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.
As a golfer who grew up in Santa Barbara, I spent quite a bit of time at the Montecito Country Club on the greens, but I can’t remember seeing it look this elegant — or graced by such a gorgeous Bride and Groom. (Seriously, could these two be any more beautiful?!) Anna Costa captured this fairytale of a day in the gallery here, and let me tell you, my dears, this is not one to miss!
From the beautiful Bride… I’ve always admired the romantic, glamorous aesthetic of 1950s Hollywood, and that look was a major source of inspiration for our wedding. The grounds and ballroom at the Montecito Country Club – which have breathtaking views and stunning art deco touches – were the perfect backdrop for classic silhouettes and a muted palette. The moment we walked into the Club on our first visit, Derek and I were struck by its elegance – the dark wood beams and wrought iron chandeliers in the ballroom, and the incredible panoramic views of the Santa Barbara waterfront.
Shannon Kimbrough of Effloresce Floral created lush, stunning arrangements for the head of the aisle, full of white and blush pink peonies and champagne-colored roses. The indoor arrangements included spectacular café-au-lait dahlias, which brought an unexpected theatrical element to the decor. Derek and I also wanted to incorporate the beauty and charm of the local landscape, and had mini-potted succulents double as seating card-holders and guest favors. A few days before the wedding, my mom, soon-to-be mother-in-law, and I transplanted over 70 succulents into square glass votives, filled with champagne-colored stones. It made for a fun, creative DIY project for us, and our guests got to take a little piece of Santa Barbara home with them.
Derek and I did a “first look” – I wasn’t quite sure about doing one when we began planning, but I’m really glad that we did. Taking a few quiet moments to enjoy one another’s company before the festivities was really calming and joyful, and set the tone for the rest of our day. For the ceremony, it was important to us to weave in personal touches in celebration of our loved ones. Framed photos of our grandparents were included in the décor, and I was escorted down the aisle by my mom and younger brother to an instrumental rendition of Ave Maria, which was my grandfather’s favorite piece of music. Our incredible officiant, Reverend Miriam Lindbeck, created a ceremony for us that was more thoughtful and special than we ever could have imagined; she honored each of our parents, and recalled funny personal anecdotes that had everyone laughing.
For dessert, I surprised Derek with a mocha-flavored Oakland Raiders-themed groom’s cake, to pay tribute to his die-hard fandom. We had a photo booth in the lounge adjacent to the ballroom, which was a huge hit among our friends and family, and made for a hilarious and memorable guest book. One of my favorite moments was when Derek and I adorned ourselves in photo booth props – hats, glasses, and giant bow ties – then hit the dance floor just as “Shout” by the Isley Brothers came on. From beginning to end, our wedding felt like a beautiful dream – seeing all our loved ones together, celebrating – we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day, or a better reflection of our union.
Awash in hues of cream and white, this garden wedding has us smitten with its vintage charm. From paper heart garlands and marmalade favors to a dazzling wedding arch with a sparkly chandelier, it’s full of sweet surprises thanks to the pros at Wedding Kate. Get ready to fall in love with every single detail captured by Nancy Neil Photography in the full gallery right here!
From Wedding Kate… When a fabulous interior designer weds a business entrepreneur you know it’s going to be a dreamy kind of day. Complete with traditional lawn games like croquet, bean bag toss, life size Jenga and putt-putt golf, this wedding was a vintage garden party. Lunch fare was served to guests while acoustic guitarists played favorites of the Bride and Groom from Coldplay, Beck and The Strokes.
This couple shared a love of details and that was evident as we selected the decor and florals for their wedding day. Kate has a personality that makes an instant connection with everybody. She is unabashedly full of life and love at all times. Matthew is the guy you could meet on an elevator and become best friends with. Everything is easy with him, including his love for Kate. These two love birds finish each other’s sentences and aren’t afraid to show that their other half is the most important part of their world.
My greatest joy is creating a feeling, a moment for a couple. One that they can look back at photos and still feel. Kate and Matthew made it too easy.
A classic outdoor affair is sure to get our hearts racing, but add in the fact that Josh Gruetzmacher Photography was behind the lens of this organic fete and you’ve got yourself one dreamlike day. From the Harry Potter themed tables, to the Bride’s father officiating, to the Groom’s homemade brew, every minute is waiting for you in the gorgeous gallery!
From the beautiful Bride… We wanted to have a simple, classic outdoor wedding with all of our family and friends. It was important to us that our guests felt relaxed and most importantly had fun. We got married in Goleta, CA where we first met in 2006. We both really wanted to get married at an outdoor venue and we both fell in love with Condor Ridge Ranch. It’s an organic farm in the foothills of Goleta, overlooking the ocean. We couldn’t have asked for a better location. We incorporated our shared love for Harry Potter by naming the tables after locations in the Harry Potter books (e.g. Hogwarts, Diagon Alley, The Burrow, etc.). It was also really special to have my dad officiate the ceremony and have our dog, Moose, walk down the aisle as part of the wedding. We also served the groom’s home-brewed Belgian Golden Strong Ale (11% abv), which we believe contributed to some of the awesome dance moves later that evening.
The most memorable part of the day for us was being able to relax and enjoy the wedding we had been planning for the last year.
Our advice for future brides now that we are on the other side: Delegate tasks to family and friends or your event planner. Be as organized as possible, but try not to sweat the small stuff. Lots of little things went wrong on our wedding day and I was the only person who noticed. Everyone else thought the wedding was perfect.
Show me some citrus and I’ll show you a smiling blogger right here. Maybe because summer is upon us, or maybe this bright fruity style is just that amazing, but I can’t get enough, and this Santa Barbara bash delivered with oranges taking center stage on every lucky guests’ place setting. Michael + Anna Costa Photo snapped up every detail and this gallery just might be my new go-to for the sunny days ahead.
From the beautiful Bride… On the morning of February 15, 2014, at the St. Regis in Punta Mita, Connor’s alarm went off at 6am. He awoke and told me he had set it because he wanted to watch the sunrise. This is not at all abnormal behavior for him so I told him to, “F off and go back to sleep.” No joke. He asked again and for whatever reason, I obliged.
We stepped outside the room and it was pitch dark. Epic fail by Google to determine the rising of the sun. The entire hotel was asleep but we managed to locate some coffee and sit in some chairs on the sand. We had the whole beach to ourselves. Once the sun started rising, we headed out on a walk. About three minutes into the walk, Connor reached for my hand to hold which was not typically how we strolled along the beach. I didn’t start to question it until his grasp got noticeably firmer and he began talking about us, our future and the rest of our lives.
The moment couldn’t have been more perfect. The sun was rising over the palm trees to one side and the waves from the ocean were crashing on the other. We were the only ones within sight when Connor got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. My eyes filled with tears and I was too stunned to speak. He prompted me, “Say something” “YES!”
We spent that morning laying in a hammock and soaking it all in before we called our family and friends to share the good news.
Reality set in as we realized that August 9th would be our wedding date. We did the majority of our planning from the beaches of Punta Mita. We booked HeartStone Ranch, ordered Save the Dates and began spreading the word before we even got back to the States.
Although I hadn’t spent my life planning my dream wedding, I had a very clear vision of what I wanted it to be – outdoors, simple, neutral with a beautiful pop of color, enough food and drink to keep everyone happy.
HeartStone Ranch was beyond beautiful on its own, with its rose gardens that I didn’t want to compete with it, but play to it. Tenley worked wonders with the simple arrangements – whites, greens and pale pinks with a gorgeous pop of orange compliments of the kumquats and oranges. This simple theme carried on throughout the wedding.
Some of my favorite memories and details include:
The first time I told Connor I loved him, I had a little too much El Buho, a mezcal that his buddy created. As a nod to the initial love story, we had him fly in a large number of bottles to be used used in our welcome cocktails for the wedding – a Watermelon Smash.
Our surprise ending to the night was a slider station and a create-your-own sundae station with frozen yogurt. Every Saturday night, Connor and I go to the same restaurant where we order a cheeseburger, a beer and chase it down with ice cream. It was a perfectly fitting way to end this night too.
We each wrote our own vows and didn’t share them with one another until the ceremony. I absolutely loved hearing and sharing these words for the first time in front of those people who mean the most in our lives. We have promised to bring them out to read again every anniversary.
This may be the only time in your life that everyone both you and your husband love are in the same place at the same time. Before you rush down the aisle after being pronounced, “husband and wife,” soak it all in. Say hello and chat with everyone at your wedding before it’s time for the dance party. This may be the only night of your life that you get to twirl with your husband in your wedding gown.
From Amber Weir Weddings & Events… Knowing all of her guests were coming from out of state, Laura really wanted to highlight Santa Barbara. Not only did we put together welcome bags with all local products, but she also wanted to highlight Santa Barbara’s natural beauty with the wedding design. Heartstone Ranch provided a beautiful garden setting. We complimented and enhanced that garden setting by using natural wood vineyard chairs, natural fiber table clothes with golden threads, and garden inspired floral arrangements in whites, greens, and orange tones. My favorite touch was the bright orange clementines placed on each plate to greet the guest and add a pop of color. Not to mention that Tenley Erin Young meticulously hand adorned each clementine with a beautiful green leaf!