Go Wild Over This Santa Barbara Wedding
Complete with a special, tiny guest (hint: he's wearing black and white!) and simple, dried lavender bouquets, this Santa Barbara Zoo wedding is a must see.
How cute is this Santa Barbara wedding with Jake and Necia Photography behind the lens? Inspired by their venue, the couple kept the overall wedding day look natural, from the bride's glowing makeup and romantic updo by TEAM Hair and Makeup to the simple, fragrant dried lavender bouquets carried by the bridal party. Complete with a special, tiny guest (hint: he's wearing black and white!) and footage by Mark Laing Cinematography, this zoo wedding is a must see.
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From the Bride... My husband and I met at NYU Law School, but some of our favorite memories have been our time together when we visited my home-state of California. My main request for the wedding was that it take place in CA, and we decided on Santa Barbara due to the beautiful Spanish-style architecture prevalent there. (The great weather helped too!) My husband chose the church, Unitarian Church of Santa Barbara, so I choose the reception venue. I really liked the idea of our reception venue offering our guests things to do while they wait for things to get going! When I found out that the Santa Barbara Zoological Gardens held events and weddings where a penguin could come to the reception, I was sold. Penguins are my favorite animal, and they are always dressed for a classy event! However, at the time that we booked the venue, they had put a pause on the penguin encounters. This didn't keep us from booking, because we loved the space, I wanted to take advantage of the amazing weather in California, and we had already begun building our wedding with a zoo theme in mind. Then, about two weeks before the big day, we learned that they had brought the penguin encounters back, and I couldn't have been happier! The penguin coming to our reception is, by far, my favorite moment of the wedding (other than marrying my best friend, of course!).

My favorite detail of my wedding were the bouquets. I knew that I wanted the bouquets to be low-key (and water conscious, given the CA drought at the time), so we decided DIY bouquets, boutonnieres, and centerpieces using succulents and dried flowers would be the best option for us. To be fair, DIY is not quite the best way to describe the bouquets or center pieces, because my older sister, Isa Beltran, essentially did all of the work putting them together. So it was more DIS (do it sister). My sister has always been the creative one –she's a photographer in Riverside, CA – and her talents came through! The bouquets turned out especially amazing, and they smelled wonderfully, too. They were made up of dried lavender, baby's breath, eucalyptus, and misty blue limonium. The bouquets looked and smelled amazing the entire day.

Dusty lavender/mauve was our main color (and flower), and we included silver as our secondary color with a few accents of gold. We also sprinkled some chevron pattern throughout (for my husband's love of mid-century modern design). Lavender flowers were incorporated throughout the wedding. We also wanted to incorporate the zoo reception venue into our theme, without having it overwhelm it. So we included things like the animal magnet place card holders, animal table designations, a churro cart, and popcorn goody bags.

I actually have SMP to thank for my wedding dress! As I began my search, I had very little idea about what I wanted my future wedding dress to look like and had seen images of hundreds of dresses before I came across the image of my dress on a SMP article previewing the Hayley Paige's upcoming line of dresses. It was stunning! I hadn't seen anything like it, and it was the only dress, before and since, that gave me butterflies in my stomach. It was simple, yet elegant, with unique features that made it stand out, but it wasn't so bold as to take all of the focus of the day. I spent a lot of time tracking down the dress. Since the SMP article was a sneak peek of an upcoming trunk show for a new collection, there wasn't much information out there about the dress. I learned that there was going to be a trunk show at a store near me, in Long Island, so I booked an appointment. Unfortunately, I was told a few days prior to my appointment that the dress would not be there. I searched again and learned that the dress would be at the JLM flagship boutique a couple of months later in CA. I re-arranged a trip we were already planning out to CA and booked an appointment with the JLM Couture Flagship Salon in West Hollywood. I tried it on, loved the way it fit my shape, and was sold. Literally!

We got a lot of compliments on our desserts, especially our cake and cupcakes from Crushcakes. They tasted amazing and were so very affordable. My best piece of advice for future brides is to get a wedding planner/coordinator! Even if your budget is tight, try to squeeze in a wedding coordinator for at least the day of. We chose to have "month of" wedding planner, Jessica Kuipers, and I can't imagine having done all of this without her. Planning our wedding from across the country created some unique difficulties, and Jessica was able to address those easily. She made sure that we had considered all of the wedding day details, coordinated with all of our service providers, and had a great online tool that we used for things like coordinating the day of timeline, arranging the seating chart, and ensuring that we sent our thank you cards out to everyone. On the big day, we didn't have to worry about a thing – Jessica even provided us with pins for the boutonnieres when we forgot them!