With all the wedding dress options out there, I’m always drawn to that timeless combination of classic + modern, which may explain why I’m head over heels with the Fall 2015 Tara Keely + Blush by Hayley Paige collections. And lucky for you Southern California brides, they’ll be featured at the JLM Couture trunk show July 10-12, 2015! Mark your calendars m’dears!!
Held at the JLM Couture West Hollywood Flagship location, this is a trunk show you won’t want to miss. Known for their gorgeous silhouettes, amazing detailing and luxe fabrics, the dresses in the Blush by Hayley Paige + Tara Keely collections are as lovely as can be. All dresses featured are not only stunning but affordable (We’re talking under $3000!) plus all brides who purchase a gown that weekend will be given 10% off!
Head over here to find out more about the show and to book your appointment! Happy dress hunting, dears.
From the Bride… We knew we wanted to do a destination wedding to keep it a little smaller and also make it a very special celebration for us and all our family and friends. We wanted everyone to look forward to it and make a weekend of our wedding. We had been to Santa Barbara a few times together for random trips and we really love this city. It always made us happy and was a true getaway for us so even before we got engaged we talked about how awesome it could be to get married there. Our vision has always been something that represents us – fun, casual but beautiful and hopefully effortless looking (although it’s a lot of work put into it!). I wanted everything to be romantic and soft – string lights and candles. We also like the natural look that’s so California and Santa Barbara – outdoors, wood, trees – so we had wooden tables without linens.
We were so looking forward to having all the most important and supportive people in our lives all together in one place – family from NYC, St Louis, Korea, Seattle, LA, etc. and friends from every part of our lives (childhood, college, work, etc). We couldn’t wait to celebrate with everyone! And of course I couldn’t wait to marry Ernie. We are so looking forward to this new part of our lives together as husband and wife!
From Jen Rodríguez Photography… I absolutely loved everything about Christina and Ernie’s wedding. The day started at their hotel getting ready before venturing over to the Santa Barbara Mission where Ernie and Christina did their first look. After taking some photographs on the ground the bridal party jumped into a big trolley to take them to the Historical Museum. Everything about their ceremony and reception spoke to who Christina and Ernie are as a couple. Their wedding was warm, inviting, absolutely beautiful, and tons of fun. One of my favorite points in the day was later on after the sun had set, looking out onto the packed dance floor and everyone was laughing and having the best time, all while the stunning market lights twinkled above them. It was absolutely beautiful and I’m so thankful I got to capture those moments for them.
From Wedding Kate… When I first met with Katy and Andrew I knew they were special. They laughed easily and playfully yet had sharp senses of humor and impeccable taste. Katy obviously works in Public Relations (gorgeous AND smart) and Andrew works for chef, philanthropist and talk-show host, Rachel Ray. We talked about Chicago’s cold weather and how their Santa Barbara wedding was going to be a much needed spring retreat for their guests. We planned sweet thoughtful details, amazing food and dreamed about the warm evening festivities. But then came spring, and so came the rain. We were all shocked to feel the drops that morning, especially as our iPhones showed the chance of rain at 0%. We scrambled and unset the tables, the linens, the china. After a few prayers and rain dances, just before the invitation time, the rain subsided. We hustled and bustled and placed each item in just the right spot. Guests arrived to be welcomed by refreshments and live acoustic guitar, almost as though the poor weather had never happened at all!
The bridesmaids carried beautiful bouquets bursting with bright peonies and ranunculus, sweet silk ribbons trailed down and caught the wind perfectly. The groomsmen all had sprigs of the groom’s favorite herbs attached to their lapels.
The ceremony was set beautifully with a meandering aisle, sweet floral bunches and billowy white chiffon draping the alter. The celebration was officiated by the bride and groom’s best friend, a television producer from New York (yes, he is both of their best friend!). He had all the wit and humor one would expect from someone who works on some of TV’s most popular shows. Just as the ceremony ended and the couple turned to come down the aisle, a professional singer in the crowd popped up and surprised the couple with a flash mod-style serenade. The guests had all received (secretly!) the lyrics to one of the couple’s favorite songs and the group of 150 sang their best version of “All You Need Is Love.” Cocktail hour featured corn-hole boards with an artist’s rendition of the couple hand painted on them. Signature cocktails named after the bridal party were passed and appetizers from guest Rachel Ray were devoured almost as quickly as they came out of the kitchen. The wood dining tables were covered with handmade lace and burlap runners, crafted with love by the bride’s mother. Bright floral hues popped against the dark mahogany and gold accents. Short Ribs, Santa Barbara Rockfish, Mac n Cheese and Gourmet Green Beans were served family style and it was as delicious as it was abundant. Guests danced to Motown hits and drank from an authentic Spanish Porron, which provided some guests with entirely soaked outfits and lots of laughs. Flip flops and hoodies came out towards the end of the night to keep the dancing strong and to make sure all the Midwestern folks were warm on this cold, gusty evening. Guests walked to the after party but not before stopping at the Walking Taco Bar which consisted of all the traditional taco fixings poured into a bag of Fritos. Hot sauce was brought all the way from Chicago’s famed Mexican Restaurant, Antique Taco. Although they didn’t have their dream of a warm Santa Barbara wedding, the wedding they DID get sure was dreamy.
For these longtime loves, their idea of the ultimate lovefest meant one major outdoor celebration. Planning a stunning affair complete with ocean views and a mountain backdrop, this whimsical hometown fete from Jill and Co. Events will leave dreaming of the Golden state. It’s the ultimate sunny celebration from the lens of from Diana McGregor and it’s blooming with perfectly pink details that have us redefining romance.
From Jill and Co Events… The Bride and Groom both reside in Santa Barbara, and knew they wanted to share the specialness of their hometown with all of their guests on their big day. After touring multiple venues with her sister, Jenn knew after visiting the San Ysidro Ranch that nothing else could quite compare with the history of the love stories there, as well as the location being nestled between lush gardens with the majestic mountains in the background.
Having a sister as an event photographer, photography was of the utmost importance, and we were thrilled to have Diana McGregor Photography on board with her team to capture all of the moments and details.Anna LePley Taylor created magic with her florals, adding to the ambiance of the San Ysidro Ranch and creating a romantic atmosphere in the Hydrangea Cottage where the intimate group of 60 dined by candlelight. The guests danced the night away under the stars and the beautiful chandeliers provided by Bella Vista Lighting to tunes spun by Gavin Roy of Gavin Roy Productions.It was a perfect day in May with a dream team assembled, and personally so special to be entrusted on executing a beautiful day for a colleague and good friend’s sister.
From the beautiful Bride… Steve and I met in 2003 in the Bay Area when we were 16 years old. We were friends and dated throughout high school, and then moved to Santa Barbara together to attend college and start our careers. The vision for our wedding was soft and romantic, and inspired by the beautiful gardens of San Ysidro Ranch. Since we’ve lived in Santa Barbara for 10 years now, we knew we wanted our wedding to reflect Santa Barbara and what it means to us, and San Ysidro Ranch was it. With a rich history, beautiful backdrop, it’s close relationship to nature, and awesome antiques throughout the location, we knew this was the perfect spot for us and all things we love.
We added soft blues, golds and blushes into our color scheme, and allowed our small wedding party to choose the clothes that were right for them! Our guest list was just right at 60 guests. We initially started out at over 200 guests and decided we wanted to have our wedding for us, and not for everybody else. So, we invited our closest friends and family and had the time of our lives! It was the best decision we could have made!
We wanted to be surrounded by nature, and beautiful gardens are definitely my weakness, so getting married outside among San Ysidro’s beautiful flowers, draping vines, large magnolia and citrus trees, rose bushes, and the Santa Ynez mountains to one side of us, and the Pacific Ocean to the other, was more than enough for us. The minute we stepped onto the property, smelled the floral and citrus scents, heard the birds chirping and the butterflies floating by, we knew it was right for us.
Also, the rich history, beautiful architecture and antiques that surround the property were all reasons why we couldn’t step away from San Ysidro Ranch! The stories that surround the 123 year old property make it all that much more special and closer to Santa Barbara and why we love it here so much. Additionally, the staff, food and wine list at San Ysidro were all added bonuses to what we call our perfect venue.
The flowers were soft and romantic with touches of white, blush and greenery throughout. We used garland on our banquet tables and large arrangements on our round tables during dinner. We also included olive branches on each table setting inside with a matching large olive branch garland along the fireplace inside the Hydrangea Room for dinner, along with large olive branch arrangements during cocktail hour and outside on the patio for dancing. We also included touches of soft draped flowers on our wedding cake with cut green figs and textured frosting.
From the Bride-to-be… Trieu and I are both volunteer youth group leaders and we met in February 2005 at a leadership training camp. That summer we hung out often with a big group of mutual friends but I had no idea he was “into” me. Given that he was a very shy person, I was shocked when he called me a few months later and asked for a one-on-one date. Now, almost a decade later (oh boy!), we’re engaged and absolutely cannot wait to be husband and wife.
Although we’ve been together for a while, the proposal came as a surprise as there were no signs of it happening just yet. Towards the end of December, Trieu asked me to go with him to watch his niece’s Christmas photoshoot where Trini was also the photographer. As they were wrapping up the shoot, Trini asked us to get in for a family photo and while she was clicking away, Trieu got down on one knee and proposed. He was shaking like a leaf so I had to put him out of his misery with a quick “YES!!!” ;)
Since we love nature and stunning landscapes, we chose Malibu and Sunstone Winery as the backdrops for our engagement. While searching for what to wear, I fell in love with this Marchesa dress at first sight and just had to have it. Initially I didn’t expect much from the photoshoot because it was our first time being photographed – we had no idea what we were doing! On top of that, we had very limited daylight since it kept raining on and off and we literally waited out the rain sitting in our car. But boy Trini sure delivered! She walked us through the whole process with ease and the pictures turned out perfect. We are so happy with our engagement photos and look forward to saying “I do” later this year.
From the beautiful Bride… We knew we wanted to get married somewhere near our home in Ventura, California, so naturally, Santa Barbara was an easy choice. The second we saw the Santa Barbara Historical Museum, it just felt so “us.” We loved the understated, Old California vibe and how the space felt sort of raw and authentic. Wes and I really wanted the day to embody who we are as a couple. Wes is a country raised cowboy and I’m a bit of a free spirit, so all of our choices for venue, decor and special touches revolved around embracing those influences and that energy.
We originally hoped to have a small, intimate wedding, but after trimming our guest list to 250 people, we knew that was out of the question. So we kept focusing on ways in which we could make a really big wedding feel small. I grew up eating dinner with my entire family at one table, so I wanted to create that same energy for the wedding, which is why we did the farm style tables all connected in a big u-shape around the courtyard…so it felt like we were all eating dinner at the same table. Then, we had our families at the center of the u…which I thought was super cool and kind of symbolic. I loved that.
Wes let me handle most of the planning, but had one request. He wanted simple, country-style food. Nothing fancy. Every Sunday, his folks cook up a delicious Sunday dinner at their ranch with tri-tip, salad, potatoes, beans and garlic bread. And that’s exactly what he wanted. I loved the idea and was so excited when we found Country Catering in Santa Barbara. Their food was delicious and they also offered family-style dinner service and homemade pies and ice cream, which went perfectly with our seating set-up and vibe.
I think those 2 elements really made the wedding feel less like a super-traditional formal wedding and more like an amazing Sunday dinner at the ranch.
When my older sister Kelly got married 2 years ago, her mother in law held the most beautiful ring ceremony while we are all getting ready. It was my favorite memory from my sister’s wedding, so I asked if she would mind doing the same thing for our special day. My mom and Wes’ mom each asked influential women from our lives, from each side of our families, to bring their wedding ring to our room right before I put on my dress. Surrounded by all my favorite women in the world, we all held hands in a big circle and each of the women gave me their wedding ring, along with words of advice or blessings for our marriage. We then attached each of the rings to a string that was then wrapped around my bouquet. It was one of the most special parts of the entire day, and something I will never forget.
For cocktail hour, we wanted to add something fun and unique, so we came up with the idea of having a roping dummy with a sign that read “Grab a Beer and Rope the Steer.” It was just another fun way of adding our personality to the day…and it was such a hit!!
I had found a photo of a cool beer bar on Pinterest, and asked my dad (who can make just about anything) if he could duplicate the bar for the wedding. Per usual, he went above and beyond. He had the idea of incorporating driftwood in the bar, so he would meet me at my place in Ventura, take me to breakfast and we would go for a walk along the beach, collecting cool pieces of driftwood along the way. He didn’t tell me anything else about the bar, just that it would be ready for the wedding. What I didn’t know is that he also went to Wes’ folks ranch and got a bunch of old horseshoes and incorporated those as well. I never actually saw the completed bar until the wedding, and I cried. Not only because it was way cooler than anything I could have imagined, but because I knew how much love went into it. Now it’s in our backyard, and every time I see it, I smile, remembering our wedding day and those walks on the beach with my pops.
For our signature cocktails, I wanted to come up with something different and fun for the names. Wes and I both have a love for good, old school music. I kept thinking in my mind, we’re a little bit country, and a little bit rock n roll…so the “Waylon Jennings” and the “Janis Joplin” seemed to sum us, and the entire energy of the night, up best.
I love dreamcatchers, so I knew I wanted to incorporate them into the wedding somehow. I got to crafting and it was so much fun!!! I invited my family and girlfriends over for a night of dinner and vino, and we made tons of dreamcatchers. I loved them all and how they were each so different, made with love and laughter…and I gave them all away after the wedding to my family and friends, except for the one we got married under.
I wanted to try and come up with something different to hang on mine and Wes’ chairs for dinner, and then I had the idea of making a Mr and Mrs sign out of rope. I looked it up online, found a DIY tutorial, and it was so easy and just another way of adding a little cowboy element to the night.
Instead of doing a gift at each table, I had the idea of giving each guest a seed packet of wildflowers and having the packets double as a gift and escort card. I found a great little shop on Etsy that made mini seed packets with dreamcatchers and floral wreaths on the front (which was so perfect). I had a thank you note from Wes and I printed on the backside of the packets. We filled the packets with California wildflower seeds and had them hanging between 2 vintage ladders with some photos from our engagement session. The sign read, “Please be seeded.”
While working with my florist, we came up with the idea of using vintage apothecary jars, a large old spittoon, a vintage canteen and rustic Spanish style pots instead of traditional vases for all the flower arrangements. Wes and I love searching for cool vintage finds, so for the last year and a half, we collected (literally hundreds) of apothecary jars during all of our travels. I love that each of the jars we collected has a cool story of the places we’ve been…and now we have the jars displayed throughout our home.
During the planning process, everyone kept asking me what our wedding theme was, and I sort of thought that was a crazy question. We didn’t have a theme. It was just Wes and I. That was the theme. I didn’t think about matching things or having the most Pinterest-worthy details and decor. I think that’s what made it special. We just poured ourselves and our love into a beautiful day filled with family, friends, food, booze, and one hell of a country band. That was our theme. And it made perfect sense to me.