This next wedding is very much a reflection of the couple’s choice in cakes. Let me explain. One, a gorgeous frosted buttercream creation. The other, a delectable tiered cheesy treat. You see, this darling DIY affair is charming and approachable while still radiating warmth and elegance. It’s sweet and savory all wrapped up into one very pretty poolside soirée. With gorgeous lighting by talented folks at Bella Vista Designs and images by Tobin Photography this romantic outdoor I-do shows off the true magic of Montecito. Hungry for more? You can sink your teeth into the whole gallery right here.

From the Bride… Despite our young age, when we announced we were getting married, very few were surprised. We had fallen in love instantly and it was apparent to everyone how well suited we are for one another. Because we were the first of our friends to get married, I had no idea what the planning process was or what a modern wedding even looked like! So we started with the basics. Our shared vision for the wedding was that it be intimate and honest. We have so much love for each other, our family and close friends that we wanted our wedding to purely be a celebration of that! We asked our good family friends if we could use their spectacular home in Montecito, CA as the venue for our wedding, not simply because of the architecture and mountain and ocean views, but because of the warm, fulfilling times we had spent there.

Once we got to planning, we quickly decided that we wanted to keep everything simple so that we wouldn’t overpower the lush and unique surroundings. It was also a priority for us to keep everything local and to stay environmentally friendly. I knew that the key to keeping the wedding intimate was to DIY many of the details. We assembled the save-the-dates and invitations, one of my bridesmaids drew the map, we created the programs and personalized the napkins (so that every time someone reached for food, they would get a sentimental surprise). Though we were stepping into someone’s home, I wanted the experience to feel like the space was made specifically for our special night.

We had our ceremony in the round, which allowed all of our guests to truely be a part of the experience. We could feel the warmth and support from everyone around us and we heard from guests that love was palpable in that setting! One of the groomsmen played acoustic guitar during the processional and the ring bearer carried a pillow hand stitched by my mother. Our officiant regaled our guests with tales of our upbringing, our chance encounter and many of the experiences we have shared since. She spoke of what we loved about each other and what we are looking forward to in the future. After family friends read poems and blessings that we had chosen, we each recited our hand-written vows to each other. The ceremony ended jubilantly, with the song “This Will Be (an Everlasting Love)” by Natalie Cole playing loudly as we excited the circle!

Our running theme for our decor was inspired by Spanish iron scrollwork. The decor was simple and elegant. Succulents, garden roses and votive candles were seen everywhere throughout the reception. Instead of a traditional guest book, we found a large hand blown glass wine jug that was over a century old and used that as a vase for people to place notes in. We offered bands to roll the notes in to resemble messages in a bottle. The table also displayed a running slideshow of images of us, young and old, as well as a candle and photo in memory of my husband’s late mother. 

As consumed as I was with the feel and aesthetics of the wedding, our priority was the experience for our guests. We made sure that the food was delicious, the patio was warm, and that guests could roam the grounds where comfortable spaces were plentiful.  Dinner was served tapas-style with a large variety of passed items plus two food stations. The menu was seasonal and local, including avocado tempura, vegetable and prosciutto flatbread and bite-sized lamb brochettes. Beside the full bar that featured a variety of local beers, we had a separate wine tasting bar that served an array of hand-chosen California wines, displayed with a cork garland made of all of the corks we had accrued over our engagement. We not only did this because we love wine, but also because we didn’t want to limit our guests to only two types of wine.

My husband and I differ when it comes to desserts: I love sweet and he loves savory. Instead of choosing between them, we incorporated both tastes by having two cakes! My cake was frosted with buttercream and featured three different flavors and the groom’s cake was actually not truly a cake… it was made up of four wheels of cheese! Keeping the local trend, we chose three large wheels each made in California from a different animal (cow, goat and sheep) and topped it off with our shared favorite, Mt. Tam by Cowgirl Creamery. The cheeses were served with crackers, fig spread, dried apricots and local honey. In addition to the cakes there were chocolate covered pretzels, mini key lime pies, chocolate chip cookies and passionfruit panna cotta spread about the venue!

Despite the minor hiccups and minimal food I got to enjoy, when our DJ called for the final song to play, “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton, everything seemed magical. My new husband held me tight as we danced slowly while the clouds above us misted and the ocean breeze calmly drifted by. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.

Wedding Photography: Tobin Photography  / Wedding Venue: Villa Florence (private residence), Montecito, CA / Wedding Coordination: Zohe Felici / Lighting: Bella Vista Designs / Floral Design: Beth Goodman / Catering: Duo Events / Cake + Desserts: Sweet and Saucy Shop / Cheese for Groom’s Cake: Cowgirl Creamery / Officiant: Nancy Little Moon / Wedding Invitations: Emily Foran at Three Little Words / Furniture + Linens: The Tent Merchant / DJ: Scott Topper / Venue for Pre-Ceremony Photographs: Biltmore Four Seasons Resort / Wooden Signs: Kristina at SweetWeddingDetails / Wedding Dress: Suzanne Hanley at Atelier des Modistes / Bride’s Shoes: Christian Louboutin / Engagement Ring: Brilliant Earth / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Monique Lhuillier / Hair: Shine Blow Dry Bar, Montecito + Brianna Stewart / Makeup: Tomiko Taft / Groom’s Attire: Hugo Boss / Groom’s Watch: Stowa / Cufflinks: Uncommongoods / Groom’s Wedding Band: Steven at WedgewoodRings /Groomsmens’ Attire: Alfani from Macy’s Mens / Ties: Burberry

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