This Couple Celebrated Their Destination Wedding on a Mountaintop in Malibu

bride and groom posing on cliff
Mariel Hannah Photography

Slavyana and Alex were together for eight years before Alex proposed, and when he did, he did so in style. "We were going on a family vacation in the Bahamas two days after Alex's birthday in November 2017," says Slavyana. "The proposal was like a dream: We came to the Versaille-inspired gardens at the Ocean Club during golden hour. While I was asked to take a picture of our parents, Alex got on his knee behind me. He couldn't have proposed in a better way—I've always wanted my parents to be present at this important moment in my life and he totally nailed it."

Selecting a venue for their wedding was effortless—both Alex and Slavyana had their hearts set on Malibu Rocky Oaks in Malibu, California. "Four years before our wedding, we vacationed in California, and while driving around Malibu, I noticed a beautiful vineyard perched up on the mountain," says Slavyana. "A couple of months later, I found it on Instagram, and I fell in love with the venue. The owner would post the most spectacular videos where the house was in the clouds every morning. Malibu Rocky Oaks was the only option. We didn't even have any backups in mind!"

Since the wedding took place on a mountaintop, Slavyana wanted it to feel as if it were being held in the clouds—airy and romantic. Shades of sky blue, hues of pink and blush, and touches of platinum and white gave a clean, modern feel to the event's décor, designed by the bride and Poppy Design Co.

Guests flew in from all over the globe to attend the fall destination celebration, a fact outlined beautifully by a floral installation shaped like a map of the world. "Having so many close relatives and friends gathered together at one place to celebrate our marriage was a special memory," says Slavyana.

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An Architectural Wedding Dress

bride standing in front of window with woman adjusting train of gown
Mariel Hannah Photography

The bride's goal was to keep her wedding dress unadorned. "The gown had a simple V-neck trumpet fit with architectural seaming, and a beautiful open back with a stunning bow and cathedral-length train," she describes.

There was, however, one dress-related problem on the big day: The garment arrived a day late, and none of the businesses in Malibu would agree to iron it. "My brave parents and their friends took the task upon themselves while trying to hide it from me," says Slavyana. "I came to my parents' hotel room and found the women ironing the dress and the men holding the train! It was hilarious, but almost made me have a heart attack."

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A Timeless Bouquet

bridal bouquet of lily of the valley and sweet pea
Mariel Hannah Photography

Slavyana's bouquet was composed of classic lily of the valley with ruffles of sweet pea at the edges.

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Stunning Rings

diamond wedding rings
Mariel Hannah Photography

The groom's family jeweler, Abraham Djebiyan, made all of the couple's rings, including the bride's diamond engagement ring and wedding band.

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Sky-Blue Bridesmaids

bride and bridal party holding white balloons
Mariel Hannah Photography

Slavyana's bridal party was outfitted in matching pale blue dresses that swept to the ground in elegant lines.

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Handsome Accessories

grooms accessories tom ford shoes and cuff links
Mariel Hannah Photography

The groom's finishing touches included shoes, a tie, and cuff links by Tom Ford, as well as a timepiece by Patek Philippe.

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A Sharp-Dressed Man

groom wearing tuxedo posing on balcony
Mariel Hannah Photography

Alex's immaculately tailored tuxedo reflected his enduring style.

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Dashing Suiting

groom posing with groomsmen wearing blue ties
Mariel Hannah Photography

The groomsmen donned blue Hugo Boss suits for the occasion, and accessorized with Hermes ties.

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A Stunning Ceremony Site

rose and dahlia floral arch and ceremony chairs overlooking mountains
Mariel Hannah Photography

Situated on the estate's helipad, the ceremony site featured a beautiful floral arch composed of roses, dahlias, and vines—and offered epic views of the surrounding mountains.

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A Lighthearted Service

bride and groom holding hands beneath floral ceremony arch
Mariel Hannah Photography

The couple wrote and exchanged their own vows in a brief ceremony that included plenty of laughter. "To keep the guests entertained, we shared some funny memories about our past," says Slavyana. "For example, after not seeing Alex for a couple of years and deciding to meet up in college, I closed the car door when Alex pulled up by my house to pick me up, apologizing for mistaking him for someone else."

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Their Names in Lights

neon sign displaying bride and grooms names
Mariel Hannah Photography

A neon sign displayed the couple's names against a glass backdrop framed in foliage—the display marked the duo's card table.

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chinoiserie mural seating chart
Mariel Hannah Photography

Inspired by chinoiserie murals, a beautifully detailed seating chart directed guests to their tables.

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A Map of the World

world map comprised of flower petals and roses
Mariel Hannah Photography

On a floral wall designed to reflect a map of the world, pink roses indicated the distances attendees had traveled to get to the wedding. "We wanted to point out where our guests were flying in from and our different backgrounds," says Slavyana. "The end result was a total hit."

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A Striking Head Table

overhead floral installation above main reception table
Mariel Hannah Photography

Lucite chairs with white cushions were set around the main reception table, which featured creamy linens, a silky green runner, and candles. A floral installation overhead included crystal spheres strung at varying heights.

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Classic Florals

white table settings with pink floral centerpieces
Mariel Hannah Photography

Florals in shades of pink and blush brightened the white-on-white look of the head table.

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Riveting Rounds

round reception tables adorned with pink floral centerpieces overlooking mountains
Mariel Hannah Photography

Round tables with compact centerpieces offered the rest of the guests beautiful mountain views.

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Korean Symbolism

sweetheart table with two wood carved ducks
Mariel Hannah Photography

The couple's sweetheart table featured a pair of carved wooden ducks, which are used in Korean wedding ceremonies to represent the bride and groom. "The ducks symbolize peace, faithfulness, and plentiful offspring," explains Slavyana.

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A Soulful First Dance

bride and groom sharing first dance
Mariel Hannah Photography

"Lovely Day" by Bill Withers served as the couple's first dance song. "I heard the remix first and we used it in our engagement announcement video," Slavyana recalls. "When it came time to start the dance rehearsals, I asked Alex if he liked the original version, and he immediately approved it as our first dance song!"

  • When Should Your First Dance Take Place?
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A Thoroughly Modern Cake

bride and groom cutting floral wedding cake
Mariel Hannah Photography

The couple's contemporary wedding cake by Colin O'Dea Cakes was a mixture of different design styles. "It consisted of four tiers that were different in height," Slavyana describes. "The fondant covering the cake was made to look like a coral reef with a mid-century wave pattern on the bottom two tiers. A floral cascade of peonies, garden roses, and California poppies went down the top tier."

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bride and groom holding white balloons
Mariel Hannah Photography

Photography, Mariel Hannah Photography
Venue, Malibu Rocky Oaks
Event Planning, Berlanti Azhak for The Elegant Ninja
Event Design, Neon Sign, and Flowers, Poppy Design Co.
Invitations, Ruth Jahja-Daro for Seniman Calligraphy (design); Czar Press (printing)
Menus and Table Numbers, Color Images
Officiant, Eric Schwartz
Bride's Gowns, Sareh Nouri (ceremony dress and veil);X by NBD (reception dress)
Bride's Accessories, Van Cleef & Arpels (bracelets); Sophia Webster (shoes)
Hair, Inessa Kapchits
Makeup, Barri King and Kenneth Montiel of Charlotte Tilbury
Bridesmaids' dresses, LPA
Groom's Attire, Tom Ford (suit and cuff links)
Groom's Watch, Patek Philippe
Groomsmen's Attire, Hermes; Hugo Boss
Engagement Ring and Wedding Bands, Abraham Djebiyan
Guest Book, David Tutera
Music, VOX DJs
Catering, Urban Palate
Cake, Colin O'Dea Cakes
Rentals, The Ark Rentals; Premiere Party Rents (rentals and lighting); Theoni Collection
Favors, Malibu Rocky Oaks Candles
Transportation, Riz Transportation

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