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Charming Santa Barbara Estate Wedding full of Color

The eclectic beauty of this Santa Barbara soiree stuns, with pin-worthy details sprinkled throughout the day’s events. Set at Villa Verano, a Mission style estate, the ceremony and reception were both ridiculously ravishing. The only thing brighter than the vibrant decor was the bride’s smile – one look at the gallery shot by Mirelle Carmichael Photography, and it’s not too hard to see why.

Colors
Seasons
Summer
Settings
Villa
Styles
Elegant

From The Bride…Ammar and I met quite suddenly and randomly on a hot, New York City summer night. I was in New York City to cater a wedding and Ammar was passing through after being stationed overseas. We met at a mutual friend’s party and were instantly drawn to one another; since Ammar had to leave in few days we decided to meet the following day for brunch. Like all great romances, our courtship started with violent food poisoning: while on our first official date, strolling through Chelsea Market, I started uncontrollably vomiting. Ammar is a humanitarian aid worker, so he immediately knew I needed urgent care. Our first date turned into a 12 hour stint in the ER where he read me recipes from cooking magazines, spoke to the doctors on my behalf, and even changed my bedpan. I spent 5 days in the hospital and Ammar was there, the entire time, by my side.

After that, I knew he was the one. However our respective geographies poised a problem: I lived in California and Ammar lived literally wherever his job took him. After a month of long distance, Ammar joined me in California where we took a blissful 6 month vacation from life: we traveled up and down Highway 101, starting in Carmel and working our way down to San Diego and all the way back up to my hometown of Portland, Oregon. When it came time to choose a place for our wedding, we knew it had to be somewhere along the California coastline as an homage to our epic road trip.

After our sabbatical, I traveled to Pakistan to meet Ammar’s family where we got engaged. It was bittersweet: while we knew we were going to get married at some point, we didn’t exactly know when that would be. A few months after we were engaged, Ammar was finally assigned his next posting in…Abuja, Nigeria.

Let’s just say, we became very skilled at Skype. With my life on hold and my fiancé living in Africa, I had some free time on my hands to start planning our wedding. To keep myself awake long enough to talk to Ammar every night, I wound up spending countless hours reading wedding blogs and perusing Pinterest. I eventually moved to be with Ammar in Nigeria where my master planning continued. We live on a compound run by Ammar’s humanitarian organization; while the internet and power were a bit spotty and the idea of a Santa Barbara wedding seemed worlds away, planning our wedding became a daydream-esque hobby. Needless to say, I had every detail planned and ready by April 12th, 2014!

Because Ammar and I live so far away from our loved ones, we wanted an experience where everyone could be together at one place for an extended weekend celebration. I shied away from the traditional wedding venues as I wanted to dance the night away without having to worry about time limits. Enter Villa Verano. It’s a stunning private property located in the hills of Santa Barbara with built-in décor and old mission style ambiance. The space has multiple guest rooms, so our entire bridal party was able to stay on the premises.

It was important to me that every detail of our wedding was homemade and touched by a loved one. From the throw pillows my mother sewed, to the chalkboard my father built in our garage, to the wedding menus my sister designed, to the jam and pickle favors I made with my grandmother, everything had a story behind it. I wanted my wedding to have an organic, small, homemade, intimate feel—similar in essence to the dinner parties I love to throw for friends and family. I choose my vendors with this sentiment in mind as well.

All the hard work and attention to detail paid off. It was a truly magical night. I remember walk around stunned thinking to myself, it’s exactly how I thought it would look.

Photography: Mirelle Carmichael Photography | Wedding Dress: San Patrick Collection | Stationery: Val Marie Paper | Ceremony: Villa Verano | Reception Venue: Villa Verano | Bridesmaids Dresses: J Crew | Caterer: Duo Events | Hair And Makeup: LunaBella Makeup & Hair | DJ: Bouquet Sound | Photography - Assistance: Cheryl Tivar | Transportation: Santa Barbara Airbus

J.Crew is a member of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here. LunaBella Make-up and Hair and Mirelle Carmichael are members of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
LunaBella Make-up and Hair

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Mirelle Carmichael

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Romantic Santa Barbara Wedding

At first glance, I guessed this stunning Mediterranean-style soiree from B. Schwartz Photography to be set in the Greek countryside rather than sweet Santa Barbara. With it’s pure white beauty of a church, olive branches galore and traditions of the locale in every corner, Carter & Cook Event Company nailed this one. And the Bride? She’s a glowing Greek goddess, with a few pretty touches from TEAM Hair And Makeup. See even more here in the gallery.

Colors
Seasons
Spring
Settings
Church
Styles
Romantic

From the beautiful Bride… Both Teddy and I have played soccer all of our lives from the youth level to the professional level. After Teddy retired from playing professionally, life brought him to Pasadena, California which is where I grew up. One of my first coaching jobs was for a youth club in Pasadena and Teddy was the director of the club. We coached one of the Under 11 girls teams in the club together and the rest is history.

We wanted our wedding to have a Classic, romantic, Greek-infused Style. By far my favorite moment of our wedding day was when my cousin Kolin played the guitar and sang the song “Best Seat In The House” as a tribute to my late father.

From Carter & Cook Event CompanyMakenzie and Teddy met when they were paired to coach a local club soccer team together. They developed a strong friendship as they coached the team to win many big tournaments, becoming one of the best girls teams in all of California. As the team blossomed, so did their relationship. After a few years they started dating and the rest is history!

Makenzie and Teddy wanted to create the perfect modern Greek wedding with romantic and ethereal touches. They chose Santa Barbara because of it’s obvious beauty and style… it was the perfect backdrop for their Mediterranean wedding. They really wanted to honor both of their families throughout the wedding day. Teddy comes from a Greek family and they really know how to party on the dance floor! The DJ (Christina Baglin) is a cousin of the groom and had all of the guests on the dance floor practicing their traditional Greek moves. Makenzie’s cousin surprised her with a beautiful song tribute to her late father. He changed a few of the words to Best Seat in the House by LoCash Cowboys and sang/played guitar. There was not a dry eye in the hall! The bride wore a monogrammed patch from her father’s old dress shirt inside her wedding gown as a small way to have him there with her. Alise of Sweet Marie Designs designed the most beautiful arrangements with yellow, green, gold and taupe tones. She brought the couple’s inspiration to life and it truly felt like an indoor, shabby chic garden party. Another special Greek touch were the favors. The family had olive oil shipped in from the father of the groom’s village in Greece (Kalamata), which is where the couple honeymooned. Makenzie and Teddy bottled it for each guest to take home. We created a few chalkboard details throughout the wedding; the seating arrangement sign, vintage plate table numbers, menus and other signage were chalkboards or made to look like it. The menus and favor tags were designed by Alaina of A Kreative Kraning and the extra large seating assignment chalkboard was beautifully done by Margaret of Nightingale Handmade.

It was a beautiful night celebrating the couple and what is most important to them: love, family and life!

Photography: B. Schwartz Photography | Videography: Aqua Vivus Productions | Floral Design: Sweet Marie Designs | Wedding Dress: Enzoani | Cake: Crushcakes | Shoes: Coach | Necklace: Something Jeweled | Bridesmaids Dresses: Dessy | Caterer: Petros | Calligraphy: Nightingale Handmade | Groom's Attire: J Crew | Church: Santa Barbara Greek Orthodox Church | Coordination: Carter & Cook Event Company | Garters: The Wedding Garter | Invitation Suite: Wedding Paper Divas | Makeup Artis: TEAM Hair And Makeup | Menues: A Kreative Kraning | Rentals: Town And Country Rentals

Alfred Sung, Dessy Collection, Dessy Flower Girls and J.Crew are members of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here. TEAM Hair and Makeup is a member of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
TEAM Hair and Makeup

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Elegant Black Tie Affair at The Biltmore

Don’t champagne towers make you want to celebrate? We just know when the champagne’s a flowin, a gorgeous black tie affair is on the horizon. And the Biltmore in Santa Barbara knows how to host just such an affair along with beautiful rich details by Jill La Fleur, blush flowers with pops of orange by Blue Magnolia and an elegant candlelit reception captured by Michael & Anna Costa. See it all here.

Colors
Seasons
Summer
Settings
Resort
Styles
Elegant

From The Bride…We were attracted to the effortless and understated sophistication that inspires the relaxed Santa Barbara lifestyle. It’s impossible not to feel more alive and healthy here, and it’s no surprise why this part of the country is called the American Riviera. Plus, anyone who knows me well knows I am obsessed with Spain and the Mediterranean. As soon as Santa Barbara was on our wedding venue radar, I thought it was the perfect backdrop:  Spanish Colonial architecture, wine country, lavender fields, olive trees, ideal climate, and the ocean and mountains. We both also loved the classic, timeless feel of the Four Seasons Biltmore. The hotel is nestled in the Montecito foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains, overlooks the Pacific ocean, has lush gardens, and is a place any girl would feel incredibly lucky to plan her wedding (which is exactly how I felt).  We kicked off the weekend festivities with a wine country trip, including a pit stop to pick up Enjoy Cupcakes in Los Olivos to celebrate my husband’s birthday (who doesn’t love wine and cupcakes??), followed by an outdoor welcome cocktail reception in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara.
 
We wanted to amplify the celebratory mood and play up on the California Spanish style, so we invited guests for a ceremony prelude, where they were greeted with Spanish guitar, white sangria and sparkling wine, fresh fruit, and rosemary and raspberry-infused lemonade. We wanted to create a space that was not stuffy, but tastefully relaxed and joyful. Our wedding was intimate, in a private garden near the ocean, and it felt like our own hidden space. I personally think the whole idea of an ostentatious wedding has been overdone. As a couple, we gravitate toward the idea that simplicity is more sophisticated.  We let its natural beauty shine, and kept décor minimal; we brought in custom chairs, hung garlands of bay leaves and flowers alongside the aisle, and added larger arrangements where we exchanged our vows.
  

Immediately following the ceremony, we all toasted with a champagne tower—I was very excited about that!  The cocktail hour was al fresco (which I love)–we had an open bar and also offered an elderflower champagne cocktail and a grapefruit margarita, which complemented the color palette. In addition to passed hors d’oeuvres with crowd-pleasers like mini gourmet cheeseburgers with parmesan fries and black bean empanadas, we also were really pleased with how the Four Seasons did such an excellent job of incorporating local ingredients, such as fresh lobster, avocado, Point Reyes blue cheese, and California olive oil into other appetizers. We also included a cheese station and charcuterie, sushi and a raw bar for our guests. We kept the escort table unfussy, so as not to compete with the hotel décor, and instead chose classic ivory paper goods and fragrant gardenias as an accent. Cocktail tables were topped with single gardenias and petite terrariums.

 
Walking into our reception space exceeded our expectations, and our entire vision was executed so flawlessly. We had added weathered oak cross-back chairs and long feasting tables lined with natural linens and touches of citrus and succulents, as well beautiful bud vases and larger blooming arrangements done in a palette of corals, melons, ivories and greens. Kerstin of Blue Magnolia incorporated hydrangea, garden roses, dahlias, poppies and ranunculus, along with pops of color, texture, and clementines. Soft votive candles flickered to create a beautiful glow, which is super flattering for dinner conversations. I felt so involved in the wedding details that I really enjoyed being surprised with the final result. There were so many thoughtful touches, down to the olive sprigs on each napkin and local Santa Barbara wines. We really wanted our guests to feel like they were at a dinner party, and give them something beyond what they might expect.  
 
Now for the praise: we were so incredibly lucky to work with such a talented team. Their professionalism gave us confidence while we were planning from the opposite side of the country, and allowed us to truly enjoy a stress-free day. Jill LaFleur has such a graceful and relaxed presence, which immediately put us at ease. I sometimes have a hard time relinquishing control, but it was easy to put my trust in her and she worked her magic to tie everything together beautifully. We could not have asked for a better husband and wife team than Michael and Anna Costa, who captured our day so beautifully and made us feel so comfortable. Kerstin Horneman of Blue Magnolia is so warm and personable, and practically read my mind when it came to what I wanted. Maria Axiotis of the Four Seasons is so poised and I felt like I’d known her for years. My advice when selecting a supportive team is to listen to one’s gut because our first impressions did not fail us and it all felt like a natural fit.
 
Our wedding was personal, honest and full of so many tender moments. It was a day full of love, and truly better than we could have ever imagined. Our family and friends helped make it an unforgettable day, and we are looking forward to an excuse to return for anniversaries!  

Photography: Michael & Anna Costa Photography ~ Michael Costa | Event Planning: Jill La Fleur | Floral Design: Blue Magnolia | Invitations: Umi By Elum | Ceremony Venue: Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara | Shoes: Kate Spade | Bridesmaids Dresses: Amsale | Catering: Maria Axiotis @ Four Seasons SB | Band: Free Radicals Band | Grooms Attire: Tom Ford | Grooms Attire: Burberry | Officiant: Judge Thomas Adams | Assistant Coordinator: Jenn Curti | Bridesmaids Robes: Pretty Plum Sugar | Dress & Veil: Monique Lhuillier | Hair & Make-Up: The Studio Agency | Lighting Design: Ambient Event Design | Linens: La Tavola | Music: Sam Adams | Music: JSH Music Productions | Rentals: Town And Country | Transportation: D&D Party Bus

Amsale and Monique Lhuillier are members of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here. La Tavola Fine Linen Rental, Michael + Anna Costa Photography, Ambient Event Design and Plum Pretty Sugar are members of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
La Tavola Fine Linen Rental

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Michael & Anna Costa Photograp...

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Ambient Event Design

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Plum Pretty Sugar

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