Melisa and Robert were married at a gorgeous Santa Barbara wedding venue: El Encanto Hotel. I am in love with the photos by Style Unveiled adored member Melissa Musgrove … they are full of perfection as usual 🙂 This is only part I … part II will showcase one of the most beautifully decorated wedding receptions I’ve featured on this wedding blog … so get ready!!!
Also, on a personal note … I wore Pronovias on my wedding day, so I was super excited to read that Melisa also chose a Pronovias wedding dress for her day 🙂
My hair and make up was done by TEAM Hair and Makeup, a recommendation by my planner. They did a good job. My makeup was perfect and definitely made it through the night. I did a brief touch up myself at 10pm but that’s it.
One accessory was a crystal beaded hair pin. Being a brunette, intricate hair styling can get lost due to the uniform dark color, however a discrete accessory can definitely elevate the whole look. Mine was a small (3in) pin, slightly curved, organic leafy design. I wanted to give my sister, MOH, also a brunette, the same touch of sparkle, and selected a laced crystal headband which was gorgeous. Again very chic how it all came together!
Our vision for our wedding was to create a classic, simple, elegant and intimate setting. We wanted to be in a unique locale outdoors in Santa Barbara. The El Encanto Hotel site and historic wisteria arbor/lily pond was perfect for us; the natural beauty of the grounds surrounding the brick colonnade and trellis arbor was a beautiful backdrop for our ceremony site as well as our reception. We decided to add very few details not to overwhelm the natural beauty. The same thinking went into most details, including my lace wedding dress selection, the venue, the table setting, the flowers.
Although I wanted a classic chic black tie wedding, I also wanted it to feel modern and unique. I wanted my bridesmaids to look chic as well, so I decided to have them wear different colors but all within the same color palette, staying in the neutrals, blush tones. So my cousin and sister in law wore a champagne and rose colored strapless dress (Amsale, and J. Crew), whereas for my sister (Maid of Honor) I decided to have her stand out a little bit more from the other girls, and I suggested she wear Fuchsia (Azzaro). And the color palette altogether turned out gorgeous, everything I wanted to be. Although I was challenged by many as to why I would give so much flexibility in selecting a color and a brand, my thought was I wanted them to feel like they chose each their own dresses. My mom and my aunt were also in the same taste level, they each picked their own evening gowns and they managed to have picked peach and baby blue hues…. all of us in these beautiful muted pastels.
As I look back at the photos, I am in awe of how it all came together (especially if you look at the portrait photos which have our dog Molly and her ivory and fuchsia flower collar).
Melisa: My favorite moment is probably our entire wedding ceremony. Starting from the final preparations in my room (which had a glimpse view of the arbor ceremony), my father seeing me in my dress for the first time, my parents giving my bridal gifts, hearing Rob from my room call out for Molly (who had stage fright coming down the aisle), seeing Rob across the pond for the first time, walking down the aisle with my dad, stopping and deciding to kiss my mom, aunt, and uncle (completely unplanned), my dad who forgot his cue when I had to remind him it was time to actually give my hand away (which he wouldn’t let go the entire time), and finally the exchange of vows, filled with tears and laughter throughout 🙂
Rob: The ceremony in general. It started with our dog Molly not wanting to walk down the aisle and me having to go back to get her was endearing to all and really broke the ice. When Melisa came she looked beautiful across the arbors’ pond and it felt awkward just staring at each other so I gave her a big wave to break the ice and she waved back, to everyone’s laughter. The setting was surreal, the ceremony was loose and fun and we were the center of attention to all of our friends, family and loved ones. Unforgettable.
The outdoor ceremony setting around the historic arbor and lily pond, nontraditional dual aisle (bridesmaids and groomsmen separate aisle) made for a very unique entry to the ceremony spot. More importantly having our sweet English Cream Golden Retriever Molly as our ring bearer decorated with my mom’s collar (with theme flowers) and pillow. We also had our great friend Ira singing during our ceremony as a solo with his guitar.
The landmark El Encanto or “The Enchanted” hotel located on the majestic Riviera of Santa Barbara, perfectly nestled into the hills, which otherwise is a primarily residential zone, has sweeping ocean views overlooking the lower downtown Santa Barbara. The hotel was originally built in the 20’s and was a main destination/ playground for the rich and powerful, hosting president Franklin D. Roosevelt, John Kennedy Jr., and stars such as Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, Hedy Lamarr, Leonardo DiCaprio, Gwen Stefani, Barbra Streisand. The hotel shut its doors after the sudden tragic death of its owner during a polo accident. After seven years of planning, discretionary reviews, and construction it finally reopened March 2014. Our friend Emre Balli, previous head Sommelier for the renowned San Ysidro Ranch, had just started working for the new Orient Express El Encanto Hotel last fall when he suggested it as a potential wedding venue. Although the project was still under construction, it didn’t take much imagination to truly see the beauty beneath it all. The grounds were lush, the views were enchanting. That’s when I knew we had found the perfect venue, so as long as we could have the wedding reception outside within the beautiful historic structure of the arbor and lily pond. For our guests travelling from all over the world (Turkey, London, Canada, UAE, Egypt, Brazil) and all over the US, we wanted them to enjoy and explore the beauty of Santa Barbara, and this venue genuinely offered that.
We originally had a different photographer booked for our event, and due to some last minute mishap, we had to resort to finding another photographer within a month of the wedding! Our misfortune turned out to be a blessing in disguise, leading us to Melissa Musgrove, a well-established professional photographer, much admired by our videographer, and in most high-end hotel’s shortlist of preferred wedding vendors in the Santa Barbara industry.
Photography: Melissa Musgrove Photography
Reception Venue, Catering, and Wedding Cake: El Encanto Hotel
Cinematographer: Jennie Reinish
Floral Decor: S.R. Hogue
Wedding Coordinator: Central Coast Memory Makers
Wedding Stationery: William Arthur
Reception and Ceremony Music: Ground Control – Ira Gonzalez
Bride’s Dress: Pronovias
Beauty: TEAM Hair and Makeup
Floating Lanterns: Wish Lanterns
Officiant: Barbra Mousouris