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Intimate European Inspired Santa Barbara Wedding

Ashley and Eric's spring wedding in Santa Barbara had all the classic elegance of an intimate European celebration! With black tie style, a string trio and a decadent four-course plated dinner, their wedding day hinted at the romance of Paris. Jennifer Lourie Photography captured their day!

An intimate European inspired Santa Barbara wedding in California

An intimate Santa Barbara wedding inspired by European elegance by Jennifer Lourie Photography

Eric and I have been together almost eight years. We met and fell in love in Chicago, and then moved together across the country to Los Angeles, where we live now. In 2015, Eric pulled off an amazing surprise proposal. I was traveling with my mom and my aunt, and since Eric had been away on business before I left on my trip, I hadn’t seen him in almost a month. On our first night in Paris, my mom said she had something planned for us and had me get dressed up. We took a taxi to the Pont de Bir-Hakeim, a gorgeous bridge that overlooks the Eiffel Tower, and then, all of a sudden, there was Eric. It was such a surprise, and so perfect! We both loved Paris and it will always be special to us.

When we started to plan our wedding, we threw around a lot of different ideas before we decided to move forward with our final plan. Because our friends and families are spread out all across the US, anywhere we decided to have the wedding, many of our guests would be traveling, essentially making it a destination wedding. We decided to make it easier on ourselves and plan close to our home, but didn’t want to do it in Los Angeles and have our guests deal with the city and crazy traffic they weren’t familiar with. We looked at a few places in Santa Barbara, which is a beautiful place to visit, and just fell in love with the Fess Parker.

We wanted our wedding to be very intimate, and we also wanted it to be a very elegant, decadent affair, with a lot of dancing. So we had fifty guests and a delicious four-course plated dinner. I wanted to bring a very classic, black-tie feeling to the whole event – we had a string trio for the ceremony and cocktail hour and our first dance was a waltz. I also wanted to reference Paris in little places here and there, so the tables were named for places that Eric and I had visited together in Paris, and we served macarons (from Bottega Louie in LA) as part of the dessert table. I did a lot of things for the wedding myself, partly to keep costs down, and partly because I knew I could. I designed and made the programs, the escort and place cards, and the menus. I also sourced and crafted all of the decor with some help from my best lady. I made hundreds of tissue paper flowers for the escort card display, and put together a memorial photo collection for the welcome table. I also made my own wedding cakes! I love to bake and really wanted to do this for my guests. Though I had a couple moments of doubt, I am so glad I decided to go for it. I baked all the cakes myself, and then the day before the wedding, my mother, my aunt, and my best lady spent the morning making all the frostings and decorating them. I had four different flavors and they all turned out wonderful! We received so many compliments on them, and now we can have our wedding cake whenever we want!

We also made amazing choices in our vendors. All of them were a joy to work with and really came through for us on the day. Our wedding turned out exactly as we wanted. The feeling of being surrounded by so much love is amazing, and just what we dreamed of when we decided to get married and share it with the people closest to us. Our guests came from Illinois, Washington, Oregon, South Dakota, Kentucky, New York, Texas, Arizona, and California – our favorite part of the wedding was just having everyone all together. It was such a special day for us and we are so happy to be married! – Ashley

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