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.
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