Intimate & Casual Wedding At A Mountain Top Rustic Cabin

  • By Jen Hart
  • California Wedding, Real Weddings
  • comments 0

Mike and Alex had a different wedding than they initially planned, because,……Covid. It couldn’t have been more perfect with only six guests and the most epic rustic mountain cabin. Alex and Mike’s wedding highlights that smaller, more intimate weddings can be as dreamy and magical as larger weddings.

Alex summed up this sentiment best:

“Our day was absolutely perfect. It had all the highlights of a big wedding without all the fuss. My dress was stunning and comfortable and made me feel beautiful. It also paired perfectly with Mike’s blue puppytooth suit and burgundy tie. The cabin was lovely. The setting was gorgeous. The sky cleared, and it ended up being a gorgeous day. The whole celebration was casual and intimate. We both felt so special and couldn’t have been happier. I wouldn’t have changed a single thing.”

Alex Wore Dreamers & Lovers, Hayley Flowy Lace Wedding Dress.

Their photographer, San-Francisco based Bre Thurston, captured their wedding so perfectly. Here Alex highlights, Bre’s candid style, and we couldn’t agree more.
“I loved her style, which felt elegant and classic, yet somehow effortless and intimate. When we first talked with her about what we wanted out of a photographer, we explained that we wanted to focus on candid moments.”


Our Love Story (from Alex)

Mike and I met through a mutual friend. Or rather, a would-be mutual friend. At the time, he was Mike’s good friend and my neighbor. They were writing a script together, saw me walk by, and asked me to come over. Well, asked is perhaps too passive of a word. It was more of a yell from the kitchen window to come hang out. Mike was the quieter of the two. He was cute and funny and nice. My neighbor and I became friends and I in turn became friends with his friends. Mike would come around every so often. I always found myself drawn to him. And after a couple years of friendly conversation we finally got drunk enough to kiss.


The Proposal

Mike surprised me one Saturday by saying he’d rented a cute Airbnb for us in Topanga Canyon. As we’d been together for quite some time, I knew that a proposal was in our future, and thus, had an inkling that this could be the night. That said, he’d had ample opportunities in the past and it wasn’t completely out of the ordinary for him to surprise me with a great date idea.

We arrived at the most adorable tree house with a gorgeous view overlooking the canyon. Excited, I started fiddling with the rental’s Bluetooth speaker so that we could play some music while we got ready for dinner. He’d made a reservation at The Inn of the Seventh Ray and I was thinking he might ask me there.

It was dark outside so when I looked up to see a face peering at me from the window, I shrieked. Mike started laughing and I ran out to say that I couldn’t believe he finally got me. (He always tries to scare me, and it never works.) He said that he had to get me outside “to do this…” then he knelt down and proposed. I was so surprised, convinced that it wouldn’t be this time, or that it would be later in the night, that I said, “Oh, you’re proposing!” Followed by a “Yes!” Then we popped some champagne, which he’d hidden in the car, before celebrating at dinner where we ate under a canopy of trees wrapped in twinkle lights.

Relationship Adversity

I’m the type of person who needs constant change. I need to always feel like I’m moving forward. I work in a job that has grown into a career that now challenges me. It’s now constantly evolving and presenting new obstacles, but about 5 years ago it was more administrative and office-based. I had been at the same company, in the same relationship, living in the same apartment, in the same part of town. I felt stuck.

Travel has always been very important to me, so about 5 years into my career and my relationship, I surprised everyone by deciding to take 4 months off to backpack through Europe. Alone.

To my surprise, my company supported me, but even more meaningful was that Mike supported me. He told me I was brave and that this was why he loved me. Because I was the type of person who would follow her passion. And though he couldn’t join me for the full trip, he’d visit for a week towards the end.

4 months away from real life, taking long walks, hiking, meeting new people and exploring new places gave me a lot of time to think. It made me realize that I loved my job and was excited about what it would become as I grew and gained more responsibilities. It also made me realize that there were some difficult conversations about the future of my relationship that needed to be had.

Once we started to open up, we realized that some assumptions had been made that were blocking us from moving forward. We decided to always put communication first. To make travel more of a priority. And never be afraid to talk things through.

We’ve been better for it ever since.



Advice For Future Brides


Find your support people. I’ve always said, it’s your wedding, do it the way that you want. But that’s easier said than done. I was lucky in that my immediate family was supportive of me having a micro-wedding as they knew it was important to me to keep it small and intimate. But I still had a difficult time with friends who were upset that they weren’t invited and family members who felt left out. It was wonderful to have a great group of friends to reinforce my decisions.

I was also completely overwhelmed by the whole process and did not enjoy the planning and pageantry of it all. I was lucky to have people who did and very confidentially said, “We love this. You don’t. Let us handle it.”

I’m someone who has a difficult time accepting help. I like to do everything myself. But I was so thankful that I had people who convinced me to relinquish some control and helped me to take it all one step at a timeht decision for us and our growing little family.

The Vows

We each rewrote the traditional wedding vows to be what we vowed and how we wanted to say them. I don’t have a favorite line or phrase, but I did love how we both kept traditional and used a parenthetical to add in our own customization. i.e. “for better (as we are now), for worse (as you are some mornings, though you are letting me sleep more, which I infinitely appreciate), for richer (which we will hopefully one day be) and for poorer (which we have definitely been)…“


We didn’t have any readings in the traditional sense. My Uncle, who served as our officiant, sent us both a series of questions. We were to each answer the same questions and not share our answers with one another.

– What were your impressions/thoughts when you first met?

– How did these thoughts and impressions change or grow as you started dating?

– When did you know Mike was “the one?” Was there a cognizant moment?

– Is there something Mike has always done that you once found annoying but now see as intrinsically him? 

In lieu of the usual ceremonial proceedings, he read our answers out loud to us, swapping out the readers as he went so that Mike’s best friend read a portion, my mom read a portion, and Mike and I even read a portion to one another.

The Wedding Cake

We ordered a 5” Crazy Berry Cake from Gayle’s Bakery in Capitola. It was a vanilla sponge filled with raspberry, strawberry, and blackberry jams and buttercreams, iced with vanilla buttercream and topped with berries at the center. It was delicious!!

We also ordered a Key Lime Pie, which is our all-time favorite. It was sweet and tart and massive. We ended up bringing it home where I ate the rest all by myself, bit by bit throughout the week, leaning over the counter with a fork in hand. It was too much pie, but totally worth it.


The Wedding Flowers

The only flowers at our wedding were in my beautiful wedding bouquet. I opted for Sola wood flowers and eucalyptus in ivory, burgundy, and blush (from EvergreenBride on Etsy). Everyone thought they were real. They smelled wonderful and were very sturdy. Which came in handy as I passed them around and plopped them here and there. And especially when I tossed them to Mike and his best friend while they were posing for photos. It was hilarious as they both thought the bouquet would be delicate and panicked, scrambling to catch it.


Finding The Dress

Growing up, I never fantasize about my wedding. I was always more of a run through the trees, kick up some dirt kind of girl. That said, by the time Mike proposed, we’d been together for nearly 10 years, so I’d had some time to think about it.

The great thing about long relationships is that you get to know yourself, both as a person and as a person in a couple. By the time we started planning our wedding I had been to all my friend’s weddings. I’d gotten past the expectations and pressures of what everyone else thinks the perfect wedding looks like. I got to pick and choose and find what felt right for us.

Though I didn’t want a traditional wedding, I knew I wanted some elements of one. Like the dress. I didn’t want anything too beaded or overly ornate. I didn’t want a corset or petticoats. I definitely had fun trying on different dresses. Dresses that pushed up here and cinched in there. But I always knew I wanted something simple and elegant. Something with a personality, that I could move in.

The first dress that I saw from Dreamers & Lovers was Willow. I immediately fell in love with the bold lace. As I went through Yanique’s collection, I had a feeling I’d find my dress at her shop. By the time my appointment rolled around, I had been to about 10 other stores and all had struck out.

Then I put on Hayley. She’s gorgeous and girly and whimsical. Which actually feels a little contrary to who I am, but somehow, she fits me so beautifully. This dress made me feel special. It was the perfect day, and this was the perfect dress.

Favorite Details

This is a hard one as I loved every aspect of our wedding and didn’t have anything like my mother’s earrings or my grandmother’s lace (though my mom did wear the dress that her mother wore to her wedding, which was beautiful and so sweet and meaningful). But I’d have to say my favorite detail of our wedding was that our gorgeous, rustic cabin sat at the very top of a redwoods laden mountain. Yes, the drive up was a bit harrowing. Yes, my father got completely lost and flustered as I tried to talk him through the directions with spotty cell service. And yes, the cabin was so tiny that we would have been completely screwed had it rained (as it was originally scheduled to). But the view was incredible. It stunned us with its beauty. We found the perfect spot to have the ceremony, an edge of the deck that overlooked the trees and rolling mountains and the ocean in the distance. And it made every photo light up, either filled with the dynamic sky or the setting sun (as we timed the ceremony to be at magic hour).  


Next For The Couple

We are back to work! Back to real-life in Los Angeles. We’re both working out of our small apartment while looking into houses as we’re in desperate need of more space and a backyard. So hopefully a house is in our future. But in the meantime, we’re staying busy and going back to business as usual until June, when we’ll have a big party to celebrate with our family and friends. And after which, we’ll be going on our honeymoon. Location to be determined…