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Santa Barbara Backyard Garden Wedding

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 BlazevichSeasons CateringCody Floral Design plus many more to bring it all to life. More wedding eye candy from Lane Dittoe sitting in the gallery right here.

Colors
Seasons
Summer
Settings
Al Fresco
Styles
Elegant

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.

Photography: Lane Dittoe | Coordination: Soigne Productions | Floral Design: Cody Floral Design | Wedding Dress: Jenny Yoo | Catering: Seasons Catering | Hair & Makeup: Mishay Salon & Spa | Calligraphy: Jenna Blazevich | Lighting: Bella Vista Designs | DJ: RedShoe | Favors: Twenty-Four Blackbirds Chocolate | Groom's Suit: J.Crew | Best Man's Suit: J.Crew | Copper Table Numbers: Etsy | Flower Girl Dress: Little Dreamers Tutus | Invitations & Paper: Paper Source | Linens: La Tavola | Maid Of Honor's Dress: J.Crew | Menus: Etsy | Rentals: Classic Party Rentals | Robes: Plum Pretty Sugar | Transportation: SB Airbus | Venue: Private Residence

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
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These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
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Romantic Meets Rustic Backyard Wedding

If you’re wondering just how much I love backyard weddings, you should know that this past weekend, I curled up with a cozy blanket and watched Father of the Bride… twice.  So this sweet romantic meets rustic party held in the bride’s parents’ backyard?  It’s awesome.  Imagine the sweet stylings of Francine Ribeau Events meets gorgeous imagery from Vis Photography.  See them all right here.

Colors
Seasons
Summer
Styles
Rustic

From the Bride… A dream wedding begins long before vows are exchanged, tables are set, and dance floors are crowded with family and friends. The real planning and preparation for our wedding began more than a year prior to the ceremony date, just after our engagement, and coinciding with the news that my husband would be leaving for months on a Marine Corps deployment. The orchestration of a perfect evening truly takes a village, and between countless meetings with family, our extraordinary wedding planner, Francine Ribeau, and late night phone calls between a bride and groom half a world apart, our vision began to take shape.

We agreed that our wedding should reflect our relaxed vibe and feature a classic, rustic aesthetic, and we needed a location that would make our guests feel at home. After a short time searching beach fronts, craftsman resorts, and hillside vineyards, we discovered a perfect location that would allow us full control over the décor and a true sense of “home”; my parents’ beautiful Rancho Santa Fe backyard! We, along with our massive wedding plans, were welcomed with open arms by my mom, whose attention to detail would prove priceless in our efforts to craft our perfect night.

It was very important for us to hold an inviting and warm wedding that would bring family and friends close together after our difficult and trying months apart. Ultimately, we chose to value contentment and ease over formality. To build on our welcoming atmosphere, we chose a soft color palette that featured mint, blush, gold, and champagne tones. Beautiful floral arrangements from Ashley Elizabeth Floral Designs mirrored our color scheme and softened staged vignettes with turn-of-the-century iron pieces and charming wooden signs directing guests between wedding events. The final product was coordinated flawlessly by Francine Ribeau and Danielle Ehrlich, and their vendor recommendations, specifically Vis Photography and Coast Catering, proved beyond any doubt that they were the best acts in town.

As our wedding guests poured into the back yard in the early evening, it was clear our team had hit the nail on the head with every design and detail throughout the space. Our families and our wildly different groups of friends all mingled and laughed over trademark cocktails and took turns making fools of themselves in our private photo booth, all while being entertained by the talented Michael Tiernan, a solo act acoustic guitarist (and DJ too!). Our short, but sweet ceremony featured hand-writtten vows, a few funny blunders, and a live acoustic set… all in keeping with our “comforts of home” theme. As the light began to fade, we shared our first dance to Adam Sandler’s classic (and hilarious) Wedding Singer theme. As the light faded, lanterns hung from branches and bulbs strung between trees above the yard lit the way for the remainder of the party, which bounced from dance floor to pool and back again. The last guests and the bride and groom begrudgingly left in the early morning hours, wanting to hold onto every possible second before admitting the night was over.

Family and friends have continued to share the joy and fun they enjoyed that night with us, and we couldn’t be more delighted with the first of our many days together as a married couple!

Photography: Vis Photography | Floral Design: Ashley Elizabeth Floral Design And Styling | Wedding Dress: Junko Yoshioka | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Kennedy Blue | Catering: Coast Catering | Hair And Make Up: Beauty And The Beach | Desserts: Elizabethan Desserts | Event Designer And Planner: Francine Ribeau Events | Farm Tables: Farm Tables And More | Music: Still Listening Productions | Officient: A Wedding Celebration By Patricia Coleman | Photo Booth: Mobile Photo Booth | Rentals: Classic Party Rentals - San Diego | Valet: Seaside Parking | Venue : Private Residence

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
Gold Gilded Goddess Wedding Inspiration

I have a major weakness when it comes to two things – one being gold, and two being the beach. So when Honey Honey Photography captured the combined results of my absolute favorite things in the whole wide world, I am one radiating Bride-to-be. Filled with The English Garden blooms and one perfectly gilded Elaya Vaughn gown, this gorgeous gallery is the perfect place to be. More here!

From Honey Honey Photography… For the naturally undone bride with an air of magic and mysticism. A quiet beauty; bare footed, free, yet with an other worldly elegance. Inspired by royalty, jewel tones and an untamed overcast Malibu beach setting. A breath-taking backdrop overlooking the soft waves and rocky shores – with light peeking through stormy hued clouds. A bouquet with overgrown and wild foliage paired with deep hues to match her jewel tone lips. Her dress dipped in gold, and lace caressing her shoulders and down to her fingertips, complementing the neutral hues of sand and water. Married beautifully with Found Rentals antique velvet chair, tray and antique gold saxophone, a symphony of Edwardian charms. Sweet and delightful Bottega Louie mini cakes laced with jewel toned fruits, chocolate mouse tarts with gold foiled hazelnuts. Hair in a sophisticated and romantic up-do. Delicate gold flecked butterfly details sewn to the train following the gilded goddess inspired bride.

Photography: Honey Honey Photography | Flowers: The English Garden | Wedding Dress: Elaya Vaughn | Cakes: Bottega Louie | Hair And Makeup: Jess Wilcox | Beach: Malibu | Bridesmaid Dress: Alexandra Grecco | Model: Laura Of Q Models LA | Styling Props: Found Rentals | Stylist: Sierra Ramke Of The Babushka Ballerina

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