A Low-Key Luxe Destination Wedding at Belmond El Encanto in Santa Barbara

Planned by Wild Heart Events

Updated 11/27/19

 Photo by Belathée Photography

When asked how she met now-husband Jesse Amoroso, Jordyn Shaffer has both a short and long answer. The short? They met through mutual friends in September 2013. And, the long: "I had such a crush on Jesse and asked my uncle, who did business with him, to set us up. I also asked a mutual friend to introduce us," she admits. "Between these recommendations and several run-ins throughout the summer, my campaigning was successful—Jesse finally ended up asking me out!"

Four years later, Jesse asked Jordyn another question, this time, proposing at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania right before Christmas. "I have an affinity for gardens," Jordyn says. "We ended up getting married at a lily pond for our ceremony so it came full circle that he proposed to me there." On April 21, 2018, Jordyn and Jesse said "I do" in front of the lily pond at Belmond El Encanto in Santa Barbara, California, a place they found after months of searching. "Our venue search was quite complicated! We looked everywhere from the Bahamas to Palm Beach," Jordyn admits. "But the Belmond El Encanto in Santa Barbara seemed to embody exactly what we had been seeking: laidback California luxury with a dose of Old Hollywood."

Nestled in the hills overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the Philadelphia-based couple—she's the chief brand officer at the startup Clove; he's the vice president at Amoroso's Bakery—combined the venue's laid-back look with their "effortless, minimalist" vision to host a destination wedding weekend that was equal parts chic, carefree, and fun. And while the big day itself emanated cool California vibes, Jordyn and Jesse made sure to pay homage to their East Coast roots with unique, personalized touches—and, naturally, Philly cheesesteaks!

Keep reading to see how Jesse and Jordyn's wedding weekend, including their fun-filled pool party, fiesta-themed welcome dinner, and black-tie ceremony, came together in a low-key luxe celebration planned by Wild Heart Events and captured by Belathée Photography.

minimalist california celebration, opera glasses wedding invitation
Photo by Belathée Photography 
minimalist california celebration, welcome bags
Photo by Belathée Photography 

To set the tone for the festivities to come, Jesse and Jordyn enlisted TPD Design House to create an invitation that was totally unique but also small enough to send in the mail. The end result? A lucite box filled with mini opera glasses that read, “See you on the West Coast!” "Though retro, the invite itself and the lucite box the glasses came in were quite modern," Jordyn says. "Above all, this informed our guests that this was not going to be a traditional wedding!

Once in California, guests were welcomed with farmer's market-style welcome bags stuffed with personalized bottles of olive oil, paper-wrapped baguettes, and other local favorites.

minimalist california wedding, bride and groom kissing swimsuits
Photo by Belathée Photography 
minimalist california wedding, bride pool float
Photo by Belathée Photography 
minimalist california celebration, bride eating hamburger
Photo by Belathée Photography 

Taking advantage of the wedding venue’s expansive list of amenities was a given, so the couple kicked off the weekend with a pool party on Friday afternoon. Throughout the weekend, Jordyn and Jesse made a point to deliver "themed gifts" to party-goers before each event—and this occasion called for sunscreen and floating koozies. Of course, the California get-together was complete with a local culinary staple: In-N-Out burgers!

minimalist california celebration, bride in swimsuit pool party
Photo by Belathée Photography 
minimalist california wedding, initial earrings
Photo by Belathée Photography

While poolside, Jordyn sported a bright bikini by Kirna Zabete and initial earrings in honor of her soon-to-be last name. 

minimalist california wedding, bride and groom dancing
Photo by Belathée Photography 

Later that night, the duo swapped their swim gear for chic rehearsal dinner looks. Jordyn took to a white Roksanda jumpsuit, silver Azzedine Alaïa heels, and a pair of “something blue” earrings from her mother.

minimalist california celebration, bright rehearsal dinner flowers
Photo by Belathée Photography
minimalist california wedding, bright rehearsal dinner place settings
Photo by Belathée Photography 

The rehearsal dinner took place on the MOXI rooftop at The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation, so guests took trolleys into town. Once at the museum, everyone explored the exhibitions before the couple served up scenic views alongside Mexican-focused fare, cotton candy, a live reggae band, vibrant florals, and Spanish tile place cards. “Our rehearsal dinner was the ultimate fiesta filled with color and whimsy,” Jordyn says.

wedding party
 Photo by Belathée Photography
bride and groom
Photo by Belathée Photography

The next morning, everyone—including the wedding party and bride and groom—traded in their casual California looks for elevated, black-tie attire. Jordyn wore an off-the-shoulder, Chantilly lace gown by Ines di Santo, while Jessie opted for plaid, double-breasted dinner-jacket. 

minimalist california wedding, bridesmaid holding lillies
Photo by Belathée Photography
minimalist california wedding, guests at ceremony
Photo by Belathée Photography 

Jordyn’s bridesmaids kept it classic in black dresses of their choosing with bouquets of calla lilies to match her own.

minimalist california wedding, parents walking bride down aisle
Photo by Belathée Photography
minimalist california wedding, mother and father of the bride walking down aisle
Photo by Belathée Photography 

The bride's parents escorted her down Belmond El Encanto’s lily pond bridge. The "aisle" was surrounded by candles as guests looked on from either side. 

minimalist california wedding, bride and groom ceremony tulip chuppah
Photo by Belathée Photography  

Surrounded by the walled gardens of the ceremony site, the event décor took on a clean, all-white palette that felt unexpectedly modern given the romantic surroundings. There, the couple exchanged vows beneath a custom chuppah that was made from upside-down tulips and inspired by the Japanese art of flower arrangement, Ikebana. Fittingly enough, the bride’s uncle (who first introduced the couple!) officiated the ceremony. 

minimalist california wedding, bride and groom recessing
Photo by Belathée Photography  
minimalist california wedding, bride and groom holding hands ceremony
Photo by Belathée Photography 

The couple filled the ceremony, including the processional and recessional, with instrumental versions of our classic rock tunes.

minimalist california wedding, pool cocktail hour
Photo by Belathée Photography  

At cocktail hour, guests mingled near the pool and took in scenic views just before sunset. "We didn’t have to pick between mountain views or ocean views because the hotel is literally situated in the hills overlooking the Pacific," Jordyn says of the location. "We were able to utilize every aspect of the hotel from Thursday through Sunday."

minimalist california wedding, bride and groom with opera glasses
Photo by Belathée Photography 
minimalist california wedding, bride and groom dancing
Photo by Belathée Photography  

At cocktail hour, the newlyweds—who pride themselves on their dance moves—posed for some frame-worthy snaps, including one with the glasses from their invitation suite.

minimalist california wedding, acrylic escort cards
Photo by Belathée Photography 
minimalist california wedding, black and white reception decor
Photo by Belathée Photography  

The terrace reception also offered prime views of Santa Barbara, which is why the pair chose to go light on the design elements. “My goal was for the décor to allow the venue’s greenery, florals, and stunning vistas to be the focal points,” adds the bride. Each table was decorated with mini “zen gardens” and dramatic black-and-white place settings. 

minimalist california wedding, reception twinkle lights
Photo by Belathée Photography 

They did, however, accentuate the al fresco allure with a pergola covered in twinkle lights. As for dinner, Jordyn says they wanted the menu to have an authentic West Coast feel, so they served halibut, filet mignon, farm-fresh sides, and a family-style heirloom tomato carpaccio topped with California olive oil.

minimalist california wedding, caramel drizzled wedding cake
Photo by Belathée Photography  
minimalist california wedding, donut dessert
Photo by Belathée Photography  

Guests also munched on a classic dulce de leche cake with caramel drips and hot donuts from a chef-manned station.

minimalist california wedding, bride dancing afterparty
Photo by Belathée Photography 
minimalist california wedding, bride and groom kissing afterparty
Photo by Belathée Photography  

To cap off the wedding weekend, Jesse and Jordyn put on their dancing shoes for an ‘80s-themed, Miami Vice-inspired after-party. (Jordyn also slipped into a silver sequin Alex Perry dress!) A Prince-filled playlist kept everyone on their feet amid the checkered dance floor, indoor palm trees, and a few disco balls. Meanwhile, a food truck stopped by for some late-night bites, serving Philly cheesesteaks with rolls from the groom’s family bakery. 

All in all, Jordyn advises that couples planning stay true to their style—whatever that may be! “Use this as an opportunity to express who you are as a couple,” she says. “Ignore the trends and Instagram moments and pay attention to what resonates with you.”

Venue, Catering, Cake, & Accommodations: Belmond El Encanto || Wedding Planner: Wild Heart Events || Bride's Dress: Ines di Santo || Bride's Veil: The Wedding Shoppe || Bride's Shoes: Manolo Blahnik || Hair & Makeup: SB Hair and Makeup || Mother of the Bride Dress: Azzedine Alaïa || Groom's Attire: Ralph Lauren || Mother of the Groom Dress: Brandon Maxwell || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Haddonfield Fine Jewelers || Floral Design: Louloudi || Invitations: Two Paper Dolls || Paper Products: Sophia Loves Letters || Music: Supermoon DJs, West Coast Music || Rentals: Party Pleasers, Bella Vista Designs || Transportation: SB Trolleys | Videography: Daniel Chae || Photography: Belathée Photography || Rehearsal Dinner Venue: The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation || Bride's Rehearsal Dinner Look: Roskanda || Rehearsal Dinner Floral Design: Idlewild || Rehearsal Dinner Rentals: Ventura Party Rentals || Rehearsal Dinner Cotton Candy: Haute Sugar Co. || Rehearsal Dinner Linens: La Tavola Fine Linen Rental

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