A Beautiful and Classic Santa Barbara Wedding

A couple gets married on the steps of the Santa Barbara Courthouse

When Jessica told me that she was envisioning a classic Santa Barbara wedding, I knew the day was going to be stunning. Santa Barbara is (in my opinion) one of the most beautiful places in California. With mountains, beaches, the amenities of a city and the feel of a small town, it is as close to perfect as I’ve found. Being able to photograph a wedding there in October? Even. Better.

The Back Story:

Hearing the story of how they started dating is so sweet. Their parents actually live on the same street, so they have known each other for about 20 years but didn’t start dating until they were living hundreds of miles away from each other!

In Jessica’s words:

“After several months of casually chatting, Daniel asked me to meet him out for a drink while he was in town visiting his parents (I lived in Tucson, he lived in LA at the time after law school). We met at Union Public house in Tucson. He was sitting with a girl and I walked in and remember feeling CRUSHED he brought a girl (a sign I had a slight inclination this could be something?)…turns out it was his cousin. We had drinks and went downtown where she left us for friends. We spent the rest of the night dancing and bar hopping and then spent the rest of the weekend together. A few days after he went back to LA I found flowers on my doorstep with a plane ticket to visit him the following weekend. We’ve been inseparable ever since!” and a few years later, they got engaged!

The Location:

The classic Santa Barbara wedding took place at 2 locations. The ceremony was at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse which has a few different locations on the property for ceremonies, and beautiful grounds for photos after.

The outside of the Santa Barbara County Courthouse

The reception took place at the Kimpton Canary Hotel. This gem in Santa Barbara has a rooftop area for outdoor receptions that features views of the ocean and the mountains.

The outside of the Kimpton Canary Hotel in Santa Barbara

The Wedding Day: Getting Ready

The morning of the wedding I walked into Jessica’s getting ready room. They chose to have a small, intimate wedding and no bridal party, so the bridal room was very calm and relaxed.

This wedding was very unique for me in that I had been involved with a lot of the prep and planning. I knew what all of her details looked like, and had been there when she picked out her wedding dress. I took her dress and details and began to photograph them. We took her dress up to the roof and captured it on film, and also got some photos of it hanging in the beautiful arched hallway in the room. The classic, clean silhouette of the dress was perfect for Jessica.

A classic Santa Barbara wedding dress

As expected for a classic Santa Barbara wedding, her details were clean and beautiful. And can we talk about her ring?! With a rose gold band and oval-cut diamond it could not have been more beautiful!

Wedding day details
Wedding day details, photos of jewelry, and wedding shoes
Photos of Wedding invitations
Bridal bouquet

Next I went and got Daniel for some getting ready photos. He looked very handsome in his navy blue tux and was so easy to photograph. 

A groom in a navy tux getting ready
A groom in a navy tux getting ready
A groom in a navy tux getting ready
A groom in a navy tux getting ready

After we finished off groom portraits, Daniel headed off to the first look location, and I went back upstairs to get Jessica.

She got into her dress with the help of her sweet mother and put on her jewelry and shoes.

A bride getting ready for her wedding with her mother
A bride getting ready for her wedding
A bride putting on her shoes before her wedding
Portraits of a bride holding her bouquet
Portraits of a bride holding her bouquet
Portraits of a bride holding her bouquet

The First Look:

I went ahead to the first look location and got Daniel set up. Daniel is usually on the more serious side, but you could see just how excited he was to see Jessica. As she walked up behind him, a giant grin broke out on his face. I stepped back and let them have this magical moment together.

A groom waiting to see his bride during their first look
A groom sees his bride in her wedding dress for the first time
A couple gets married on the steps of the Santa Barbara Courthouse

They chose to exchange private vows that they wrote to each other before the ceremony. It was such a sweet moment, and I am so honored that I was able to be there to hear their promises to each other. 

Bride and Groom Portraits during a classic Santa Barbara Wedding

The Ceremony:

The ceremony was in the beautiful Mural Room at the Santa Barbara Courthouse. Jessica and Daniel exchanged traditional vows in front of their closest family and friends and then it was official – they were married!

Bride and Groom Portraits during a classic Santa Barbara Wedding
Bride and Groom Portraits during a classic Santa Barbara Wedding

The Reception:

The reception was at the stunning Kimpton Canary Hotel on the roof. With the bistro lights (my absolute fav!!) and breathtaking views, it was like a dream. Jessica had picked very clean florals and table decor and oh my goodness did it photograph beautifully on film!

Wedding reception details
A rooftop wedding reception set up with bristro lights, chivari chairs, and simple, chic floral centerpieces

One of my favorite photos of the day is this one of Daniel. You can just feel his joy and excitement as he waited to be introduced with Jessica during their grand entrance.

Their first dance song was “Just The Way You Are” by Billy Joel and I will be the first to admit that I was using my camera to hide the fact that I was getting misty. It was such a sweet moment.

Jessica and Daniel – I can’t thank you both enough for trusting me with capturing your wedding day! I loved every single moment of it and wish you both a long and happy marriage!

Bride and Groom Portraits during a classic Santa Barbara Wedding

Vendor Credit:

Planning and Design: Embark Events Design (See our interview with owner Sarah here!)

Ceremony Venue: Santa Barbara Courthouse

Reception Venue: Kimpton Canary

Florals: Haute Blossoms

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