Wedding Bells (West) - - Contents - By MACKEN­ZIE PAT­TER­SON. Pho­tog­ra­phy JENAVIEVE BELAIR.

Golden sun­shine and the re­laxed vibe of Santa Bar­bara serve as in­spi­ra­tion for one cou­ple’s laid-back event.


Michael, a com­mer­cial film di­rec­tor, and Alana, a wardrobe stylist, were brought to­gether by a serendip­i­tous nine-hour lay­over at the

Toronto air­port— an or­deal most would con­sider un­ro­man­tic at best. The pair was set to be­gin work on a Sport Chek com­mer­cial in Florida the next day, but their flight was delayed, leav­ing them stranded at gate F64. When their flight fi­nally took off, Michael ditched his first-class ticket to join Alana in the econ­omy sec­tion, where they shared their first kiss.

“Since then we haven’t spent a day apart. We even got tiny match­ing tat­toos that say ‘F64’ on our wrists as a nod to the place where it all be­gan!” Alana reveals.

Fast-for­ward to their wed­ding day one-and-a-half years later: the cou­ple knew they wanted a ro­man­tic and in­ti­mate af­fair in­spired by the stun­ning gar­dens and nat­u­ral beauty of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, and a 40-per­son gar­den party at the San Ysidro Ranch in Santa Bar­bara fit the bill.

“The nat­u­ral beauty of San Ysidro Ranch and its renowned man­i­cured gar­dens set the theme for our wed­ding,” Alana explains. “From the be­gin­ning, we en­vi­sioned some­thing re­laxed, or­ganic and in­fused with tons of wild­flow­ers.” Just as she imag­ined, the flow­ers stole the show at the event, be­com­ing one of her favourite de­tails of the day. “The chup­pah was cov­ered in hang­ing flow­ers, and I loved the vi­gnette ar­range­ments and the din­ner dis­play. The florist also dec­o­rated the fire­place, and it looked so beau­ti­ful,” she says.

Tak­ing in­spi­ra­tion from the gor­geous laven­der fields at the ranch, the cou­ple went with a loose colour scheme of pale pink, white, laven­der, cham­pagne and sage to match the cel­e­bra­tion’s dreamy Cal­i­for­nia vibe. Not only did the fields serve as a cat­a­lyst for the ele­gant pal­ette, they also made the per­fect photo back­drop. In fact, one of the bride’s most beloved mo­ments of the day was when just she, Michael, their dogs and their photographer es­caped to the fields to take pho­tos. “The sun was just be­gin­ning to set, and it was so beau­ti­ful. We’ll cher­ish those pho­tos for­ever.”

In keep­ing with the nat­u­ral theme of the wed­ding, Alana made sure the food was an­other high­light of the day by in­cor­po­rat­ing plenty of fresh, or­ganic treats into the mix. “Guests were greeted with or­ganic house-made lemon­ade upon ar­rival, and dur­ing cock­tail hour, the wait staff of­fered lo­cal, or­ganic hors d’oeu­vres and Santa Bar­bara or­ganic wines as the sun set,” she says. Af­ter cock­tail hour, guests made their way to the wine cel­lar pa­tio, where they dined on light, farm-to-ta­ble fare by the wood-burn­ing fire­place. “It was won­der­ful to dine un­der the twin­kling lights with our friends and fam­ily. It felt so in­ti­mate and it was such a dreamy set­ting,” Alana says.

In­stead of a tra­di­tional DJ and dance party at their re­cep­tion, Alana and Michael opted to have a string trio play clas­si­cal mu­sic while guests so­cial­ized. As the night wound down, the cou­ple took a mo­ment to soak in the day’s events.

“The wood-burn­ing fire­place was lit and ev­ery­one was snap­ping Po­laroids and min­gling un­der the South­ern Cal­i­for­nia stars. It was a dream come true for us, and the per­fect way to spend the day with the ones we love,” says Alana.

Just when guests thought the night couldn’t get any bet­ter, Alana and Michael sur­prised them with the most ex­cit­ing part of the whole af­fair: “Re­veal­ing we were ex­pect­ing a baby was hands down the best part of the night. Our fam­ily and friends were so elated!” ❤

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