On Thanksgiving morning in 2013, Jane Hamm and Tom Lerum rode horses through Mackenzie Mountain in Carmel Valley, Calif., where Hamm’s family has a ranch. They came upon a tree, where Tom had laid out a picnic, and engraved in its trunk were their initials. There, he presented Jane with an emerald-cut sapphire ring with diamond baguettes.
“I was completely surprised,” she says.
Riding their horses back to the main lodge where both of their families waited anxiously, they were greeted with champagne and celebration.
Hamm, from Oklahoma, and Lerum, from California, crossed paths seven years earlier in Washington, D.C., while working as congressional pages. Their first day was at George W. Bush’s last State of the Union address, but it wasn’t until four years later that Lerum realized Hamm’s crush, a feeling he mirrored.
“His mom eventually clued him in,” Hamm says. “We started dating our junior year of college. I attended Duke University, and he attended the Air Force Academy.”
During the pair’s yearlong engagement, they choreographed the details of the big day. And on Oct. 4, 2014, when guests began to arrive and all the elements started coming together, it was everything they’d hoped for.
“Tom and I both wanted to have a black tie wedding,” Hamm says, “to create an atmosphere of class and elegance.”
Midnight blue and silver weaved its way through the ceremony and the reception in the form of flowers, bridesmaid dresses, place-settings and other decor.
The ceremony was held outdoors at the Aria Pavilion at the Grand Del Mar in Del Mar, Calif. As guests took their seats, a line of violinists, Hamm’s favorite detail, serenaded them, she says.
Arriving in view of Lerum and guests, Hamm stunned in a custom Vera Wang gown.
“I have always admired Vera Wang’s artistry in her dress designs,” Hamm says. “I immediately fell in love with one of her gowns … I worked with the design team and created my dream dress.”
A dramatic train, one of the longest they’d ever created, trailed Hamm as she walked toward Lerum, a parent on each arm.
“Both of my parents have been such strong figures in my life, and I am grateful to have [had] them both there to walk me down the aisle,” she says.
At the end of the aisle, Lerum, dressed in a Tom Ford tuxedo, watched as his bride neared. Joining hands, Hamm’s former pastor, David Wiggs, guided them to “I do.”
In the grand ballroom, the couple’s first dance, a four-course dinner, touching toasts and a night of dancing awaited. Hamm changed into another striking Vera Wang dress, perfect for the celebration.
“It was magical,” Hamm recalls.
Before cutting the cake, the couple took their guests outside for a surprise firework show set to a few of their favorite songs. After dessert, the dancing continued and guests enjoyed food stations that included barbecue sliders, truffle fries and other goodies.
“We had a “Beau”-tie Bar, where guests could switch out their black bow ties for wild ones, and a flash tattoo station,” she says.
The two weeks following the unforgettable day were just as special. Hamm and Lerum spent their first week as a married couple on Richard Branson’s Necker Island and the second at The Rosewood Mayakoba in Mexico.
Today, the couple resides in Los Angeles, where Lerum is stationed in the Air Force. They have recently become the owners of Joullian Vineyards in Carmel Valley, Calif.