Weddings bring people together. Case in point Michelle and Mike first met at another couple's nuptials in Los Angeles in October of 2012. Two years later, Mike popped the question and the two began planning their own special celebration. They gave themselves exactly one year to plan their celebration at the Bacara Resort and Spa in Santa Barbara, California, setting the date for May 9, 2015, and invited 500 guests to watch to them say "I do".
"We kept coming back to the phrase 'boho black tie,'" Michelle says of their vision for the wedding. "This meant keeping the wedding as relaxed and intimate as possible with our guest list, but also making sure it would turn into a wild dance party post ceremony." Debbie and Paige from Geller Events understood their aesthetic to a T and helped the bride and groom plan a party in shades of earthy neutrals and moody reds and purples — and one where the bulk of the action would take place after dark. Gia Canali documented every moonlit moment of their blowout bash. Read on to see how everything came together!
The Bacara Hotel and Spa afforded the couple out-of-this-world views of the Santa Barbara coastline. In keeping with their elegant-yet-earthy theme, Michelle and Mike decided on formal white invitations paired with an antiqued overlay.
Michelle chose a stunning Inbal Dror lace wedding dress, but further customized the elegant silhouette with a tulle overskirt from Romona Kaveza. She accessorized with a delicate bouquet of Lily of the Valley, her grandmother's vintage purse, earrings borrowed from her mother, and a bracelet on loan from Mike's mom. Her soft waves and natural makeup completed her bridal look.
Mike took note of the couple's black tie vibe and chose a classic tuxedo from Lanvin paired with a bowtie.
The bride asked her eight beautiful bridesmaids to choose any dress they liked for the wedding, as long as it had an earthy vibe. "They're all fashion-aware New York and Los Angeles based girls, so I felt comfortable leaving it up to them," Michelle says. Her faith in their fashion choices was totally understandable — can you believe this gorgeous look was entirely uncoordinated? Each lady carried a matching bouquet of white peonies.
Mike's groomsmen matched the ladies' formality in sharp tuxedos.
The couple's flower girls looked absolutely adorable in floor-length white dresses with lace sleeves.
Since the bride and groom wanted a dreamy, moonlit ceremony and reception, they had plenty of time to take portraits all around the stunning grounds of the Bacara Resort and Spa.
The ceremony was held on the property's lawn. There, rustic chairs were arranged around a wooden aisle that was lined with spirea, all facing a chuppah decorated with deep red peonies, dahlias, and roses.
As night fell, Michelle and Mike's flower girls kicked off the ceremony with their walk down the aisle and it's safe to say the three adorable attendants stole the show. After they made their way to the altar, the bride walked down the aisle with both her mother and father while musicians played instrumental versions of classic rock songs, including "Blackbird," "Forever Young," "I Wanna Hold Your Hand," "Fools Rush In," and "She's Got a Way."
In addition to their traditional Jewish ceremony, the bride and groom shared personalized vows. Once the pair was pronounced husband and wife, a flurry of white flower petals fell across the ceremony.
Guests moved inside for the couple's reception, and while tables were elegantly set with arrangements of dahlias, roses, lavender, and tulips, dinner wasn't served at a set time. Instead, Michelle and Mike chose to have their meal come out over the course of the whole evening so as not to slow down the party mood they were going for. "It definitely had a heavy Mediterranean influence," says Michelle. "My mother personally taught the head chef a signature Persian rice dish that we served." For those that wanted to enjoy a seated meal, decorative white place settings and lots of flowers and candlelight created a cozy atmosphere.
The bride and groom's signature drinks, an Old Fashioned and Cucumber Gin cocktail, were both a hit with guests.
Michelle and Mike made sure their reception was tons of fun with both a live band and a DJ. The party was so much fun, in fact, that it went on well into the next day. "We both come from pretty large, rowdy families so keeping the dancing going until 4 a.m. was pretty indicative of us," the bride says.
"Laugh a lot," Michelle advises future brides. "And don't forget, nobody likes a diva!"
Venue & Catering: Bacara Resort & Spa || Wedding Planner: Geller Events || Bride's Wedding Dress: Inbal Dror || Florist: The Velvet Garden || Invitations & Paper Products: Tiny Pine Press || Videographer: Elysium Productions || Photographer: Gia Canali
Can't get enough of this beautiful wedding? Then check out another couple's Santa Barbara nuptials in the video below.