Sweet, classic, pink and totally California. Holly and James’ celebration is a light-hearted and lovely celebration in the newlyweds’ new state. Set at the Four Seasons in Santa Barbara, the details designed by Donna Romani Events are classic and romantic with tons of pink florals by Cody Floral. The super-cute couple, their humongous blush-and-black-tuxed wedding party and all the gorgeous details are captured beautiful by Michael & Anna Costa Photography.
What made the wedding special and unique?
I think it was a combination of the location and those there to celebrate with us. We always hoped for a destination wedding, but it wasn’t until James made the move to Los Angeles (the year of our engagement) that we knew we wanted a California wedding. Being from Arkansas, California wedding planning was totally foreign to us, so just the venue search itself was such a fun adventure. I had never been to Santa Barbara, but immediately fell in love with it – our whole family did. There’s so much to do, plenty to entertain our guests with, without losing that charming smaller town feel. You’ve got all of California’s treasured terrains: the ocean, the mountains, and vineyards. It’s a gorgeous place we knew our friends and family would enjoy and could make a vacation out of – so important because a location is only as wonderful as the people there to share it with you! We were truly, truly touched by so many of our friends and family who made the long trip. Especially with us moving to California, what an incredible way to open this new chapter – both as newlyweds and as new Californians – surrounded by so many people we love and who represent home.
Tell us about the gown and where/how you found it!
I found my wedding dress at Proposals Boutique, everyone’s go-to in Little Rock, my hometown. I never had a dream dress in mind, so I was fortunate during my first Proposals visit to be surrounded by lots of girlfriends, my grandmother, mom and even her friends, who made the experience so fun and every dress feel pretty. Maybe it was the champagne, but even though I tried on “the” dress that day, there was never an “aha moment” until I went back a few days later, this time just my mom and me. The store was actually closed (our friend Betsy, who had been waiting on us, was kind enough to let us pop in before I left back for Dallas that night), so a really different atmosphere from the first try. This time when I tried the dress on, both my mom and Betsy cried. They were so sweet. I’ll always remember their reaction.
What were some touches added to make the wedding personal?
We were so fortunate to have such great vendors who were so amenable to any little thing or idea during the wedding planning process. Everyone from the hotel venues (we had events at the Fess Parker, the Canary and our reception at the Four Seasons The Biltmore) to Cody Floral Design, our photographer Anna Costa, our band Dirty Sugar and of course our planner Donna Romani, was an absolute dream team to work with, accommodating every crazy request (e.g. letting us “call the Hogs” after hours at the Biltmore!). Even our transportation company, Jump on the School Bus, bent over backwards to make our weekend unique, putting “#JollyCaliWedding” (our wedding hashtag) on the outside of our wedding party bus for the weekend. But what’s most meaningful? I can’t say enough about Pastor Mark and the First United Methodist Church of Santa Barbara. Despite having met him only once, Pastor Mark made an effort to really get to know James and me, making our ceremony feel truly special and personal. He was gracious enough to let my cousin close out our ceremony with a prayer from my grandfather, also a Methodist minister, who due to health reasons was not able to be at the wedding. Definitely a special moment for my entire family.
What was the most memorable part of the day?
In retrospect, certainly our “wedding crashers” Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper (who weren’t really crashers, but we love to go with that) is a memory that stands out for everyone from that day, but at the time, it was a fleeting moment amid crazy wedding day. The moments that really stick out: My mom and maid of honor (my cousin) struggling to zip up my wedding dress the morning of the big day (because clearly I’d been enjoying all the festivities a little too much), while meanwhile our poor photographer is trying to capture what’s supposed to be this sweet, beautiful moment. Taking photos with our wedding party by the beach and a man and his dog walk straight in front of our group, not even glancing at all million of us in gowns and tuxes and putting a dead halt in the pictures (that’s one of my all-time favorite photos from the wedding – our hilarious reaction as he walked by). Being on the bus on the way to the ceremony blaring “Love on Top” with all our closest friends and family, having one last moment with James before the vows (Beyonce will do that for you). Everyone gathered around while James and I had no clue how to cut our cake (I think we ended up feeding it to each other the way you’re supposed to cross arms for champagne flutes). Dancing our hearts out to the point it was “game over” for my hair – a regret I initially had upon seeing the photos, but now it’s what I loved about our wedding. There were of course the sweet and tender moments, but I think the things we remember most are all the nuances, the hiccups, the laughs.
Tell us how you met and became engaged.
We met in our glory days (just kidding) at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. My cousin (and maid of honor, more like a sister) and James’ sister, both our elders, had been roommates during their time at Fayetteville, always telling us we should meet each other. But it wasn’t until a few years later, when we got to college, that we finally met at the lovely Kappa Sig house. A very romantic place. (Wouldn’t trade those times for the world!)
James proposed at Crystal Bridges Museum (a gorgeous venue and Arkansas gem!) during a trip back home to Fayetteville. On our way out, I was met with a sweet display of flowers and pictures on the museum’s balcony, the prettiest viewpoint of the grounds. It was pouring down rain, but still all so pretty. That night the surprises kept coming. Our families were waiting at the museum’s hotel bar down the road (my family had driven up from Little Rock!) and later when we got back to James’s parents’ house, we were greeted by tons of friends and stayed up way too late celebrating. It was really the most fun, joyful night.
Photography: Michael & Anna Costa Photography // Wedding Planner: Donna Romani Events // Florist: Cody Floral // Ceremony Venue: First United Methodist Church // Reception Venue: Four Seasons // Officiant: First United Methodist Church, Dr. Mark Richardson // Videographer: You’re The Star // Hair & Makeup: AbFab Glamour, Page Berse // Lighting: Spark Creative Events // Music: Scott Cummings Music // Transportation: Jump on the Bus // Rentals: La Tavola // Rentals: Fusion