A Sophisticated Beachfront Wedding in Santa Barbara, CA

Real Weddings

When Kevin Burns was 17, he asked Coral Ashen, then 16, to be his date to their high school's homecoming. After that, they began dating and stayed together through college, then moved to New York City together while Kevin attended medical school. Ten years (to the day!) after their first date, Kevin, 28, asked Coral, 27, to be his wife while at their favorite lakeside spot in Central Park.

The following summer, they planned an understated but modern wedding with the help of Melissa Churlonis of Mary Dann Wedding Coordinators. On July 18, 2014, they tied the knot at a private home by the beach in Santa Barbara, CA during an intimate ceremony with just over 60 guests. "We always knew we would have a backyard wedding on the beach," Coral says. "Everything was perfect."

Read on to see all the ocean-inspired details, photographed by Christa Strick.

For a timeless look, Coral chose a flowing Reem Acra gown with jeweled cap sleeves. "I wanted something that would elegantly float with the breeze," she says. Her custom pearl-and-crystal sandals were hand-crafted by Capritouch at Bloomingdale's to match the dress. For another touch of sparkle, she wore a diamond bracelet given to her by her aunt. "I decided against a veil," she says. "I'm not very traditional and I didn't think it was necessary."

Kevin went for a sleek, but laid back look with a Hugo Boss tuxedo and bow tie. His Tiffany & Co. cuff links, a gift from Coral, were engraved with his and her initials.

Coral's small nosegay bouquet brought together a mix of white ranunculus, grey berries and dusty miller. Her bridesmaids wore an array of silver and grey knee-length dresses. "They each picked a different style and I loved the eclectic look that felt relaxed with just a hint of glam," Coral says. The groomsmen were fitted with charcoal suits and skinny black ties.

Kevin and Coral used the Santa Barbara Beach Club's wooden deck as their aisle, flanking it with white Chiavari chairs. Instead of extravagant decoration, the couple opted to use the ocean as their backdrop, adding only small white arrangements of hydrangeas and calla lilies at each side of the altar.

The couple wrote their own vows, and a long-time friend officiated. "It was very simple," says Coral.

The couple set one long king's table for their tight-knit group of guests. Dinner took place beneath a trellis draped in billowing sheer white fabric and embellished with nine crystal chandeliers, drenching the space in a breezy, whimsical feeling during the afternoon and a soft glow after sunset.

To mirror the setting, the couple chose a crisp and neutral palette for the reception. Statement pieces like white coral and antique silver and pewter vessels added texture and dimension to the soft cream dahlia, rose, and hydrangea centerpieces. The menus and place cards were letterpressed with dove grey ink on thick white cardstock, using bold typography with clean lines.

After a meal of halibut and beef tenderloin with chimichurri, guests indulged in one of three cakes created by Enjoy Cupcakes. One was pineapple-coconut, the second was vanilla and salted toffee and the third — a two-tiered confection — was triple chocolate on the bottom and red velvet on top. A finishing layer of smooth white buttercream and a cluster of fresh blooms (as well as modern metal cake toppers) kept the cakes in line with the couple's sleek and minimal aesthetic.

During the reception, guests toasted with wine from Coral's family winery, Zotovich Family Vineyard in Santa Rita Hills. After dinner, everyone dispersed to dance inside the living room, cozy up around the bonfire to roast s'mores, and share stories in the sand at the end of the night. Says Coral, "It was so hard to go back to real life after such an amazing weekend!"

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Santa Barbara Beach Club || Wedding Coordinator: Mary Dann Wedding Coordinators || Bride's Wedding Dress: Reem Acra || Shoes: Capritouch || Hair: Patti Ashen of Shanghai Salon || Makeup: Nickie of Luna Bella Makeup || Mother of the Bride's Dress: Max Mara || Groom's Suit: Hugo Boss || Wedding Bands: Tiffany & Co. || Floral Design: Blue Magnolia || Invitations & Paper Goods: Paper Plane Paperie || Catering: Duo Events || Cake: Enjoy Cupcakes || Rentals: Town and Country Distinctive Event Rentals || Photo Booth: ThoughtBox Photo Booth || Favors: Sweet and Saucy Shop || Live Painter: Chris Potter || Videographer: Turned Wedding Films || Photographer: Christa Strick Photography

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