From the bride: While we lived on opposite sides of the country, Andrew and I met in the summer of 2013 at a bike race in Wisconsin through mutual friends. It didn’t take me long to know he was something extraordinary that needed to be in my life, though. A month after we said goodbye in Wisconsin I was flying to California to visit and train with him for a week. He asked me to be his girlfriend halfway through that trip, we said “I love you” to each other 11 days later and the rest is history.

Andrew proposed September of 2014, during another bike-racing trip. He took me to brunch and then to a nearby waterfall park, where we held hands as we walked along the path. I noticed a particular spot along the way, thinking that it would make for a beautiful location to get married. To my surprise, Andrew pulled me aside to that very spot, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. After I said yes, we celebrated with cupcakes and coffee before telling our friends and family.

I never really had a vision of what my wedding day would look like. I can’t remember when, but years ago I had decided that a wedding should be a reflection of the bride and groom at their current place in life. So I knew I wanted that for Andrew and I. We initially tried planning a big party for over 200 guests before deciding to go a more intimate route; when I saw a picture of the sunken gardens of the Santa Barbara Courthouse I knew it was the perfect spot to get married.

Andrew and I found a couple nearby restaurant options for our reception, ultimately going with Blue Agave (now Nectar Eatery and Lounge) because of our love for Mexican food. We let their max capacity dedicate the size of our guest list, asked a friend to provide the ceremony music and splurged on a trolley for our guests instead of the traditional cocktail hour. Then we incorporated our personalities in by wearing Vans, keeping our attire on the casual side, having my aunt do my hair while I did my makeup, asking my brother to be the bro of honor, and offering cupcakes and coffee after the ceremony to reflect one of the traditions Andrew and I have. We also made our balloon confetti invitations, faux fried ice cream wedding cake (one of Andrew’s favorite desserts), mini piñatas filled with candy for the centerpieces, and an iPod playlist for the reception.

One of my favorite moments from our wedding day was the walk Andrew and I took, husband and wife, from the courthouse to the restaurant. It was a good 15 minutes we had just the two of us. 15 minutes we used to bask in the joy, tell each other how beautiful/handsome we looked and to try and stop the day from moving so fast.

A month before the wedding we realized we needed a wedding planner; you can only DIY so much. I found Selena through Yelp and hired her almost right after our first exchange of emails. She remains one of the best decisions Andrew and I made for our wedding. Not only did she help find us last-minute flowers and set up a reception area more gorgeous than what we could have imagined it looking like, she made the wedding run off without a hitch. The day could not have been more perfect. And, of course, I got to marry my best friend.

Photographer: Grace Kathryn Photography | Videography: Evermoore Films | Ceremony Venue: Santa Barbara Courthouse | Reception Venue: Nectar Eatery and Lounge | Trolley: Santa Barbara Trolley Company | Wedding Dress: Maggie Sottero | Shoes: Vans | Floral Design: Margaret Joan Florals | Cake, Cupcakes, Bracelet and Mini Piñatas: DIY | Invitations and Calligraphy: Sammie Bosco | Iced Coffee: Rad Coffee
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  • Epik Weddings - What a beautiful wedding! You have the best job being able to help design gorgeous days like this for your clients.ReplyCancel

We were beyond happy to provide wedding coordination services for Melissa and Iosefa. The two met while serving in the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic. When they got engaged, they knew from the start that they wanted their wedding to reflect their unique story. At the same time, they really wanted their friends and family to have a fabulous time too! After searching all along the Central Coast for venues, they had an “ah-ha” moment when they saw El Capitan State Beach in Goleta, CA. It reminded them of the rocky beach in Bahoruco, the village where Iosefa lived in the DR; the white cliffs in the distance reminding Melissa of the seaside cliffs in Enriquillo. It was their little bit of the Peace Corps, right here in California.

The couple wanted each detail of their wedding to have meaning. They made almost everything by hand with the help of friends and family. From the vintage oil lamp centerpieces they had collected at flea markets (an ode to the lamps they used in the Dominican Republic when the power went out), to the bouquets and boutonnieres the bridesmaids put together after an early morning trip to the LA Flower Market, everything was special. Even their Larimar wedding rings were handmade by their friend Cristian Vargas, an artisan jeweler living in Bahoruco.

Thanks to the help of a talented wedding coordinator and a team of amazing vendors, the site was stunning, the food was delicious, the guests had a wonderful time, and the dance floor was packed until they kicked everyone out. The day was full of so much love!

From the bride: Seeing my soon-to-be husband for the first time as we did our “ first look” photos was a quiet, intimate, loving moment I’ll treasure forever. We had a large bridal party, which I had originally been a little uneasy about. But seeing my ten pretty bridesmaids together in their ocean-hued dresses before the wedding, making the guys’ boutonnieres at our campsite (as they played bocce ball and drank beer at theirs) made me so, so, so happy!

During the ceremony my dad played “Over the Rainbow” on his saxophone while we planted a lemon tree (which happened to be the name of the town I lived in during our Peace Corps training, “Mata de Limon”). We used soil from my hometown, Spokane, and from Iosefa’s birthplace, Honolulu; it was a symbol of our new life together as a married couple.

Looking back on the experience, my advice would be to surround yourself with vendors you like and trust. We were very budget conscious, so we really took our time researching and finding people. We chose ones we felt we connected with yet could also afford. It was so reassuring to know that our day was in such capable, talented hands. Also, if you have a complicated site, hire a good wedding planner/coordinator who can realize your design vision while also coordinating all the logistics. Our venue, though beautiful, required us to bring in everything including the bathrooms! There’s no way we could have done it without our coordinator, Selena.

Photographer: Lauriana Fortuna Photography | Videographer: Waller Weddings | Venue: El Capitan State Beach | Florals: DIY | Wedding Dress: Pronovias | Sandals, Jewelry and Cover-Up: BHLDN | Bridesmaids’ Necklaces: 31 Bits | Catering: Island View Catering | Lighting: Islay Events
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