This is hands down the best interpretation of a Halloween wedding I have ever seen. Gorgeous Fall hues, elements of bohemian textures and metals, potted succulents and tiny touches of spook in all the right places. It’s subtle but spectacular and a wedding that has totally and completely changed my mind about Halloween. Just goes to show that even the most goolish themes can be absolutely, positively drop dead gorgeous. With images by Amy & Stuart Photography, we are madly in love. Click here to see even more.
Anthony and I met at his sister (and my friend) Abra’s wedding in Chicago. Anthony proposed to me during a hike with our dog Nico at Tangerine Falls in Montecito, CA. We spent an enchanted engagement weekend in the Santa Barbara area and ultimately decided to hold our wedding there eight months later.
We held our ceremony in the outdoor courtyard of the Santa Barbara Historical Museum. Because our reception fell on Halloween night, we wanted to hold a fun but tasteful party, so we decided to host it at the Biltmore Hotel and to transport our guests via antique-style trolleys. We were inspired by an abandoned mansion look, and offered a handmade-candy treat table, a tarot card reader, holiday crafts and activities in the childcare room, an energetic dance floor, and finally staged a send-off to the beach through the salute of our guests’ sparklers.
We wanted an unfussy, elegant but natural wedding and worked with our florist/designer Holly Flora and wedding coordinator Beth Helmstetter to use muted hues with occasional pops of color. We played with bringing the indoors out and the outdoors in, included antique, Halloween-appropriate details, and made environmentally friendly choices wherever possible. Holly scattered fresh rosemary along the ceremony aisle, the scent of which added to the sense of wonder. We emphasized potted plants and low-water succulents and, after the event, donated the truckload of plants to the Master Gardener youth gardening program in LA. For my bridal entrance with my father, he and I drove up in a borrowed vintage car-—a 1960’s Karmann Ghia—as it was the sportscar my father had given up when my brother David and I came along.
Our architect/artist friend Josh Birdsall hand-painted a series of interchangeable wooden signs that we used to announce events and wrangle guests (e.g. “Trolley Departing”, “First Dance”). Meanwhile our illustrator friend Brian Jones provided Halloween-inspired hand-drawn icons for our dinner tables (in lieu of table numbers). My father, writer and professor Elio Zappulla, composed a heartfelt poem for Anthony and me which he read aloud as part of his wedding toast. My mother Lynette Zappulla designed and hand made my bridal sash as well as her own satin stole. Jeremy Williams, Anthony’s brother-in-law, prepared a slideshow of our childhoods. And our farewell brunch featured live bluegrass musical accompaniment from my childhood friend Chris and his Santa Barbara-based group the Chris Cairns Band.
Our invitations were printed on renewable, cotton-based stationery. I built a custom, highly detailed wedding website to cut down on paper correspondence, and we provided welcome bags in reusable shopping totes. Our wedding favors were hand-painted mismatched Mexican tiles that we hand-stamped with our names and the wedding date and to which we affixed felt bottoms to make them usable as coasters. Our save-the-dates were also reusable: we designed post-it notepads with our names and the wedding details printed on every page.
In addition to the wedding we co-hosted with my parents, Anthony’s mother Abra and stepfather Jim welcomed guests to the weekend with a raucous costume party on Friday night with a Día de los Muertos feel at the El Paseo restaurant in Santa Barbara. Anthony organized a go karting expedition and tennis games for friends and groomsmen. On Sunday, we capped off the wedding weekend with a seaside bluegrass brunch hosted by Anthony’s father and stepmother Jon and Pamela.
Photography: Amy & Stuart Photography / Flowers: Holly Flora / Event Planning: Beth Helmstetter Events / Ceremony Location: Santa Barbara Historical Museum / Reception Location: The Biltmore Santa Barbara Four Seasons Hotel / Invitations: Oblation Papers / Dress: Monique Lhuillier / Officiant: Aaron McEmrys, Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara / Ceremony Musicians: Classics IV String Quartet / Cocktail Musicians: Triorganico / Reception Musicians: Entourage, DeBois Entertainment / Brunch Musicians: The Chris Cairns Band, Friend of the Bride / Wooden Signage: Joshua Birdsall, Friend of Bride & Groom / Table Icon Illustrations: Brian Jones, Friend of Bride & Groom / Calligrapher: Laura Hooper / Bride’s Gown: Monique Lhuillier / Bride’s Sash: Lynette Zappulla, Mother of the Bride / Bridesmaids’ Hats: Louise Green Millinery / Trolleys: The Santa Barbara Trolley / Videography: Edmund Griffin and Jake Elsas, Friends of Bride & Groom / Childcare: The Little Guest / Nonprofit Gift Registry: The I Do Foundation, benefitting Camp of Dreams of Chicago, IL / Film Work: Richard Photo