Heather & Rameen // Romantic Garden wedding in Santa Barbara

universtiy club wedding

©2015 Sun & Sparrow Photography // Romantic Garden wedding in Santa Barbara

how she did it

FROM THE BRIDE // From the beginning, my decor-planning philosophy has been to find a beautiful venue FIRST, and only after deciding on that, to start to think about the colors and centerpieces and whatnot. That way, we could avoid spending a ton of money simply trying to cover up what could be unique and beautiful venue features, just to fit with a predetermined color or theme decision. Rather, we decided to base our design around the existing details and feel of whichever location spoke to us. So right off the bat, Rameen and I began looking for a venue. We looked at everything from outdoor Spanish-style pavilions, to ballrooms, to wine cellars…. and pretty much everything in between. Once I found pictures of the Riviera Mansion online, however, I knew that we had found our wedding venue. The vintage furniture, gorgeous area rugs, and the hedged ceremony lawn all inspired me right off the bat. The mahogany-trimmed library really sealed the deal for me. As someone who feels most at home in a cozy room with a few books at hand, I could no longer imagine NOT having some wedding portraits done in such a beautiful library!
From that point on, all of our decor that we decided on– the brass candlesticks, the linens, the centerpieces, even our color scheme– was chosen in order to coordinate with and further enhance the glamorous, classic, and vintage aesthetic of the Mansion.

For me, the most memorable part of the evening was our first look. We put a lot of thought into whether or not we wanted to do a first look– as opposed to seeing eachother for the first time as I walked down the aisle. Ultimately, we decided that we would prefer to keep that moment a private experience, and I am SO glad that we did! After all of the morning hustle and bustle (getting my makeup on, hair done, bridesmaids ready to go, dress buttoned, etc etc), it seemed all the more special to have just a couple of minutes that were completely relaxed and personal.

Photography was near the top of the list in terms of priorities for Rameen and I. After all, we are only getting married one time in our lives– and there can be no do-overs or second-chances to catch special moments!
We wanted to choose a team that we trusted 110%, and that we were completely comfortable with as people. Sun and Sparrow fit that bill and then some! Ellie and Tiffani were not only great photographers, but were so incredibly helpful every step of the way, all the way from engagement to the day itself. From scheduling recommendations to fixing my hair to buttoning and bustling my dress, I really saw that they cared about Rameen and I having a special, beautiful, and stress-free day just as much as they did about providing us with gorgeous images. And that really meant everything to us.

The most beneficial thing to keep in mind, in my opinion, is that if you have hired vendors to make your wedding day beautiful, you should trust them to do just that! Rameen and I spent a LOT of time in the beginning stages of planning researching vendors who fit with our vision and our approach. We were VERY selective about who we chose, and really delved into portfolios of previous work, previous clients’ recommendations and reviews, and any provided proposals. Honestly, about 60% of the time we spent on the wedding was doing this start-up research.
However, all of that selectiveness meant that once we finally decided on someone whom we trusted for each aspect (flowers, cake, photography, etc), we could relax and just let the vendor do his/her thing. In my experience, if you hire professionals who share your vision, and then just give them the space and freedom to do what they do best, things will not only turn out beautiful, but everything will be a lot less stressful for you along the way!

My favorite part of being married is how comfortable it already feels to refer to eachother as “husband” and “wife.” I think I speak for both of us when I say that it is really amazing to settle comfortably into a more quiet sense of being and belonging together– past all of the wedding-planning craziness.


VENDORS //  Venue and Catering: Riviera Mansion, Santa Barbara //  Dress: Marisa 898 from Panache Bridal of Beverly Hills  // Jewelry: Heirloom (Bride’s Grandmother) // Shoes: Prada  // Hair and Makeup: Danielle from Bella Amore in Simi Valley  //  Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Watters from Lili Bridals // Groom/Groomsmen Suits: Macy’s Bar III  //  Groom/Groomsmen Ties: The Tie Bar  //   Floral: Rockrose Floral Design  // Month- and Day-of Coordination: Dana Gabriel at Orange Dove Events  // DJ: Paul at Escape Entertainment  // Cake: Nothing Bundt Cakes  // Officiant: Jeremy Bellamy //  Rentals (Linen, Umbrellas, and Chairs): The Tent Merchant  //  Calligraphy: Laura Lavender

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