When you dig through the pretty layers of this Santa Barbara soiree (and TOAST Santa Barbara sure did layer in the gorgeous!), you’ll find a deeply rooted love that will absolutely melt you. There are too many meaningful bits to recount, but when you read the Bride’s story, paired with the precious imagery from I Heart My Groom and the film from Cloudless Weddings, you’ll step into their full-on celebration of family love.
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From I Heart My Groom…Whenever we’re around Nicole and Andrew we can’t help but smile and laugh continuously. They both have such beautiful hearts and that quality radiates when you see them in person. These two are sparkly, fun, lovable, and visibly so in LOVE. We feel incredibly honored and blesses that they chose us to document their beautiful wedding in film at the Santa Barbara Wome’s Club.
From the beautiful Bride…When I was four years old, I was a flower girl at my aunt and uncle’s wedding in Cape Cod. Ever since then, I’ve daydreamed about what my wedding day would be like. When Andrew and I got engaged, I didn’t know what colors I wanted or what kind of food I wanted to serve. I did know that I wanted our day to be meaningful not just for us, but for all of our family and loved ones. As the planning evolved, our main goal became to have a deeply personal day chalk-full of sentimental touches and a few extra-special surprises.
I have always felt a strong connection to family history and tradition. That is why the first decision we made was the easiest. We chose to marry on what would have been my late grandparents’ 73rd anniversary. Andrew and I met on the same day that my grandmother left us in 2008, and we have always felt that she had a hand in our meeting. From there, it became clear to us that we wanted our wedding day to be a true celebration of love – not just our love for each other, but the love from our family and friends that has made us who we are.
I also knew that I wanted the design to incorporate family heirlooms and special items. For me, being able to display my mother’s wedding dress and use things like one of my grandmother’s hankies was about more than just having something borrowed and something blue. I wanted to be surrounded by treasured mementos that held special memories, as a way of connecting to those I love – both past and present.
October is such a beautiful month in Santa Barbara that we knew we wanted an outdoor ceremony in the soft, late afternoon light. My desire to capture this softness is what led me to the lovely ladies of I Heart My Groom. Aside from taking beautiful photographs, they came to the rescue with a needle and thread when my dress ripped shortly before I walked down the aisle! My mother’s heirloom moss rose china was the inspiration for our color palette, but we leaned more toward peach and blush in an effort to keep the colors light given the warm weather. As far as flowers go, loose and lush was the name of the game. I envisioned a combination of garden roses, ranunculus, olive branches, fluffy pale blush astilbe, and overflowing vines. I have a particular affection for gold glitter, so we decided on a few gold details to satisfy my cravings while remaining soft and understated. We were lucky enough to find Tamara Kesser of TOAST Santa Barbara, who understood my “fairy princess in a candlelit secret garden” vision immediately, and brought it to life with a flick of her magic wand.
Aside from the moment when Andrew and I became husband and wife, I have to say that having all of our loved ones from all walks of life under the same roof was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. Neither Andrew nor I have ever been surrounded by so much love, joy, laughter, and awesome dance moves. Andrew likes to joke that I live in fairyland because of my rosy outlook… But on October 11th, we both spent the entire day in fairyland and loved every moment of it.
Nicole was born in San Diego, spent her youth in rural Northern California, and grew up in Santa Barbara. Andrew was born and raised in Watsonville, a small town in California near Santa Cruz. Nicole works in local government, and Andrew works for a non-profit organization that serves individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
Andrew and Nicole wanted their 90 guests to experience Santa Barbara in all of its splendor, which is why they chose the beautiful Spanish Colonial Revival-styled Rockwood Woman’s Club. Just down the road from the historic Santa Barbara Mission and Rose Garden, Rockwood is set amongst a forest of mature oak trees that made for a truly gorgeous backdrop to their late summer ceremony.
The wow factor was Nicole’s sparkling tulle Lazaro ball gown and cathedral length veil. Andrew wore a light gray suit with a pale peach tie that was perfectly matched to the garden roses in Nicole’s bouquet. A family friend officiated, and read a touching love story that she had written based on her meetings with Andrew and Nicole. As one can imagine, there was nary a dry eye. Before the bride and groom recited traditional vows and exchanged custom wedding bands designed by Bryant & Sons Jewelers, the bride’s cousins sang a touching acoustic rendition of Coldplay’s “Til Kingdom Come” which brought everyone to tears.
As for those personal touches… Programs designed by Nicole were laid out for guests on a marble-topped table that had been in her family for generations. Along with her heirloom engagement ring circa 1890 that was carried down the aisle in its original box, Nicole wore a bracelet and crystal hair pins that two of her bridesmaids had worn on their own wedding days. She carried a vintage embroidered handkerchief that had been part of her grandmother’s collection, and had a piece of fabric from one of her grandfather’s ties stitched underneath her dress. Her garter was handmade with lace left over from her mother’s wedding dress, and an extra bit of unused lace was made into a handkerchief for her father to carry. Pinned to the ivory satin ribbon around her bouquet were her grandfather’s Naval Academy cufflinks from 1935, and a pin painted with blue Forget-Me-Nots that had been hand-painted for her grandmother. During the reception, Nicole’s personal items were carried in the ivory beaded clutch that her mother had taken to her high school prom.
As the golden hour struck, guests mingled on the terrace and sipped on spiked lavender lemonade while listening to crooners like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. As they made their way inside, they were greeted by the rest of the handkerchiefs from Nicole’s grandmother’s collection, which was strung over the indoor fireplace. The vintage lace dress that Nicole’s mother had worn on her wedding day adorned a corner window, and wedding photos from both Andrew and Nicole’s families were displayed on the grand piano.
Following the bride and groom’s first dance, Nicole invited her father out onto the dance floor for a spin. The song, “Wild Horses” by the Rolling Stones, was a special surprise for her father. When she and her family were living in Northern California, her father used to sing it to her – only he replaced “wild horses” with “wild mustard” in a nod to the bright yellow plant that grew with abandon near their home. Dinner was a delicious Italian feast courtesy of Pure Joy Catering, capped off by a festive dessert station offering mini pots of torched-to-order crème brûlée in a variety of mouthwatering flavors. The second surprise came after dinner in the form of a Love Story video, which Andrew and Nicole had filmed for their guests in the month leading up to their wedding day.
After letting loose on the dance floor all night – no easy feat in a ball gown – Andrew and Nicole were driven to El Encanto for their wedding night. Nicole and her bridesmaids had stayed there the night before. Before they went to sleep on Friday night, they tossed coins into the wishing well and made wishes. Nicole’s coin made it into the bucket, and upon further investigation she discovered that the bucket was empty save for her coin. Andrew and Nicole returned to the wishing well the night of their wedding, and tossed two more coins in. There are now three coins in the bucket – Nicole’s from Friday night, and the newlyweds’ from their wedding night. With that kind of luck, they are already off to a wonderful start.
The reason why it was so important to me to carry treasures that had belonged to my grandparents was because even though I knew they were with us, I still wanted those tangible connections – to touch things they had touched.
My something old…
– Grandfather’s Naval Academy cufflinks from 1935 (on bouquet)
– Grandfather’s tie cut into heart and stitched underneath dress
– My wedding band, carried down the aisle in the original ring box that my engagement ring came in (in 1890)
– Ivory beaded clutch that my mom took to her high school prom in 1965
– Grandmother’s ivory embroidered handkerchief (I chose it out of her collection, which now belongs to my mom. I picked my second favorite to give to my Maid of Honor on the morning of the wedding.)
My something new…
– Wedding dress
My something borrowed…
– Jeweled hair pins from Jacquelyne’s wedding day (Maid of Honor)
– Bracelet from Victoria’s wedding day (bridesmaid)
My something blue…
– Grandmother’s pin, hand painted with blue forget-me-nots by my mom’s artist friend for my grandmother (on bouquet)
My garter was both old, borrowed, and new! Jacquelyne and my mom conspired to surprise me on this one… Mom found a leftover piece of lace she had used to make a sash for her vintage wedding dress in 1984. Jacquelyne used a piece of lace from her mother’s wedding dress, and took it to a local seamstress (Mercedes Trump, Beautiful Weddings) to have the lace combined into a garter. Mercedes added a bit of peach ribbon to match our color palette. There was a little bit of lace left over, which was made into a handkerchief for my dad to carry.
Andrew and Nicole traveled to Maui for their honeymoon in October.
Photography: I Heart My Groom | Videography: Cloudless Weddings | Event Design: TOAST Santa Barbara | Floral Design: TOAST Santa Barbara | Wedding Dress: Lazaro | Cake: Pure Joy Catering | Invitations: Designed By Bride, Printed By Smart Press | Shoes: Benjamin Adams | Wedding Bands: Bryant & Sons | Bridesmaids' Dresses: BHLDN | Catering: Pure Joy Catering | Hair And Makeup: TEAM Hair And Makeup | Wedding Venue: Santa Barbara Women’s Club | Bride Getting Ready Outfit: Love Ophelia Romper | Bride Getting Ready Outfit: In Bloom By Jonquil Robe | Bridesmaid Getting Ready Outfits: Plum Pretty Sugar | Bride’s Accessories: Heirloom And Borrowed | Crème Brulee Station: Pure Joy Catering | Flower Girl Dress: Fattie Pie | Getting Ready Location: Belmond El Encanto | Groomsmen Attire: The Black Tux | Groom’s Suit: Express | Music: DJ Dave