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Happy Holidays + An Intimate Christmas Wedding!

We hope you’re cozied up on this Christmas morning, surrounded by the ones you love most. But in between the present frenzy and feasts ahead, we’re sitting down to share a holiday wedding worth celebrating. It’s a day planned in just 12 weeks (you read right!), and Josh Elliott captured this festive beauty to perfection. From all of us at SMP, wishing you a day of love, joy and bottomless cups of cocoa.

Colors
Seasons
Winter
Settings
Ranch
Styles
Rustic

From The Groom…My favorite moment of our wedding was our first look and seeing Katie for the first time. After everything she had been through the previous 6 weeks leading up the wedding, all I wanted was for her to feel beautiful and special like any girl would on her wedding day. When I turned around and saw her for the first time, I could not believe how beautiful she looked. To see her glowing like she was and how beautiful she looked exceeded all of my expectations and anything that I could have dreamt of. Knowing everything that she had been through to get to that point made it that much more special and beyond compare.

From The Bride…I have 2 favorite moments! My first favorite moment was the first dance with my husband. The love in the room from our immediate family and close friends was palpable as we slowly danced our first dance together to Brad Paisley’s “Then”. I could barely dance and slowly stepped back and forth as Stephen held me, but it was truly one of the happiest moments that I will never forget. The next moment I will never forget is getting ready for my wedding day with my 3 younger sisters/bridesmaids. I purchased Equipment silk pajama sets for us all to wear as we relaxed and got ready for the wedding day. As my sisters helped button up my wedding dress, I realized that this was one of the most special moments that I will always remember. I can’t imagine this day without each one of them by my side.

Vintage silver chargers were used under each setting to add a festive touch to the tables. On top of each napkin were homemade menus that my mother printed and glued to thick dark green cardstock. We finished off each menu with a gold F initial wax seal. I loved this touch beautiful rustic touch. Truffle boxes tied with a white satin ribbon and small pinecones held the place cards for each guest. These were also printed and glued onto dark green cardstock to match the Christmas greenery from the centerpieces.

After small hors d’oeuvre were passed during cocktail hour, we dined on San Ysidro Ranch’s fabulous cuisine of seven spiced dusted Ahi Tuna for the appetizer course, spinach salad with dried cranberries, hearts of palm, almond and a sherry vinaigrette for the salad course, and an entrée choice between a parmesan crusted halibut with a sweet pea risotto, sautéed wild mushrooms or a pan seared prime filet of beef with yukon gold potatoes and pear onion hash with a cabernet reduction, perfect for a winter evening dinner.

Stephen and I met on St. Patrick’s Day many years ago and have been together ever since! We got engaged on August 29, 2013, after dating for 3 and a half years, the night before our big trip to Europe. While traveling through Europe (newly engaged!), we decided that we really wanted to get married in December and have a small winter themed wedding. My parents got married in December and ever since I was a little girl I had always wanted to follow in their footsteps with a seasonal winter wedding. After returning home from Europe my mother had mentioned San Ysidro Ranch to me and after seeing the pictures online, I instantly fell in love. I normally gravitate towards a “California-rustic vibe” anyways, so I couldn’t wait to see this venue. After visiting San Ysidro with Stephen and my family, we were in love with how truly stunning and breathtaking the San Ysidro grounds were. The gardens of lavender, magenta bougainvillea, vibrant orange trees, and quaint wooden cottages created the most perfect picturesque scenery. We instantly knew this would be the place where we were to get married and start our lives together. San Ysidro felt peaceful, cozy and relaxed; three adjectives that we wanted our dream wedding day to be. After choosing December 14, 2013 (yes, 3 months after getting engaged!) we got straight to planning. We couldn’t wait to be married over the holiday season with our family and closest friends.

Two months before the wedding, in the midst of quickly planning, I had a tragic accident with a personal trainer that resulted in spinal surgery 6 weeks before the wedding. After the surgery, I was hardly able to walk and needed assistance from my walker, fiancé and father for two weeks post-op. How would I be able to walk down the aisle in 4 weeks? Would the wedding still go on? How would Stephen and I do our first dance? I was determined to walk down the aisle with my father to my future husband, but knew the next 4 weeks would be a long, rough road. Stephen stood by my side proving to be my true soul mate, always positive and attentive with me through this incredibly difficult recovery. I was bedridden for the rest of the planning process, but luckily, my sweet mother stepped in and finished up all the planning, down to the smallest detail. Even though not fully recovered, I made it up to Montecito and had to lie down every hour throughout my wedding day and wedding weekend to rest my back.

Stephen and I proceeded to get married in front of 80 of our immediate family and closest friends on December 14, 2013 on the beautiful lawns of San Ysidro Ranch. Our reception followed at San Ysidro’s Restaurant, The Stonehouse. It was truly a magical day, filled with emotion, love, and holiday spirit. Our bridal party and groomsmen/ groomswoman consisted of my 3 younger sisters on the bride’s side and Stephen’s 3 older siblings on his side. We really loved using both of our siblings as our bridal party; it added that intimate sense of family and love to our ceremony. The bridal party walked down the aisle to a Spanish guitarist playing the “First Noel” and flawlessly transitioned into “Canon in D” as I carefully and tearfully walked down the aisle, thinking about how challenging these last few weeks have been, but yet how happy that I was to be here in this moment about to marry Stephen.

The warming of the fireplace in the Stonehouse restaurant on a chilly winter night added to the charm and holiday spirit throughout the night. All of our centerpiece flowers, bouquets and boutonnieres were made of an array of white flowers, accents of pine, and various other Christmas greenery; all sticking to my “simple winter white” wedding theme. All of the flowers were put into different sized vases down the center of each rectangular table. Some of the vases were covered in wood bark and some of the vases were sprayed with gold to give that mercury glass look. The mixture of the vases with mercury glass candles gave for a sparkling and festive evening.

In lieu of cake, we decided to take advantage of the beautiful charm of San Ysidro and enjoy their classic Meyer Lemon tart for dessert. Stephen and I aren’t much into cake, so the lemon tart was a perfect dessert for us. The bittersweet taste of the lemon tart signified both the bitterness of my spinal injury and the sweetness of our beautiful wedding day.

Our welcome baskets were filled with homemade cranberry orange jam made by my mother, homemade pretzels dipped in chocolate and cookies made by my sisters, and placed in custom designed bags with our names on it. Small Pellegrino waters, a map of Santa Barbara and traditional candy canes also filled the rustic looking baskets. Homemade tags were printed and tied with a raffia bow to complete the touch. We loved welcoming our guests with a few homemade goodies and Christmas spirit as they arrived to celebrate our wedding.

Photography: Josh Elliott | Floral Design: Jill Behrle, The Happy Vase | Wedding Dress: Marisa From Panache, Costa Mesa, CA | Invitations: Robin Love Calligraphy | Ceremony Venue: San Ysidro Ranch | Reception Venue: Stonehouse At San Ysidro | Bride's Shoes: Valentino | Bridesmaids' Shoes: J.Crew | Bridesmaids' Dresses: BHLDN | Hair: Shine Blow Dry Bar, Montecito, Ca | Groom's Shoes: Allen Edmonds | Grooms Attire: Custom Made | Groom's Tie: Armani | Live Band: Soulville | Makeup: Dottie Palmer

These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here
From the pages of the
{ The latest from our most exclusive, hand-picked list of vendors }
Sun Valley Classic Winter Wedding

I’ve shared my love of winter weddings many times before, but when Patrick Moyer and Taylor’d Events sent along this snowy gem I remembered why they’ll forever be my favorite. Complete with mountain views, plaid accents and yummy mugs o’ cocoa, it’s a culmination of all things cozy and we’re only getting started. Get in the Christmas Eve spirit with much more right here!

Colors
Seasons
Winter
Settings
Club
Styles
Rustic

From The Bride…Chris and I both were born and raised in Santa Barbara, California. Our parents are lifelong friends and we’ve known each other almost our entire lives (I was 5 and Chris 10 when we met). Our paths went separate directions when we each left Santa Barbara for college and when we reconnected as adults (Chris then being the father of three beautiful children and having previously been married), I decided to move ‘home’ to be with them. But it was in Sun Valley that our love story really took a turn towards marriage. Chris’ family has long visited the area and had fallen in love with Ketchum in the late 1990s, so much so that they bought homes there and decided to split their time between Santa Barbara and Sun Valley. Chris and I and the kids began spending as much time as possible in Ketchum, and it was there we all fell in love. Chris and I were already” there” emotionally, but the kids were so much in their element on those trips, whether on the mountain during winter or on the river during summer, and we truly became a family on those visits.

So when Chris proposed to me on the Big Island of Hawaii in March of 2013, we knew that our wedding wouldn’t and couldn’t take place anywhere else but Ketchum, Idaho. It was truly a wonderful week and perfect day, and we loved that we had the opportunity to share our favorite place with all of our loved ones. We brought in about 105 guests and now each and everyone of them understands our love for the small, quaint mountain town that we love so very much. It’s been almost a year since, and now we as a family can’t wait to share this city (in December as we celebrate our anniversary) with our new little addition, our son Hayes Ketchum.

Photography: Patrick Moyer Photography | Wedding Planner: Taylor'd Events | Florist: Taylor'd Events | Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier | Invitations: Kathleen Cooper | Stationery: Taylor'd Events | Brides Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids' Dresses: BCBG Max Azria | Catering: The Valley Club | DJ: Nathan Hudson | Groom's Attire: Armani Collezioni 'Giorgio' Trim Fit Peak Lapel Tuxedo | Groomsmen's Attire: Hugo Boss | Venue: The Valley Club

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here
Nutcracker-Inspired Wedding Shoot

With Christmas morning just mere hours away, sharing a festive – and wildly gorgeous – bridal shoot only feels right. Chock-full of seasonal hues and dreamy details with a subtle nod to The Nutcracker, I can’t think of any better way to get in the holiday spirit. Cheeky Details brought the ballerina bride concept to life and Caroline Frost captured one pin-worthy moment after another. More right here!

Colors
Seasons
Winter
Settings
Mansion
Styles
Elegance

From the Planners of Cheeky DetailsWe were inspired to create a styled shoot that was visually stunning, but with a concept that has not been overdone or used all over the place. When we started thinking of words that encompassed what we wanted to portray, ballerinas danced through our heads and the idea of soft graceful beauty with muted colors & simple details were selected. We knew that we HAD to have an actual ballerina to throw in some amazing poses while holding a gorgeous bouquet with tons of soft, trailing silk that floated in the wind like a ribbon wand. We also knew that we wanted tulle to be incorporated in a subtle way to again take us back to the ballerina concept. The exterior of Chelsea Mansion was perfect. It could be used as a blank canvas, but it held a bit of drama and history to the shoot overall. We dressed up their old tennis court which was built in the 1800′s (and has not seen much action since) for our ceremony location with flowers and tulle.

The dresses that we chose from Kleinfeld Bridal seriously sealed the deal. We didn’t want typical ivory or white, but instead found not one, but TWO that fit our ideas perfectly. A soft grey Mark Zunino and a blush colored Lazaro fit the bill to a T.

We wanted our ballerina bride to exude gracefulness and innocence. We imagined her hair and makeup to be very soft, which is why we gave her bold eyes without using too much color, a pale lip and rosy cheeks. Hair was swept into a side braid using ribbon that matched her bouquet to finish the look.

As for our tablescape, we wanted to again showcase a dreamy and delicate look. We fused feminine details with whimsical charm and used many different textures/colors to set the perfect scene. Our Grey Acadia natural wood table was draped with a beautiful Sable colored, organza runner that emulated soft flower petals dancing down the table. Our chairs were adorned with side swept tulle that caught the wind at just the right times. We also used vintage place settings complete with gold flatware, blush stemware and mis-matched plates. Some where all white with embossed patterns and others had flowers that accented the rest of the dinner party. We tucked our napkins, which were woven linen trimmed with gathered sheer fabric and fringe, under the plates at different angles to showcase even more intricate simplicity. We also placed a wreath of greens around the bride and groom’s plates instead of the typical flowers/greens on their actual chairs that we do very often.

The flowers we used consisted of Garden Roses, Tea Roses, Blushing Bride Protea and Ranunculus all in very pale shades of Pink and Creams accented by a ton of greens including Jasmine Vine and feather Eucalyptus. For a dramatic effect, we also threw in two pops of a very deep fuchsia featured in our Peony and Cosmos! 

Photography: Caroline Frost Photography | Wedding Gown: Lazaro At Kleinfeld Bridal | Wedding Gown: Mark Zunino At Kleinfeld Bridal | Hair: Laura Burns | Cake And Desserts: Sweet Karma Desserts | Invitations, Caligraphy, Watercolors And Paper Goods: Graceline Art- Jenny Sanders | Makeup: Matthew Anthony | Planning, Floral Design & Concept: Cheeky Details | Table Runner/ Napkins: Couture Dreams | Tuxedo: Bonaventure Tuxedo | Vintage Rentals: Petunia Rose | Wedding Venue: Chelsea Mansion

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
Christmas Tree Farm Engagement Session

Having grown up in the Christmas tree capital of the world, this sweet Lauren Kinsey e-sesh literally speaks to my hometown roots. Alee Willis Creative was behind the scenes crafting up this Whispering Pines Christmas festive shoot. Complete with seasonal sweet kisses while picking their perfect tree, every image will have you wishing for a little mistletoe moment with your someone special.

From Lauren Kinsey Fine Art Wedding PhotographyThe first Christmas spent together, whether you are married or just engaged, is by far one of the sweetest holidays you will have. I decided to follow along as Saron and Neal chose their first Christmas tree together. This session was so sweet and I love the idea of incorporating some traditional or really meaningful activity into your session! Saron & Neal were married just this past April on Saron’s family farm in Mississippi.

Photography: Lauren Kinsey Fine Art Wedding Photography | Styling & Creative Direction: Alee Willis Creative | Venue: Whispering Pines Christmas

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here