Alexis and Cody both grew up in Galt and even attended the same high school. “We were in different groups and actually didn’t meet until the beginning of my senior year,” notes Alexis. When they did finally meet in person and he asked her out on the date, she knew she met someone who “could potentially be ‘the one.’”

Off to college in Santa Barbara, Alexis was determined to make a long distance relationship work. “We were at one point eight hours apart, and the longest we went without seeing each other was eight weeks,” she says. “It was extremely hard the first year, but we learned that if the relationship was going to work there needed to be trust and respect.” After graduating, the couple bought a house together in their hometown and Cody proposed right beneath the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge.

“After he proposed, I immediately started planning—I was so excited,” the bride shares. “I think it’s truly every girl’s dream to plan her wedding.” Both have an amazing circle of family and friends, and the couple involved their loved ones on almost all decisions. “I would draw my visions for certain tables or areas of the venue, and my mom and grandma helped me bring it to life,” she adds. “I was told in a jokingly manner that I was crazy with how much effort I was putting into things, but in the end it was worth every minute, because I truly had my dream wedding.”

Having attended a friend’s wedding at Forest House Lodge, the pair couldn’t shake the idea of getting married there too. “Not only was Forest House Lodge fun, but the ceremony site is absolutely breathtaking,” says Alexis, “..It’s surrounded by trees with a breathtaking view of the Sierra [and] was perfect for Cody and me.”

The venue offered a huge bridal suite downstairs for all of the bridesmaids and flower girls to gather and start getting ready. The guys had a man cave with pool tables, movies and games all to themselves to enjoy.

Remembers Alexis, “When we walked up the stairs to leave for the ceremony, the venue coordinator let me see everything in the reception [area] so I could remember it before people came in. I was speechless; everything came together exactly how I envisioned.”

Cody, both dads, and the groomsmen built the ceremonial wedding arch from wood that had been cut down on Alexis’s great grandparents’ property. “Cody also made the wooden cross and altar on site,” says the bride. “It was extremely special to me that Cody and our dads built the arch together. It was draped in fabric and flowers.” As Cody’s field of work is with wine grapes, they also chose wine barrels with flower arrangements on them. “I would say our wedding was themed ‘rustic elegance,’” says Alexis.

At the reception, the lodge was lined with hundreds of crazy hats, so each member of the bridal party wore one when getting introduced to the crowd. “The dinner was fabulous, and the speeches were unforgettable,” recalls Alexis. “We also had a slideshow for our guests to watch of us growing up, which brought some laughs and tears. The whole night was full of love and laughter. We stayed up until 3 a.m. and then woke up and had breakfast with our bridal party and close family.”

—Darren Elms