Alexandria and Jonathan first met on a trip to San Francisco, California, for the University of Southern California Gameday Weekender. "We met on the ride up, but sat together on the ride back," explains Alexandria. "We were basically inseparable after that." The couple continued to travel to the same event almost every year since meeting – "It had become a special time for us," she shares – and on their sixth anniversary while attending the annual weekend trip, Jonathan got down on one knee at the iconic Embarcadero under Cupids Span overlooking the Bay Bridge.

With only four months to plan a wedding to share with 140 guests, the duo enlisted the help of a wedding planner. "We really relied on our coordinator when it came to vendor decisions... If she loved a vendor, we really trusted that," says the bride. Since both Alexandria and Jonathan were raised in Southern California, they chose a modern venue close to home for the festivities.

In an effort to make the celebration truly about them as a couple, Alexandria and Jonathan wrote their own ceremony. "Once [Jonathan] had a bunch of ideas, we sat down together and spent a date night [finalizing] what we really wanted," explains the bride. Together, they selected the portions of a traditional ceremony they wanted to keep, change, or leave behind. One of the bride's family friends, who she considers as an uncle, performed the service, since "we wanted someone that really knew us as a couple to marry us," says Alexandria. "It was incredible to stand in the middle of a circle of our best friends and families to become husband and wife!"

Following the ceremony, loved ones found their seating assignments emblazoned on noisemakers, to signify the New Year's Eve wedding date. Reception tables featured glowing centerpieces with vanilla blooms tucked into various candle designs lending a romantic ambience. As an ode to the groom's father, a biologist who has traveled the world as an orchid specialist, the tropical blooms were featured prominently in the floral design. "Flowers were not the center of our vision, but they definitely became one of [our] favorite elements," shares the bride. In the spirit of the holiday, Alexandria and Jonathan wanted the night feel like a celebration. "It was really fun to notice that nearly everyone there knew each other somehow, and how interlocked our lives had become," she shares.

A simple, sparkling wedding cake with two flavor options – vanilla cake with strawberry filling or salted caramel peanut butter cake with chocolate ganache – delighted guests' palettes. "Jonathan has a major sweet tooth," explains Alexandria, so in addition to the confection, guests enjoyed selections from a dessert bar featuring Oreo cupcakes, chocolate salted-caramel tarts, mini caramel apple lattice pies, passion fruit shot glasses, and key lime tarts. At midnight, 500 balloons dropped in celebration, and late-night snacks, such as cheese burger sliders, chicken al pastor tacos, and short rib quesadillas, kept revelers dancing into the New Year. Guests took home bottles of Champagne with custom labels as a wedding favors. "A New Year's Eve wedding gave us a lot of room for unique elements!" notes the couple.

The best planning advice the couple received throughout the process? "Plan your wedding for you as a couple and no one else," shares the bride. "This made making decisions so much easier. We followed traditions we liked and let those that didn't feel genuinely like us go."