“He will say he jumped over several desks to talk to me, but I insist I went up and introduced myself to him. Although, we can’t agree on who made the first move, we both caught each other’s eye,” Alexis Trent reveals of the moment she first met Aaron White at a college event. The lovebirds dated long-distance for five years while Alexis was in graduate school, and Aaron knew he wanted to marry her. One week before Valentine’s Day, he asked Alexis for her hand in marriage. “[I] came back from the bathroom and Aaron got on one knee and proposed in the middle of the restaurant,” she muses of the special moment.

While still living on the East Coast to finish her dissertation, the bride relied on her family, her coordinator, and her future husband to help finalize the wedding details. The pair decided to conveniently tie the knot at a hotel in Long Beach, California. “Since Aaron’s family is not from California, it was important to be closer to the airport, lodging, and attractions,” she says. Over 170 guests watched Alexis proceed down the aisle in her one-of-a-kind gown. “My dress was a combination of three dresses that I pieced together and made my own,” she smiles. She met her sweetheart underneath a wooden structure adorned with a chandelier, lush blooms, and tropical palm leaves.

While palms reappeared in the reception décor, Alexis mainly wanted to showcase her elegant color palette. “The colors were burgundy, black, and blush with accents of gold. Those are just colors I like, and burgundy went well with the bridesmaids’ skin tones,” the bride recalls. Burgundy and blush florals offset the verdant leaves and even cascaded down the newlyweds’ scrumptious four-tier confection. “[It was] simple and modern with a touch of romance,” Alexis describes of the confection. In honor of Greek life traditions, Alexis’ sorority sisters performed the “Sweetheart Song” during the reception. After their unforgettable soirée came to a close, the newlyweds spent a few moments alone and contemplated this milestone in their lives. “[We] sat on a bench by the water and listened to the waves while talking about the wedding and life,” muses the bride.

Reflecting on her wedding, Alexis is extremely grateful for her coordinator. “Our wedding planner gave us great advice,” she confides. “She has seen it all and was really helpful.”