Santa Barbara is home to some of the prettiest weddings on the planet, so it's no wonder these two college sweethearts chose it as the setting for their summertime "I do." They set out to create an intimate garden party with carefully placed pops of color, and brought on vendors like Jenna Blazevich, Seasons Catering, Cody Floral Design plus many more to bring it all to life.
From The Bride...Lucas and I were best friends before we were anything else, which is how any great romance should start! We met at Williams College in the Berkshires and moved to Los Angeles together after graduation, and then Chicago. He proposed in our living room in downtown Chicago by playing a video he had recorded for me set to Michael Buble's "Everything," with his entire proposal written out over 30 cue cards that he flipped through as I struggled to read through my tears! The final card said "turn around" and when I did, he was next to the couch on one knee with a gorgeous custom family heirloom ring.
Lucas' parents moved to Santa Barbara six years ago and it has become a magical getaway spot for us. Whenever we visit, we eat some of the best food and drink some of the best wine we've ever tasted while enjoying the gorgeous sunshine. When we got engaged in January 2014, we knew right away we wanted to create the same experience for our wedding and our guests. We set our wedding date for July 2014, just six months later! Since we were planning from afar in Chicago, his parents became invaluable in having initial meetings with local Santa Barbara vendors so that we and my parents in New Hampshire could narrow our list. We had so much fun traveling to Santa Barbara to taste Seasons' amazing food, see our vision for colorful and romantic peonies, dahlias, and garden roses brought to life by Laura from Cody Floral Design, meet our INCREDIBLY hard-working coordinators, Nitana and Tonya from Soigne Productions, and pick out chairs, china, and everything else at Classic Party Rentals. I had seen Lane Dittoe's work featured on Style Me Pretty many times and have always loved his soft, pretty, timeless style. I was elated we were able to work with him on the day and he really captured the unfiltered joy and love we felt!
Lucas and I wanted our wedding to be an intimate garden party where we could spend significant time with everyone in attendance, and we didn't want something that anyone else had done. That kept our guest count to 96 and our venue, which was the first decision we made, set the tone for the whole day. Family friends generously offered to let us have the wedding at their home in Montecito, which gave us complete control over everything we brought into the space and meant our end result was 100% one-of-a-kind. We loved how many different spaces we had to work with, from the giant oak tree we hung with dripping twinkle lights for our ceremony to the secret hedged-in flower garden where we served cocktails. Our vision was described by our vendors as casual elegance, which I thought was an oxymoron but is really so fitting!
Rather than pick a specific theme, we let the beautiful gardens and the natural colors of Santa Barbara be our guide, choosing a color palette of creamy blush, pops of coral, champagne, apricot, papaya and sage green. We also tied in rose gold in the decor and in my jewelry and shoes for sparkle. My dress was from Jenny Yoo in Chicago and was the second one I ever tried on; it was the only one that made my maid of honor Caroline tear up. Caroline and I also bought the same exact rose gold Seychelles sandals to wear without the other knowing it, so we knew we were on the same page! I wrapped a penny my mom gave me from the 1800s that her grandmother had given her around the stem of my bouquet as my "something old." My mother-in-law gave me her beautiful family heirloom diamond bracelet to wear as my "something borrowed." Lucas wore his beloved late grandfather's watch.
Once we settled on the floral Rifle Paper Co. paper used in many of the DIY projects, that helped us tie everything together. My DIY projects included my magnum opus, the escort card display, which I handmade by cutting out all the table numbers from our floral theme paper with an x-acto knife and adhering them to kraft paper tags. I did the calligraphy on the decor, while our envelopes were done by the talented Jenna Blazevich out of Chicago. I also made our reserved signs and other signage, lined all our envelopes with the floral motif paper using Paper Source's envelope liner kit (highly recommend!), hand-stamped our "wish cards," which we used in lieu of a guestbook, and made our decopauged M & L letters. Our favors were chocolates with a custom wrapper handmade by Twenty-Four Blackbirds Chocolate in Santa Barbara. We also tried not to choose decor just because we thought it was pretty, but rather select items with special meaning, which was reflected in pieces like the vintage test tube rack that displayed single garden roses on our sign-in table—a nod to Lucas' medical career.
We wrote our entire ceremony ourselves, including readings that reflected my background as an English Literature major and book editor and a song that Lucas' college a cappella group would sing at every concert. Our officiant, Andrew, is a mutual best friend and brought the crowd to tears with his funny, heartfelt, wonderfully-delivered ceremony. Seeing Lucas smile at me through his tears while speaking the words we had written together filled my heart to the brim. The other moment that will always make my heart swell was the surprise my groom had planned for me at the reception. An incredible singer, Lucas arranged with our amazing DJ, Tony of RedShoe LA, to serenade me at the wedding with "Everything," a nod to his proposal. I wasn't the only one crying! One of our irrational fears leading up to the reception was that no one would dance; Tony's playlist was so amazing that people jumped up to dance before they had finished their dinner!
I think one of the best decisions we made was electing to have an incredibly small wedding party. My best friend Caroline was my maid of honor, and Lucas' cousin Tai was his best man, while Tai's children, Ethan and Leyla, were our ringbearer and flower girl. It made the day so intimate and eliminated so much stress from the planning process. We would definitely advise anyone going through the planning process to throw any preconceived notions of "rules" you might have out the window and do what feels right for YOU. Also, take a few moments and eat the dinner you spent so long planning! We did! In fact, I ate our dessert - ice cream sandwiches with fresh-baked cookies - on the dance floor!
The best part of the day we never could have planned was the complete love and warmth that our friends and family members surrounded us with. We had two events leading up to the day, so it felt like everyone was old friends by the wedding and we can truly say we got to spend time with everyone who came. The family-style dinner from Seasons catering we served of fresh California produce, tri-tip, and sea bass was symbolic of the extended family we all became that night. Everyone says they wish we could all do it again annually! But even though the day is over, marriage has been the most amazing new start to our lives. We started this as best friends—which made our first dance song choice of "Lucky" by Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat an easy one!—and that's where we'll end up, too.
Venue: Private Residence | Coordination: Soigne Productions | Photography: Lane Dittoe | Catering: Seasons Catering | Florist: Cody Floral Design | Lighting and Draping: Bella Vista Designs | Hair and Makeup: Mishay Salon & Spa | DJ: RedShoe LA | Calligraphy: Jenna Blazevich | Favors: Twenty-Four Blackbirds Chocolate | Transportation: SB Airbus | Bridal Gown: Jenny Yoo | Groom’s Suit: J.Crew | Rentals: Classic Party Rentals | Invitations: Paper Source | Robes: Plum Pretty Sugar | Flower Girl Dress: Little Dreamers Tutus | Linens: La Tavola