The pair began tinkering on engines together after work. Soon friendship blossomed into romance, and the Long Beach, California, couple became inseparable. "We just get each other," says Sean, 38. Which is why, when Sean proposed five years later on Christmas Day, he did it at Merritt's parents' estate in Upperville, Virginia. "It was very traditional," says Merritt. "He snuck out on a walk with my father to ask for permission." Popping the question there meant they could get a jump start on wedding-planning. "I'd always wanted to get married at home," says Merritt. "We immediately chose a color scheme that felt modern and echoed the look of the property—green, steel gray, and stone."