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Erica & Matthew

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High school sweethearts Erica and Matthew Ladwig have been together since he left a rose and a letter in her band locker on her sweet sixteenth birthday. They marched together in the band at Ralston Valley High School and will continue in step the rest of their lives.

Erica graduated from college on May 9, 2015, and was planning a trip to Paris. But Matthew had a surprise for her before she left. He told her he had planned dinner with his family to celebrate Mother’s Day, but instead went to the Arbor House, where a surprise graduation party awaited Erica. Then Matthew slipped out to prepare his second surprise. A short time later, the Fairmount Fire Department’s best truck arrived, pulled everyone out of the building and asked for Erica. She didn’t readily recognize Matthew, since he was wearing his full bunker gear and helmet. He knelt and asked Erica to be his wife, and she said “Yes!”

The blissful couple tied the knot on July 18, 2015, at Arvada Covenant Church. Erica’s only sister, Jillian Kellenberger, served as Maid of Honor; bridesmaids Rachel Walters, Cami Malone, Carly Younkerman, Bryn Larson and Chelsea Roberts are Erica’s lifelong friends, and all six women have maintained strong friendships throughout college and life changes. Matthew’s Best Man was his childhood friend and next-door neighbor, Clay Harris. They grew up together and consider themselves brothers. Groomsmen John Swenson, Cody Cline, and Brian Phipps are Matthew’s lifelong friends. Also serving as groomsmen were his brother-in-law, Caleb Norcross, and college friend, Hayden Taylor. Candle lighters were Erica’s sister-in-law, Mikayla Norcross, and cousin, Alexandria Gfeller. Celebrating their wedding together with so many family members and friends with such rich personal histories was an important part of the day for Erica and Matthew.

Erica wanted to include memories of her grandmother, who passed away in 1995, in her wedding celebration. Many of her grandmother’s collections, including beautiful candelabras that she had collected as she traveled, were left to Erica’s aunts and uncle, who allowed her to use them for table decorations and centerpieces. Since Erica’s grandmother was also a seamstress, her straight pins were used as decoration in her stunning bouquet of pink and peach roses with trailing greenery.

Erica and Matthew honeymooned with a week at Sandals Negril in Jamaica, where they snorkeled, swam with dolphins, fed sharks, zip lined through the rain forest and visited Ochos Rios. They’re both from Arvada, Colorado, but they recently moved to Houston, Texas, so they spent another honeymoon week driving from Colorado to Texas, enjoying Santa Fe, Pecos, Fredricksburg and other small towns.