created the peaceful and calming atmosphere that we wanted to experience on such an important day.
Kyle: Definitely the mountains. The Sawtooths are awesome.
Erika: I loved our wedding day. We chose an afternoon ceremony and by going through Simply Eloped, we were able to wake up slow and start our day with a stroll around the lake. We hung out in our cabin and just took our time getting ready. Kyle went on a hike with his dog, Cinch, while I was doing my hair and makeup. It was really peaceful and so enjoyable. We happened to elope while the wildfire smoke was encompassing the Sawtooth Mountains. I looked out and saw our location for the first time when I walked down the beach to meet my husband. I said “Wow, this is really beautiful.” It looked like we were getting married in the clouds. Our officiant Jill said, “Yes, it’s like we’re in the Heavens.” It was perfect.
Erika: Simply Eloped was amazing! I tell everyone to check them out. I can’t imagine having our wedding any other way. Olivia answered all of the questions that I had when it came to choosing our location. Haley introduced me to the wonderful Jill Iris, our officiant, and the amazing Jenni Simpson, our photographer. The whole experience was perfectly simple and truly enjoyable. Jenni went out of her way to make sure she captured every element I was dreaming of. Jill tailored our ceremony to include our favorite Bible passages and do a special reading of The Four Directions blessing that tied in the location with who we are as a couple and what we desire for our marriage. The day was flawless and Kyle and I have only positive memories of our wedding. We are so grateful to Simply Eloped.
Erika: After our ceremony we went to an intimate dinner with a few special loved ones. It was the perfect way to celebrate our elopement and share our joy with those closest to us. The next day we left for Glacier National Park and celebrated our honeymoon. It was a week filled with adventure and love, which is exactly what we wanted.
Erika: You only get one chance to marry the love of your life. When you’re planning your wedding, ask yourself, “What is it I want to look back on and remember about our day?” I can guarantee, that will make the answer simple for you. Elope!
Planning: Simply Eloped
Officiant: Jill Iris
Photographer: Jennifer Simpson