A colorful, backyard wedding in Santa Barbara on a super reasonable budget
Real talk: as most of our California pals know, weddings in Santa Barbara + this area in general do not come without sticker shock. They just don’t! It’s pretty unheard of for a couple to pull off an evening SoCal wedding as stunning as this with 120 guests for a budget of $35K (all the way down to the groom’s shoes), which is why we had to grill our talented bride on how they made it happen. (It’s kinda our job, you know?) Peruse the images by Cara Robbins Studio throughout for deets!
Caroline enlisted Carla of Idlewild Floral on the colorful dahlia + peony-inspired bouquets. She loves arranging flowers herself, so she compromised (and saved $$) by taking on the table arrangements at the reception (below) as a DIY: The day before the wedding, I was so absorbed in floral assembly that I nearly forgot about the rehearsal! I showed up disheveled at our welcome party. I wouldn’t have traded leisure time for the experience of getting to do so much myself, but it is definitely a trade-off that you have to make.
Taking on the table arrangements as a DIY left room in the budget for these beautiful bouquets from Carla. Swoon!
Caroline’s dad passed away when she was 13, and she felt it was important to walk down the aisle on her own. To honor him during the ceremony, her dad’s sister shared a sweet memory—of Caroline learning to dance on her father’s toes—which ended up being a beautiful segue to the bride’s idea of dancing with the other important people in her life: her oldest friend/officiant, step-dad, new father-in-law, and finally her mom.
And did we mention their grandmas as flower girls?! They also did a New Orleans second-line style procession from the ceremony at Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden to their reception.
A huge budget-saving move was having the ceremony + reception at different Santa Barbara locations. Caroline and her mom own a shop called Santa Barbara Company, whose backyard they used for their reception. It made it so they could still *create* their dream space without spending the entire budget on a dream venue.
Ahhhh. Coral charm peonies and roses AND bougainvillea? Be still our floral-loving hearts.
We were so blessed to have so many creative friends pitch in. I did all the table florals and paper goods, my friend planted the succulent planters, the groomsmen made all of our wedding cocktails, a friend did the beer glass illustration we used for the invitations and other paper goods, friends catered the amazing vegan Mexican feast, my step-dad and family friends provided live cocktail hour music, and my closest family friend officiated our wedding. My mom worked tirelessly to get the backyard spotless. It was truly a feat of love and community!
Their coordinator, Wild Heart Events, came up with cute beer-themed details that blended perfectly with their design, like this seating chart calligraphed by Sophia Loves Letters on growlers and custom beer tasting glasses with guest names as favors.
I can be a bit of a control freak and a perfectionist. I had very clear and specific ideas about the wedding and a few details just didn’t happen the way that I hoped because of communication errors or other issues. I would like to say that none of it mattered, but I noticed everything that didn’t happen the way that I imagined. I was so happy and overwhelmed in the moment that it all rolled off my back, but after the wedding day, it took some time to process those disappointments. I just wanted to share that since I was completely unprepared for the intensity of the emotions I felt in the days after the wedding as all my stress and joy decompressed! Four months later, I now couldn’t care less about those details that didn’t get executed. My memories are overflowing with joy, happiness and fulfillment.
Cutest sweetheart table.
There’s the aforementioned tasting glasses!
And how fun is this moment?
FYI, their entire wedding menu was vegan. It was all catered by friends and fam, allowing them to include all of their fave vegan meals for guests to enjoy.
Such perfect pink wall portraits. Find more inspiration behind this citrus + sunset inspired color palette on Caroline’s Pinterest board. They nailed it!
Congrats, C + J!
Photography: Cara Robbins Studio / Ceremony Venue: Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden in Santa Barbara, CA / Reception Venue: Backyard of Santa Barbara Company (Bride’s Company) / Floral Design (except table arrangements): Idlewild Floral / Table Floral Arrangements: Bride / Event Coordination: Wild Heart Events / Save The Dates & Invites: Bride / Illustration: Tess Hodges / Calligraphy: Sophia Loves Letters / Welcome Gifts: Santa Barbara Company / Bar: Simply Cocktails / Vegan Truffles: Coracao Confections in Oakland, CA / Catering & Cookies: Friends & Family / Specialty Beer: Casa Agria Specialty Ales / Rentals: Elan Event Rentals & Party Pleasers / Lighting: Bella Vista Designs / Wedding Dress: Martina Liana from The Dress in Santa Barbara / Shoes: Raye / Ring: blanca monrós gómez / Groom’s Suit: Indochino / Ring: Mountain Spirit Jewels / Vegan Shoes: Bourgeois Boheme