Wedding Inspiration: College lovebirds share a travel-themed bash in the Sierra

The meeting of Cal students Alexandra Johnson and Joel Guerra played out like some ridiculous rom-com: at a frat party, with a beer in the face.

When the Red Hot Chili Peppers cancelled their Berkeley show, Johnson found herself suddenly without plans. She went to a masquerade party on frat row, but the electricity blew and the place cleared out. Then she followed a sorority sister (who would later become a bridesmaid) to yet another party. That's where the fateful moment occurred.

"About 10 seconds into the introduction, a freshman slipped right in the foyer, spilling an entire pitcher of beer on my face," she remembers.

Guerra rushed upstairs to get her a towel; she made a scene and stormed out. When she got back to her apartment, she texted him to apologize. "Two minutes later, he texted me back asking if I'd like to go get ice cream the next day."

And then they fell in love. End scene.

The couple continued on to law school together, and then to a four-month backpacking trip through Europe. And then, two and a half months into the trip, on their last night in Paris, it happened at the Eiffel Tower, during the midnight light show.

"Joel said we should take a photo and he set the camera down on a self-timer. I didn't know he had set it to take 15 photos in a row with the flash on. After the first couple photos, he knelt down and proposed right there in front of the Eiffel Tower, with no one else in sight."

The couple's wedding, at Chalet View Lodge just outside Plumas National Park in the Sierra, evoked their love of travel—compasses, given as party favors, directed guests to their destination tables (Rio, Dublin, and so on)—as well as Johnson's Japanese heritage.

"My mother, brother, and I were born in Japan," she says, "and according to Japanese tradition, anyone who folds 1,000 origami cranes will be granted a wish by the gods." And so the mother of the bride folded the cranes to wish the couple a happy marriage. "We displayed the cranes at the ceremony and reception."

The mountain wedding weekend was carried out under the trees and stars—a beautiful blend of rustic and romantic with lots of peonies.



Venue: Chalet View Lodge

Dress: Badgley Mischka

Shoes: Badgley Mischka

Makeup: Edin Carpenter

Invitations: The Stylish Scribe

Caterer: Great Thyme Catering

Event designer: Quality Event Design

Photography: Clane Gessel Photography

Video: Ben Ridpath Films