I had been told multiple times throughout the wedding planning process that I was a “hands-on” bride. Even having a wedding planner and a team of professionals to work with, I loved being a big part of every wedding detail and decision We wanted our wedding to feel like us – under the Santa Barbara sun where we met and fell in love and surrounded by our favorite people. After booking our dream venue at The Biltmore and starting to pick the vendors, I knew I wanted to keep with the Biltmore’s California cool vibe. We were drawn to simple clean lines and classic white with a contemporary twist. We wanted our family and friends to fall in love with our city and kept that in mind with the details, including using some of our favorite Santa Barbara landmarks for the table names.
One of our favorite moments from that day was right after the ceremony. My husband and I went for a little walk on the beach before joining our guests for cocktail hour. We were overwhelmed with happiness and wanted to enjoy a few quiet moments together before we joined the party. We were very grateful to have a gifted photographer, Aurelia, and videographers, Aaron and Winston from Sun & Sparrow, to capture those moments and emotions for us. They gave us the greatest gift of all allowing us to re-live that day over and over through pictures and video.
FROM THE BRIDE // My wedding was one that I have always envisioned it to be. Everything materialized just the way I wanted. It was one of the most exciting event in my life and, you know, how they say that it is every little girl’s dream to wear a long white flowing beautiful wedding gown, holding a beautiful bouquet, walking down the aisles and a handsome smiling groom (Prince Charming) waiting at the altar, beautiful church and surrounded by loved ones and friends. I can say that my wedding was a success! I felt like a princess and it was a dream come true! It was perfect! Could not ask for anything more.
My favorite part of the event was walking down the aisles to meet my groom, being married to my best friend and the person who genuinely cares for me and who I care for. It was very exciting to see all my loved ones and friends coming from near and far to be there at the wedding, seeing their smiling faces and wishing me and my husband all good wishes. The walking down the aisleswas truly memorable to me because I had my dad walking with me, looking so sharp in his tuxedo and giving his full blessing to me and my husband. It was more of a feeling inside me that is somehow difficult to describe – the realization and excitement of having my own family other than my immediate family like my parents and siblings – but at the same time be united with someone who I know truly loves me and most importantly, being married in a church where I felt God’s presence and warm blessings. These feelings are remarkably unique that is beyond words to describe.
I have always wanted a wedding where the center of attention will be focused not only on the bride and groom but the beautiful flowers that will be everywhere, from the bouquets, the corsages and boutonnières to the church decoration, reception decoration the same floral theme echoed in the invitations, photobooth and table arrangements. I have gone through some wedding magazines in the past and have picked up ideas here and there but I had my own signature stamps on these as I envisioned flowers and floral arrangements with a variety of huge garden roses, peonies, dahlias in a variety of colors were the highlights. I was so glad and fortunate that my mom and I found the exact flowers that we wanted at the flower mart on the day that we came to buy them. By the way, we made multiple visits to the flower mart months before the wedding and made friends with the vendors who gave us good values for the flowers we wanted. I guess it also helped the fact that I am an artist and surrounded with a family of artists who I consulted and got ideas from. I wanted that part of my wedding to be unique and I think I was successful in that regard.
To me the best and important part about planning my wedding was having the right photographers to memorialize each and every step and every part of this memorable event. I had been so fortunate to have chosen Sun and Sparrow as my photographers. After looking at several vendors and the quality and type of work that they produced I narrowed my choice to these awesome group of ladies. They were responsive to all my requests and they actually had the unique ability to predict ahead of time what I wanted them to do as they do not need a lot of explanation on what I envisioned the photographs to be. We were just in the same wave lengths as them or maybe because they were just talented and artistic plus very perceptive to the wishes of the bride. I have to be honest that planning a wedding is not easy especially because I chose not to have a wedding planner because I just wanted to make sure that I will have a first-hand say on each aspect of the wedding and wantedeverything to be perfect. It helped to have the right people to help out with the details but to me the photographers were the most crucial part because if a person is to memorialize all the hard work, expense and details only the best photographers have the capability to do that.
My primary advice will be having the right people to help you plan your wedding such as immediate loved ones who know your likes and dislikes and who truly care for you — not because of the money you pay them to do the job.Additionally, planning a wedding is a task that cannot be done by one person even if a bride has a good wedding planner. There are still so many details that need to be looked at. Someone, not necessarily the bride, should make a grid that shows progress of planning, contact people, expense involved, source of funding, oversees a variety of tasks from start to finish. Without this grid and progress reports a bunch of important details will be forgotten or missed out. Have a variety of options just in case one plan does not work especially if there are other options that are similar to choose from. Pay attention to timelines because before you know it the wedding date is just around the corner. Always good to have more than less on anything but also pay attention to your budget. Be smart in finding out if there are certain aspects of the wedding that you can do yourself and not pay big bucks, such as making table signs and having these printed at CostCo instead of paying printing services companies big bucks. Be resourceful and do not be afraid to use the internet for help on anything related to the wedding. You never know what could be useful and helpful. Assign people to help you especially if they are willing to volunteer but make sure you provide extra details about how you want things done. Do not say no to “freebies”. Family members or even guests will volunteer a photo booth or a beautiful limo as gifts instead of the usual registry presents you and your groom are encouraging people to register. These “freebies” / presents turn out to be hits instead of the frying pans and bed sheets that you wished people will give you. My husband and I accepted these and we’re happy we did. Be flexible because not everything that you plan for will not happen as you cannot force certain individuals to do what you wish them to do all the time. Compromise because an unhappy and resentful bride will create an ugly and grumpy one who will not look good in pictures. I believe all the nitty gritty details will be forgotten including the stress associated with the planning but the pictures will stay forever so always have apositive attitude and disposition because whether you like it or not pictures will pick up everything.
FROM THE BRIDE // Michael and I have been writing our story for many years, our first chapter began in High school and has grown beautifully over the years. We have a beautiful family, with our little girl being our light, always smiling, loving and amazing. With the beginnings of our family, it was clear that it was time to get engaged!
Michael and I decided we needed little vacation time, so, just the two of us, we hopped in the car and headed up north Morro Bay. We stayed in a beautiful hotel on the water front, and enjoyed the coast in all its splendor! We visited the beautiful Hearst castle, watched the sea lions and their pups and strolled along the waters edge hand in hand, fully enjoying the time with one another. On our last night there we got dressed up a bit and went out to a lovely dinner, finished with a delicious desert and a late night walk. We stopped on a dock and enjoyed the fresh air and starlit night for a while, when it was time to head back to our room for the night,Michael grabbed by hand, got down on one knee and asked me marry him! And of course i said yes! We are ready to add another chapter to our wonderful story together!
Its been excitement buzzing while we plan our wedding and enjoy the celebrations with our family and friends!
FROM THE GROOM // Our wedding day was so special and spectacular to us. I loved every moment because every little bit of our day, every detail was from our hearts. We wanted a European feel to our wedding, but we also wanted to be close to home. So, we chose the Mission Inn in Riverside for several reasons. First, Alyshia had dreamt of getting married there since she was a young girl. Being able to make that dream come true for her was amazing. Second, the venue is breathe taking and ultimately the most romantic venue you can ever visit. Third, the St. Francis Chapel is gorgeous, all of our guests were amazed at how beautiful the church was. For me, the most memorable part of our wedding day is when Alyshia walked down the aisle. This is a moment that I will absolutely never forget. I remember a ‘flash monsoon’ thundering down outside and I had to wait extra long to see her. But when those doors opened, I saw a beautiful silhouette and it was hers. Just the rain and her. I will never forget that crazy storm that overtook us right in the at the start of our ceremony!! It was so awesome and spectacular. Let’s hope it brings us a lot of good luck!! Let me talk a little bit about our photographer. We chose Sun & Sparrow because we love how photography captures those special moments in time. We love how Sun & Sparrow captures and shares every story uniquely. Tiffani, Claudia, and Vanessa, did an amazing job making us feel comfortable in front of the camera. I tend to get shy and feel awkward while taking pictures but Tiffani definitely helped make us feel natural and relaxed. I appreciated that support even more when it came to helping Alyshia feel comfortable and confident even throughout the chaos of the flash flood around us. As we exit that stage of our lives and we look back on our wedding, I would love to give some advice to brides and grooms on their special day. Just enjoy it. Enjoy and soak in every moment. Some things may not go as planned but enjoy your special day to the fullest, no matter what.