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Santa Barbara Wedding with an Understated Elegance

If I weren’t planning on eloping, the only place I’d consider getting married is Santa Barbara because every wedding there is absolutely beautiful. And after seeing this elegant day, the only vendors I’d hire would be this dream team: Whitney Darling PhotographyCurtis ColeTEAM Hair And MakeupJenny YooLa Tavola LinenAmbient Event Design and Belmond El Encanto. See all the pretty from this day in The Vault!

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Summer
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ChurchHotel
Styles
Classic

From The Bride…Our wedding day was an absolute dream come true. I grew up in Southern California and my husband in Chicago. We met in undergrad in colorful Colorado! Naturally, the first time I could drag him back home to the West Coast, I did. One of the first places I took him to was Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara has always had a very special place in my heart, having family there and loving the style and culture of the town. Patrick fell in love with Santa Barbara and we had fallen in love with each other. So of course, it was the only place we considered for our wedding!

My husband and I are both lovers of delicious local food, wine and craft beer. We also love the Pacific Ocean and its ability to bring us together, give us peace, and remind us how incredibly lucky we are to have such beautiful places at our fingertips. Knowing this, we knew we wanted our wedding reception to have incredible views and to feature exceptional local food and drinks. Patrick was researching places in Santa Barbara and stumbled across a wedding at the Belmond El Encanto, which happened to have been planned by Venus Event Design. It was like the perfect combination of venue and wedding planner smacked us in the face. We spoke with Hana from Venus Event Design and away we went!

From day one, Hana spent countless hours researching and vetting vendors, ultimately pulling together the most incredible team of people, all who seemed to share our love for Santa Barbara and for the understated elegance that we wanted on our wedding day. My husband and I are not extravagant people, but we do love attention to detail and we always appreciate quality when we see it. We wanted our wedding day to be a reflection of our personalities, and it could not have been more of exactly that.

Hana sourced incredible lace linens from La Tavola that were the perfect expression of romance and elegance, and truly laid the scene for a simple and thoughtful setting at every table. She also brought Cody Floral Design to us, who did an incredible job with soft, natural, and subtly colorful florals that were different at each table. The florals really brought together the colors of Santa Barbara, the El Encanto, and our wedding day all into one place. Some of our favorite details were the individually hand water colored escort cards, table numbers, and menus, all with the most romantic calligraphy. The combination of water color and dreamy calligraphy was a detail that popped at each and every setting. We tied in the fresh herbs that are found naturally all over Santa Barbara, like rosemary, lavender, and thyme, throughout the escort cards, menus, and table numbers. Not to mention our floral arrangements had fresh herbs incorporated into them as well!

The El Encanto really delivered when it came to food and beverages. We still have guests telling us that the food at our wedding was the best they’ve ever had! Quite the compliment when food was one of our deciding factors for our venue selection. The event staff at El Encanto also worked with us to select and order our favorite local wines and beers for our bar selections, so that our guests could truly enjoy all of the aspects we love about Santa Barbara in one weekend. Everything about our wedding day screamed local, fresh, Santa Barbara!

To top it all off, we had the most incredible photographer, Whitney Darling Photography, and videographer, Curtis Cole, who both captured the entire day and all of the perfect details that came with it. We wish we could relive our wedding day over and over again, and re-feel the love and excitement of our family and friends. It truly was the best day of our lives, and we feel so blessed and so fortunate to call it our wedding day.

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Photography: Whitney Darling Photography | Cinematography: Curtis Cole | Event Design: Venus Event Design | Floral Design: Cody Floral Design | Wedding Dress: Antonio Gual | Invitations: Carta Bella | Ceremony Venue: Our Lady Of Sorrows Church | Reception Venue: Belmond El Encanto | Bride's Shoes: Christian Louboutin | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jenny Yoo | Hair + Makeup: TEAM Hair And Makeup | Lighting: Ambient Event Design | Groom's Attire: Hugo Boss | Groomsmen Attire: The Black Tux | Transportation: Rockstar Transportation | Bride's Sash: Anne Barge | Bridesmaids Shortie Sets: Plum Pretty Sugar | Escort Cards: Perfect Fete Designs | Linen Rentals: La Tavola Linen | Menus + Table Numbers: Fanciful Designs | Robe: Flora Nikrooz | Veil: Renee Pawele | Vendor: The Bride's Aunt & Grandmother

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

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Colorful Spring Multicultural Wedding

One of the things I love most about weddings, beyond the obvious pretty, is the blending of tradition. In the words of the bride, “Even before we got engaged, we talked about having a wedding that was not only a celebration of us, but also of our community and our wonderful cultures coming together.”  A fusion of Mexican, Scottish and Indian influences, this day is rich in cultural beauty and The Vault is your spot to peruse Diana McGregors’s incredible captures.

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Spring
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Al Fresco

From The Bride…From the moment we saw the Santa Barbara Historical Museum, Raj and I knew we would get married there. We were both drawn to its serene courtyards and natural beauty and we loved the idea of getting married in Santa Barbara, a place our traveling friends and family could relax and enjoy for the whole weekend.

Even before we got engaged, we talked about having a wedding that was not only a celebration of us, but also of our community and our wonderful cultures coming together. Rajen is of Indian and Mexican descent and I was born and raised in Scotland, but moved to the states many years ago. We decided to bring in different elements from each culture and ended up with this really fun, colorful, musical day that was better than anything we could have hoped for!

Our fabulous photographer, Diana McGregor, captured it beautifully and we were constantly impressed with our DJ, Sukh Chugh, who kept the dance floor full throughout the night. In the end, it really came down to the people – watching our families come together in kilts and saris, dancing to bhangra music was amazing!

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Photography: Diana McGregor | Cinematography: David Chang Media | Coordination: Joy Proctor Design | Floral Design: Anna Le Pley Taylor | Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier | Engagement Ring: Ron Rizzo For Plevé | Rings: Banvari Jewelry | Catering: Pure Joy Catering | Hair + Makeup: TEAM Hair & Makeup | Lighting: Bella Vista | DJ: DJ Sukh | Groom's Attire: Hugo Boss | Officiant: Miriam Lindbeck | Venue: Santa Barbara Historical Museum | Bag Pipe: Bagpiper Bill | Bridal Boutique: Bridal Galleria | Bride's Earrings: Pleve | Groom's Sherwani: Sagar Exclusive | Henna: Henna Me Beautiful | Linen Rentals: La Tavola Linen | Photo Booth: The Awesome Booth | Photography - Assistance: Michelle Boyd Photography | Rentals: The Tent Merchant | Specialty Rentals: Botanica Events By Audrey Chaney | Vendor: The Bride's Aunt & Grandmother

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
Multicultural Santa Barbara Welcome Dinner

We’ve had a total girl crush on Jen Huang since the day she first submitted a wedding to SMP. It’s always a treat to feature her beautiful photography, so you can only imagine how insanely excited we were to get our hands on her own welcome dinner and wedding day. She pulled in a few talented industry friends like Jose VillaPoppies And Posies plus Borrowed Blu to be a part of the welcome celebration, but this is only the beginning. We’re got the entire wedding up NEXT.

Colors
Seasons
Summer
Settings
At Home
Styles
Al Fresco

From Jen & Elihu…We hosted our welcome dinner at our home in the Lower Riviera of Santa Barbara. We wanted to have our events at private homes because being surrounded by family and friends around us during our wedding week was a big priority and having our event at home gave us the freedom to create our own schedules and host our guests.

In many ways, the welcome dinner was about family – the celebration of the love we have for our family, along with the start of a new family – my and my husbands! We had just purchased our home that year and couldn’t think of a better way to “warm” it than to have all of our family eating a delicious meal together in our back garden. We also had our Chinese tea ceremony in our living room before the dinner. These places are now sacred to us and are filled with the most wonderful memories.

During our welcome dinner, we wanted our details to feel like they came from our home. The bench was an antique we found in Santa Barbara – it was broken but my husband fixed it, and it now resides in our foyer. It was the perfect seat for two, and since it wasn’t a rental, we can sit on it together whenever we want. The antique barware was also collected throughout our trips antiquing across the country and sits on our bar. Our house guests can still use the same bar ware that we had at our welcome dinner – I feel like our details tie our present day to the past and remains meaningful beyond that one time use!

We had a very “western” and “traditional” wedding so I incorporated a little more Chinese culture into our welcome dinner. We also had a selection of Irish whiskeys to bring in Elihu’s background. The lanterns are from China – and a symbol of celebration. We hung these in our living room where we had our tea ceremony. In China, the color of weddings and happiness is red, so we selected reds, pinks and brighter shades to convey that sense of joy.

The dress I wore was a traditional Qi Pao made of silk and custom ordered in China. My mother measured me in the U.S. and sent the measurements to my aunt in China who then had it commissioned. There are lots of different Qi Pao designs now, and many brides who wear a design in white, but I wanted mine to be as traditional as possible – bright red with hand embroidered flowers.

For the food, we love tapas and family style dinners so we went in that direction – charcuterie, bacon wrapped chorizo, jicama chicken etc. Guests were also welcomed with Sangria when they entered. We wanted everyone to feel full so we had Duo create a huge tasting menu in a family style.

I had wanted to hand write all of our invitations and paper goods because I felt even if it wasn’t the most professional calligraphy, it was still heartfelt and special. I think hand written notes are so important (and so rare now-a-days) but they serve such a wonderful purpose – letting your recipient know they are loved and that you spent time on your words. For our menus, I knew that we would need boards for our charcuterie so I wanted to utilize the board as a way to introduce the menu as well. I wrote the menu myself and had it laser engraved into the sides of raw wooden boards. Then, during one of my foraging trips with my husband, when we were looking for old windows for our house renovations, I found knife and fork drawer pulls which we then attached to the boards so that they could have handles.

I also hand wrote the little envelopes which doubled as place cards, I watercolored fruits on them, to match the fruits scattered around our tables, and inside were cards with little fun and funny facts about myself and Elihu. That way, our respective families could open their envelopes, learn a little bit about us and share their cards around the table.

We had a tea ceremony prior to the welcome dinner with just our immediate family. Traditionally at a tea ceremony, you kneel and present your elders with tea and they will give you gifts for your wedding. We knelt in front our parents, served them tea and also thanked them for their sacrifices throughout the years – as you can imagine, it was a very tearful, but happy occasion.

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Photography: Jose Villa | Event Planning, Design + Floral: Poppies And Posies | Location: At Home | Tabletop Rentals: Borrowed Blu | Vendor: The Bride's Aunt & Grandmother

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