For Lauren and Matthew, their wedding day was all about family: Theirs, which is how they met; and the new one they created together.
The couple, who met in 2008 while attending college in Santa Barbara (where they still live today!), became engaged in 2015. They picked a date for the following year, choosing June because that’s when Lauren’s grandparents got married decades ago. “We were inspired by them,” says Lauren. “They were married 65 years.”
With their venue, the Hotel Californian picked out almost as soon as they got engaged, and with a ceremony officiated by Matthew’s grandpa on their wish list since the beginning, it was support from friends and creativity that led to this gorgeous celebration.
You’re probably wondering how they met. As university students in Santa Barbara, California, they were introduced by a mutual friend at a local bar. After their initial encounter, they grew to be good friends. Years later in 2015, Alex proposed at an outdoor café near campus and the couple married just one year later on December 11th!
The Emerald Coast is known for its beautiful beaches and shopping districts which makes it the perfect location for any bride looking for something more casual than traditional bridal gowns. The couple chose this location because both are from Florida so it made sense that their wedding experience would be similar to what they had grown up with there: relaxed & fun!
“We Wanted Our Wedding to Feel Timeless, Beautiful, and Relaxed”
“We wanted our wedding to feel timeless, beautiful, and relaxed,” Lauren says of the color scheme. The couple was married on a sunny summer day at the Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens with an outdoor reception, where they made use of a gorgeous view of the Pacific Ocean in their backyard.
The ceremony was held under a white canopy, where Lauren and her bridesmaids wore floor-length white gowns accented with emerald jewelry. “Our bouquets were also green and simple just flowers that we picked from outside,” she says. For dinner at the reception, guests enjoyed a classic meal of steak and potatoes that was served family-style on long tables covered in ivory tablecloths with gold linens underneath them for extra warmth during dinner service. A local bakery provided two cakes: one for cutting into slices (a rich chocolate cake) and one for taking home as favors after dinner (a raspberry torte). “They both turned out perfect!” says Lauren.”
“I knew I wanted to be married at the Hotel Californian,” she says. “The architecture is gorgeous, the rooms are beautiful and it is walking distance from where we used to hang out when we were dating.”
It’s a perfect venue for a destination wedding. Not only does it have a historic charm that complements any wedding style, but its location in Santa Barbara gives guests plenty of options for afternoon activities before and after the ceremony. The hotel has an indoor pool and spa, so you can plan an elegant afternoon tea or cocktail hour with your closest friends before heading over to the beach for more fun.
For the couple, their love story began in 2008 at Santa Barbara City College. “We were both attending school here and we didn’t meet until late into the first semester of our junior year,” says the bride. “We became friends through mutual friends and it just kind of grew from there.”
Shortly after they began dating, the bride proposed to her now-husband on a trip to Big Sur. She had planned an intimate picnic for them along a cliffside trail overlooking the ocean, complete with champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries (a nod to their favorite dessert). But when they arrived at the spot where she wanted to propose, they discovered that there was a wedding party already set up on top of their intended location! Instead of giving up entirely though, she quickly came up with Plan B: They would hike up past where everyone else was having lunch or hanging out and wait for them there instead then surprise them with an engagement photo shoot as soon as everyone left!
“Here Comes the Sun”
After Lauren’s dad walked her down the aisle to a five-piece string band playing “Here Comes the Sun,” it was time for the wedding party. The couple got married at the Hotel Californian in downtown Santa Barbara, and their reception was held on its lush lawn overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
The couple’s color palette included shades of emerald green, with gold accents throughout their decorating scheme. You can see how these colors were used in all aspects of their wedding: from their floral arrangements to their table settings and even on an arch that they hired a designer to create for them!
To sum up this lovely wedding: as any timeless affair should be, it was classy, classic, and elegant with just enough modern flair thrown in there to keep things fun!
The Pair Wrote Their Vows
Writing your vows is a special way to express your love for the person you’re about to wed. Vows are incredibly personal, and hearing the words that someone has written especially for you can be a very moving experience. The bride and groom wrote their vows, which made their intimate ceremony even more special.
The couple shared these sentiments in their vows:
- “I love you because you make me laugh when I want to cry because when we argue, it’s still fun; because I think of you as my best friend, my lover, and my equal.”
- “You are my soulmate; my partner in crime; my other half; yours were the first arms that ever held me close enough so I could fall asleep without being afraid; mine was the first lips that ever kissed yours with this same sense of belonging.”
A Cocktail Hour
A cocktail hour followed including passed appetizers like arancini and mini lobster rolls. Guests were seated at tables of four to six and a full dinner menu was served, with options ranging from filet mignon to chicken marsala. The cake was made by a local bakery and featured buttercream icing infused with lavender.
The Ambiance of Dinner Reception
Guests then made their way into the dinner reception, which was styled with garlands of olive branch leaves, succulents, and floral arrangements in shades of white and green. The tables were decorated with green and white table runners as well as centerpieces made from floral arrangements in shades of white, red, and pink.
The three-course meal began with a salad course; followed by chicken; then finally ended on a sweet note with dessert: chocolate mousse cake (and mini cupcakes for kids). It was catered by the hotel’s on-site restaurant that specializes in fresh local ingredients prepared by executive chef Robert Morrissey.
The couple chose to serve guests at their tables which were set up so they could easily visit around the room to encourage social interaction throughout the evening.
Tires of the Cake
The five-tiered buttercream-frosted cake was topped with fresh flowers in shades of green and white. The bottom tier was adorned with a hand-painted design that matched the wedding invitations perfectly.
The bride’s mother and father were happy to see their daughter’s dream come true on her special day, which is why they made sure that they were able to provide this experience for her and all of those who attended her wedding ceremony.
In the end, Lauren and Brodie walked away with a unique experience that celebrated their relationship in a way that was beautiful, intimate, and perfect for them.