When Alexandra McClure and Ryan Loomba started dating in November of 2010, it wasn’t the first time. “We grew up together outside of San Francisco, and dated my senior year of high school,” she recalls. “Ryan was my prom date!” The pair parted ways for college, but when they both found themselves back in San Francisco after graduation, they rekindled their romance.
In April of 2017, Ryan and Alex were getting ready to head to India for his cousin’s wedding, so Alex popped out for a mani-pedi. “When I came home, our apartment was full of flowers and our favorite song was playing,” she says. The next thing she knew, Ryan was down on one knee—and thankfully, her fingers were ready for their close-up! “Ryan whisked me off to dinner before I could even call my mom to share the news, but I was happily surprised to see both of our families waiting for us at the restaurant," she says. "An engagement dinner was the perfect send-off for our trip!”
Alex had loved Belmond El Encanto in Santa Barbara for years, and was just waiting for Ryan to pop the question so she could take him there to see what she already knew: That the hotel would be the perfect wedding venue. “It’s in the hills above town, with Spanish bungalow styling, sprawling grounds, and the most spectacular views,” says the bride. They worked with planners Alison and Bryan to bring a clean, crisp, and coastal vibe to the property, using shades of soft and dark pink with natural greenery and an aesthetic of "approachable luxury." “I plan large events for work, but it was so much more fun to work on something so personal,” says the bride. Keep reading to take a peek at the photos by Amy & Stuart and see how this California couple brought soft spring tones to their April 6, 2018, Santa Barbara wedding.
Alex and Ryan’s invitation designer, Karli Strohschein, painted a custom crest for the couple’s suite of paper goods. It paired one of Belmond El Encanto’s signature bungalows, palm trees, and bougainvillea. “We used it on everything, from our invitations to the cocktail napkins to the filmstrip from our photo booth,” Alex explains.
Alex’s Monique Lhuillier gown was stunningly simple, with architectural pleating, an illusion panel over the plunging neckline, and an elegant, wide waistband. “The original dress is tea length, but my bridal salon, Bridal Galleria, had custom-ordered a floor-length sample," the bride explains. "I immediately loved it, and couldn’t stop thinking about it!” Just before walking down the aisle, the bride made a surprising discovery about her gown: “I realized there were pockets!”
Her silver and pink brocade Prada sandals, complete with bejeweled block heels, weren’t a guaranteed accessory. “They were a pre-order and weren’t supposed to ship until after our wedding, but I ordered them just in case and had a back-up plan,” says Alex. “Thankfully they were sent out a month early so I could wear them instead!”
Alex and her bridesmaids carried single-varietal bouquets. The bride had a lush cluster of pink peonies, while her bridesmaids had smaller bouquets of either peonies or ranunculus. The women wore various floral dresses which they selected themselves. “I wanted my bridesmaids to all express their own style, so instead of picking a color or a palette, I made a board on Pinterest with ideas that ranged from solid pastels to florals to whimsical prints with embellishments," she explains. "I loved how their unique dresses worked together!”
The couple's flower girl paired her lace-embellished dress with a crown of blooms and a special gift from the bride, a Tiffany floating heart necklace.
Rows of white cross-back chairs surrounded the lily pond, where the couple wed beneath a pergola covered in wisteria. “It provided such a pretty touch of purple,” says Alex.
Ryan and Alex read a number of other ceremonies' vows to piece together the perfect ones for theirs. “My uncle, who is a judge in Los Angeles, performed the ceremony. He even wrote a poem about a love story to share when we couldn’t find the right reading!” says Alex.
Guests headed to the property's terrace for cocktail hour while the ceremony space was flipped for the reception. “We wanted the menu to reflect the local cuisine and the season,” says Alex of bite-sized options including spring pea bruschetta and ahi tuna tartare. The cocktail menu included jalapeño-infused palomas and citrus whiskey sours, as well as a Casa Dragonas tequila bar. “Our friends love tequila!” Alex recalls.
The couple’s custom crest also made an appearance on the seating sign, where each name was hand-painted onto a chart hung among the wisteria blossoms.
Back by the lily pond, rows of chairs and an altar were replaced with two long tables that sat a total of 110 guests. Beneath a canopy of twinkling lights, monochromatic centerpieces were filled with peonies, ranunculus, garden roses, and sweet peas in shades of pink that popped against soft linens. Each table number was a hand-painted tile, and guests’ place settings were finished off with personalized dinner menus.
“We had a family-style meal of burrata Caprese, a little gem Caesar salad, seared sea bass, short ribs, brown butter and sage ravioli, and seasonal vegetables,” Alex says. For dessert, the couple cut into two flavors of cake: devil’s food cake with dark chocolate mousse and carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.
Looking back on their big day, the bride says they loved seeing their families coming together most. “My family is Jewish and Ryan’s dad is from Punjab, India, and we loved seeing our cultures come together,” says Alex. “After we did the hora, our brilliant DJ transitioned into back-to-back Punjabi hits.
Wedding Planner: Alison and Bryan
Venue: Belmond El Encanto
Officiant: Bert Bresticker
Bride's Dress: Monique Lhuillier
Bride's Veil: Monique Lhuillier
Bride's Shoes: Prada
Hair & Makeup: Nine Zero One Salon
Groom's Attire: Zegna
Groomsmen's Attire: The Black Tux
Flower Girl Attire: Joan Calabrese
Engagement Ring: Icerock Diamonds
Wedding Bands: Spinelli Kilcollin
Floral Design: Camellia Floral Design
Paper Products: Karli Strohschein Art
Catering & Cake: Belmond El Encanto
Ceremony Music: Chris Fossek
Reception Music: DJ Patrick Belton
Rentals: The Tent Merchant
Lighting: Spark Creative Events
Linens: La Tavola Fine Linen
Accommodations: Belmond El Encanto
Photo Booth: SoCal Selfie
Photography: Amy & Stuart