An Elegantly Rustic Dinner Party Wedding in Santa Barbara

A path lit with over 200 candles led guests to the greenhouse reception.

Laura and Danny hugging each other during the first look

Photo by Tara Johansen

After a mutual friend set them up, Laura Taubman and Danny Barton agreed to go on a blind date in August of 2018. The two arranged to meet for drinks at a spot in Los Angeles, but their connection was so strong that they decided to extend the date into dinner. They ended up talking for over three hours. At the end of the night, Laura and Danny were hesitant to part ways, so they continued texting one another for another four hours. 

Three years later, Danny booked a romantic night away with Laura at Thacher House in California’s Ojai Valley. Since the region was one of the first places the couple visited together and was where Laura attended sleep-away camp every summer growing up, it held a special place in their hearts. After the duo stepped foot in the property’s Carriage Housecomplete with over 14,000 vinyl recordsDanny got down on one knee. “Danny and I still laugh that I never actually accepted his proposal,” Laura reflects. “I was so giddy and excited in the moment that I just wrapped my arms around him and kissed him.” 

The couple wanted to tie the knot right away, so they planned an entire wedding in just four months. Two weeks before the big day, their initial venue fell through, so it was back to the drawing board. When Laura and Danny were originally searching for their locale, they fell in love with Dos Pueblos Orchid Farm in Santa Barbara, but they thought the greenhouse would be too big for their intimate wedding of 50 guests. After their first venue never came to fruition, the farm was still on their mind. “We looked at a couple venues, but nothing felt right,” Laura says. “I kept comparing everything to Dos Pueblos Orchid Farm, and I knew it just had to be there.” When they learned that the venue was available for their December 19, 2021 wedding date, it was fate.

The setbacks didn’t stop there, however. Since Covid surged the month of the couple’s wedding, almost half of their guests canceled at the last minute. The pair went from 50 guests to 27 guests a day before they said “I do.” Luckily, these unforeseen circumstances didn’t undermine the bride and groom’s special day. “The love and kindness we felt from our family and friends who both showed up and came together to make our wedding happen was beyond compare,” Laura reminisces. “The group was small but mighty! Those who came did so with hearts so full that not even Omicron could deter them. They traveled from England, France, the Midwest, and the East Coast and showed up with the fullest of hearts, showering us with love, excitement, and a dance floor that never stopped rocking!”

After multiple setbacks, Laura and Danny finally became husband and wife at an organic wedding, painted in a neutral color palette and decorated with greenery, wildflowers, and wooden materials. Keep scrolling to see how they pulled out all the stops, planned by Trisha Haner and photographed by Tara Johansen.

Laura and Danny holding hands at their rehearsal dinner

Photo by Tara Johansen

Laura and Danny's rehearsal dinner tablescape

Photo by Tara Johansen

Since the bride and groom experienced a last-minute wedding venue cancellation, they also had to scramble to find a new rehearsal dinner venue. A few days before their nuptials, Laura and Danny came across The Valley Project, the same wine tasting room they visited on their first trip to Santa Barbara three-and-a-half years before. With delicious catering by Le Great Outdoor and heartfelt toasts from friends, it ended up being the perfect place to gather their guests for a pre-wedding party. 

For the occasion, the bride donned a strapless printed Johanna Ortiz dress with black Givenchy heels. The groom suited up in black and slipped on white sneakers for contrast.

Laura getting her hair curled with baby's breath

Photo by Tara Johansen

As someone who works for NuFACE, the bride-to-be classifies herself as a skincare fanatic. So to prep her skin before the big day, she diligently used her NuFACE Trinity. Since Laura doesn’t usually wear a lot of makeup on a daily basis, she chose an elevated look for her wedding. Her makeup artist, Ashley Cornett, describes it as “classic, effortless glamor” with “a dash of California cool.” Ashley painted a soft nude shade on the bride’s eyelids and brushed her skin with bronzer. For her hairstyle, Laura wanted loose waves, and her hairstylist, Trina Duarte, individually sewed baby’s breath into her locks.

Laura's lace wedding dress with a V-shaped back

Photo by Tara Johansen

For her nuptials, Laura sported a floral lace gown with a deep V-neck and an open back by Mira Zwillinger. “There was just something special about it,” the bride says of her getup. “It was one of the first dresses I tried on, and every dress I tried on after couldn’t compare.” 

She paired her elegant ensemble with white Christian Louboutin stiletto pumps, floral diamond drop earrings that once belonged to her great-great-grandmother, and a diamond tennis bracelet that Danny gifted her on her birthday.

Laura laughing with her dad after the father-daughter first look

Photo by Tara Johansen

It was a really happy and beautiful moment, filled with giddy laughter and lots of excitement.

Laura and Danny's first look

Photo by Tara Johansen

After Laura debuted her dress to her dad for the first time, the bride showed off her attire to Danny during their first look. Danny also revealed his outfit, a black Lanvin suit. “It was a really happy and beautiful moment, filled with giddy laughter and lots of excitement,” Laura recalls. “We were just so happy that the day was finally here. With everything that had transpired in the last two days before the wedding, getting to this moment held deeper significance—our wedding day was here and happening.” 

Laura's bouquet of white wildflowers and greenery

Photo by Tara Johansen

Laura and Danny walking beneath a concave of trees

Photo by Tara Johansen

The future newlyweds also used their first look as an opportunity to document the moment and take a minute to reflect. “Despite all of the craziness and chaos, I never lost sight of the bigger picture,” Laura shares. “We were marrying each other and committing to spending the rest of our lives together. Ultimately, that’s all we wanted.” The bride made sure to capture her bouquet of white wildflowers and greenery, which coordinated perfectly with her bridal whites.

Laura and her bridesmaids in mismatched dresses

Photo by Tara Johansen

Danny and his groomsmen in different suits

Photo by Tara Johansen

Instead of prescribing a certain look, Laura wanted her bridesmaids to wear something they felt comfortable in. “It was more important to me that they felt beautiful than having them all match,” the bride explains. “In the end, I think all of their outfits played really nicely together.” Without planning it, two of her bridal party members ended up wearing emerald green dresses. Danny’s groomsmen also picked out their own attire.

Laura and Danny's waterfront ceremony and floral chuppah

Photo by Tara Johansen

The ceremony took place on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Guests sat on wooden benches lined with organic arrangements of wildflowers and greenery. “The pieces were designed to feel like a running garden on each side of the aisle,” Laura notes. A floral chuppah, wrapped in Laura’s grandfather’s tallit, stood at the center of the setup. “He was unable to attend due to COVID, so it was special to have a piece of him there with us,” Laura shares.

Laura walking down the aisle with both parents

Photo by Tara Johansen

Both of Laura’s parents escorted the bride down the altar while a string trio played “8 (Circle)” by Bon Iver.

Laura and Danny standing at the altar with their arms around each other

Photo by Tara Johansen

Laura laughing while Danny recites his personalized vows

Photo by Tara Johansen

We laughed and cried as we read the vows we had written.

Danny breaking the glass

Photo by Tara Johansen

The duo followed a Jewish wedding ceremony, but they infused it with personal touches. The bride and groom asked Rabbi Naomi Levy to officiate the vow swap. It full-circle moment as the rabbi blessed Laura at her baby-naming ceremony when she was a newborn.

The pair also wrote their own vows, which coincidentally referenced many of the same moments from their relationship. “We laughed and cried as we read the vows we had written,” Laura remembers. “There was so much emotion, and the words we shared will forever be precious to us and made the ceremony feel very honest and pure.”

Laura and Danny sharing their first kiss

Photo by Tara Johansen

Laura and Danny's recessional with their dog ring bearer

Photo by Tara Johansen

After sharing their first kiss at sunset, the newlyweds’ ring bearer, their Australian Labradoodle named George, accompanied them back up the aisle during the recessional. “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles aptly wafted around them. “Out of all the incredible moments of the weekend, the ceremony stands out as the most special since it was the moment in which we became husband and wife…family,” Laura expresses.

Laura and Danny holding hands and running toward the ocean

Photo by Tara Johansen

Laura and Danny taking portraits in front of the ocean

Photo by Tara Johansen

After they were pronounced husband and wife, Laura and Danny snapped photos with the ocean views on full display. 

Laura and Danny's greenhouse reception with hanging greenery and string lights

Photo by Tara Johansen

After the vow exchange, guests walked down a path lined with 200 candles until they reached the illuminated greenhouse reception space. “The 40-foot ceilings and steel framed windows provided the perfect blank canvas to bring our vision to life,” Laura says. To execute their “rustic elegance” aesthetic, the couple embraced natural textures, like exposed wood, and had the ceiling engulfed in vines, glass orbs with tea light candles, and twinkle lights.

Laura and Danny's wooden bar

Photo by Tara Johansen

Sticking with the organic feel, friends and family grabbed drinks from a wooden bar flanked with assortments of wildflowers. The couple served seven different signature cocktails, from margaritas to dirty martinis.

Laura and Danny's tablescape with floral centerpieces and candles

Photo by Tara Johansen

Laura and Danny's places set with engraved napkin rings, white napkins, and white plates

Photo by Tara Johansen

Each table boasted centerpieces of sweet pea, scabiosa, larkspur, herbs, and vines planted in garden boxes. Flickering candles scattered around the arrangements cast a warm glow over the evening. Instead of traditional place cards, guests found their names on leather napkin rings. Burnished metal flatware and off-white dishes finished off the place settings.

Laura and Danny's first dance

Photo by Tara Johansen

For their first dance as newlyweds, Laura and Danny swayed to “No Love Dying” by Gregory Porter. “During your first dance, take a minute to pause and look around at your guests,” Laura advises. “There’s massive amounts of love and joy, and it’s all for the two of you.”

Laura and her dad dancing during the father-daughter dance

Photo by Tara Johansen

Danny and his mom dancing during the mother-daughter dance

Photo by Tara Johansen

In addition to their dance as a couple, the bride and groom also hit the dance floor with their parents. “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” by Stevie Wonder played while Laura and her dad shared their special moment. For the mother-son dance, Danny and his mom requested “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers.

Laura and Danny laughing during reception speeches

Photo by Tara Johansen

After dining on a farm-to-table menu with seasonal and locally sourced ingredients, the bride and groom listened to speeches from their friends and family members.

Laura and Danny during the hora dance

Photo by Tara Johansen

The dance floor was packed all night, especially for the couple’s hora dance. Then, everyone continued the party at The Ritz-Carlton Bacara’s private courtyard, which included a fireplace and late-night snacks. “It created the perfect cozy wind-down spot for our guests to hang out and for us to hold onto the last embers of the night,” Laura states. 

Even though wedding planning was a whirlwind for the couple, their big day ended up being a dream. “The whole experience was a reminder that sometimes things don’t go according to plan, but that doesn’t mean they don’t work out for the best,” Laura says.

Wedding Team

Ceremony Venue Dos Pueblos Orchid Farm

Reception Venue Dos Pueblos Orchid Farm

After-Party Venue The Ritz-Carlton Bacara

Rehearsal Dinner Venue The Valley Project

Planner Trisha Haner

Officiant Rabbi Naomi Levy of Nashuva

Bridal Gown Designer Mira Zwillinger

Bridal Salon NWLA Bridal

Bride’s Shoes Christian Louboutin

Hair Trina Duarte

Makeup Ashley Cornett; Lena Raff

Bride’s Rehearsal Dinner Attire Johanna Ortiz

Bride’s Rehearsal Dinner Shoes Givenchy

Mother of the Bride’s Dress Jenny Packham

Groom’s Attire Lanvin

Floral Design Moon Canyon Design

Invitations Meret Makes

Other Paper Products Meret Makes

Music LA Curbside Entertainment; DJ Tendaji

Ceremony Livestream Live StreamLA

Reception Catering Jennifer Naylor Catering & Special Events

Rehearsal Dinner Catering Le Great Outdoor

Cake Mama Soul Custom Cakes

Beverages Pharmacie

Rentals Elan Event Rentals; Greystone Table

Lighting Bella Vista Designs Inc.

Reception Candles Vogue Candles

Gift Bags Custom

Transportation Jump on the School Bus

Accommodations The Ritz-Carlton Bacara

Photography Tara Johansen

Videography Tikos

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