Tell us the love story behind these incredible images, where did it all begin?
A: About two years ago, I visited my friends in Santa Barbara when I spied my best friend, Elizabeth, through the window of a little greenhouse on the corner of Yannonali Street. She ushered me into the party that was going on inside when I saw the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. Luckily I had a little bit of liquid courage, so I walked right up to June, and we hit it off immediately.
J: I was equally nervous to talk to her, and we had eyes for each other right when she walked in. When Annamarie moved up to Santa Barbara three months later, it was a no brainer to get a place together and start our lives as a couple. It has been magical ever since and has felt like two halves of a whole since day one. Later we discovered that Elizabeth had planned the entire meeting.
And, the proposal, we want to know the details!
A: We went on a camping trip to Plaskett Ridge in Big Sur. It’s an incredible peak that rises above the clouds. June put up tea lights on the trees around us, and it looked gorgeous. She put on the song “Harvest Moon” by Neil Young and asked me to dance with her. In the middle of our dance, she got down on one knee and asked me to marry her.
J: Our families were at a nearby campsite, and they surprised us all by celebrating with us that night. Thank god she said yes, or it would have been a very awkward weekend.
A: Initially our engagement was supposed to be a year, but we decided that we couldn’t wait. Eventually, we will re-do our vows with our friends and family in a party setting. We couldn’t say no to the opportunity to celebrate intimately in a very “us” way.
How would you describe the syle of your wedding day?
A: I think our style was both bohemian and fairy tale inspired, and we used the Hotel Californian’s Middle Eastern vibe as a guide as well. I am a huge fan of Disneyland, and in Disneyland, there is an area called “Adventureland” that is filled with beautiful flowers, hanging lanterns, and fairy lights that I have loved since I was a little girl.
J: I love Mediterranian simplicity, so I think that we came up with the perfect middle ground for both of the things we love.
How beautiful! Was the day everything you dreamt it would be?
A: Our wedding day started just the way we wanted, with breakfast and coffee in bed doing a crossword puzzle together. We got our hair and makeup done while chatting about our story and how we met, and then we helped each other into our dresses. I was nervous because June looked so gorgeous it felt like asking her out all over again.
J: I felt the same way. Every part of the day was special. We wanted photographs all around the grounds of the Hotel, and around Santa Barbara before saying our vows to one another in the most enchanted ceremony setup created by our florist. After saying “I Do,” we celebrated with champagne overlooking the ocean at sunset, taking a little break. At the same time, our fantastic planner and florist turned our ceremony into an intimate dinner setting for two. After dinner, we danced our ‘first dance’ to Harvest Moon and then many dances to follow. We then went out on the town to celebrate with our friends and family.
Advice for other couples planning a wedding?
A: I know it sounds wild, but just have as much fun as you can. It was easy for us because it was just us, but keeping it fun is key. You get to plan the best day of your life with the person you love most. We try to make every day special, and our wedding was a reflection of that- close, mindful, and fun.
J: Have perspective, and don’t let planning run your life leading up to the big day. We cut out time just to plan a little bit each day. So when the day finally came, we were ready and excited and not stressed and over it.
Anything you are glad you did? Or wish you didn’t do?
A: I was initially worried about keeping it just us, but I don’t regret it at all. We got to do exactly what we wanted to do without having to worry about a huge group of people.
J: I agree. I was worried we were going to hurt people’s feelings. But our close friends were most excited about the party anyway, and our families understand us more than anyone. Plus, we all got to celebrate afterward, so it did not feel like a moment missed.
Photographer Willa Kveta Photography
Bridal Boutique The Dress Bride
Cake Jeanines Bakery
Catering Hotel California
Celebrant & Planner Soigne Productions
Ceremony & Reception Venue Hotel California
Decorative Elements The Tent Merchant, Onyx and Redwood , La Tavola
Florist The Twisted Twig
Gown Designer Willow By Watters
H&MU Cheek to Cheek Artistry
Prop | Furniture Hire Elan Event Rentals
Stationery & Signage Penned by Shani