Alexa Ardeljan-Braden and Mark Goodman’s friend Dane knew the two would be perfect for each other. Unfortunately, they were both seeing other people when he introduced the pair. Luckily, they decided to stay friends and a couple of years later the timing felt right and they began dating. After spending months trying to figure out how to propose, the moment finally arrived. The couple went on a hike one Saturday morning and came across a large tree with a bench swing at the summit. “We sat there, talking about our plans for the future and our relationship, as we looked out over Los Angeles,” shares Alexa. “Suddenly, Mark got down on one knee, asked me to marry him, and I immediately burst into tears of joy.”

Deciding to host the wedding in town, the sweethearts looked to Tessa Brand of Tessa Lyn Events to plan the celebration. “We live in Santa Monica and hoped to marry somewhere locally so we could pop in for a cocktail or visit from time to time,” explains the bride. Finding the site allowed the design to fall into place. “Once we decided on our venue, I immediately knew I would stick to white flowers with eucalyptus and gold accents,” reveals Alexa of her palette that matched the space. The color scheme also mirrored the nearby beach. Blue thistles were used as accents in arrangements of Tibet roses, hydrangeas, eucalyptus, and other blooms for a natural and ethereal look. 

The bride and groom opted for a short ceremony officiated by their dear friend. In addition to writing his speech for the nondenominational ceremony, the couple also wrote their own vows. “We also incorporated a Waterford bell that belonged to my late mother,” Alexa confides. “We called it the ‘truce bell’ and made a promise that if we ever found ourselves going through a difficult time, we’d ring the bell and remember how happy our wedding day was.” Mark surprised his beloved by speaking Romanian, the native language of the bride’s family, during his vows. It was a touching moment during the otherwise light-hearted service. 

Though Alexa wanted to make sure a traditional Serbian song planned at the reception to honor her heritage, the focus of the evening was making sure everyone had a relaxed and fun night of dancing. “Everyone from teenagers to septuagenarians were on the dance floor,” confirms the bride. “That felt the most similar to our personalities – we love to have fun and we love a good party.”