Intimate backyard dinner party wedding in Santa Barbara
Calling all engaged foodies! Good food and drink is a no-brainer for most of our couples, but we are majorly impressed with how Mo + Will took their love of cooking and entertaining and transformed it into not just an epic menu at their wedding, but a warm, open-air dinner party vibe with 110 guests. And this design surrounded by the gorgeousness that is Santa Barbara?!? It’s a total dream, you guys. See how they pulled it off with the help of the team at TOAST Santa Barbara in Hugh Forte’s photos below:
Their story… We’ve spent a lot of our relationship traveling all over the world together having adventures, from Japan to Tanzania to Greece. We love biking, skiing, and we also learned to surf together. So, while I’d say we’re pretty active and adventurous, the way Will proposed shows how much we also cherish our simple, relaxing routines together. After a cozy morning of coffee, a run along the water, and sitting, enjoying the views from the roof on our apartment building, Will got down on one knee. It couldn’t have been a more normal, routine Saturday morning when he popped the question, and it was perfect.
Mo wore a Lela Rose gown with an embossed silk fabric and subtle flower pattern, pockets, and a long train.
Our initial ideas were inspired by the fact that we love inviting our friends and family over for nights of cooking dinner on the grill, relaxing outside surrounded by nature and views, laughing, and storytelling, and so we wanted a similar feeling for our wedding celebration. My dad’s house in Santa Barbara is a meaningful place for us. It’s also absolutely beautiful, with oak and eucalyptus trees, and views of the mountains. We knew it was the perfect place for creating that intimate, relaxed vibe. So, we really just wanted to enhance the natural setting, the greenery and nature, while also making it feel a bit romantic. The result was quite magical; it felt like an enchanting garden dinner party, with everyone dressed up, eating delicious food prepared in an open-air kitchen, and getting down on the dance floor.
SUPER, super into the parasol idea for guests at a sunny outdoor ceremony.
A fave memory: While it’s cliché, I think the moment I walked down the aisle and we saw each other. I couldn’t keep it together. I started crying and laughing the minute I saw him. It was incredibly surreal that it was all actually happening… that we were partaking in this tradition that so many people had done before us, and we were making it our own. I will never forget that feeling and moment, but the entire day was magical.
How stunning are these menus?! Mo designed all of the menus and paper goods herself.
I made a Pinterest board that Will approved, and we started working with Kim and Tamara of TOAST, who turned our initial vision into an absolutely magical experience. When we first described what we were hoping for to Kim, I think we said something like, “an intimate garden dinner party,” with a good flow throughout the evening, mixing in dancing, toasting, and feasting. We’re both pretty romantic people, and so we also wanted an element of etherealness, which lead to all of the candles and lights everywhere, plus Kim’s ingenious wine buckets that hung from the sky. Love those. We also love food and love cooking outside, so that’s how the open kitchen idea came about. Our initial thoughts evolved quite a bit throughout the process, and Kim and Tamara were so much fun to brainstorm with. Their attention to detail and the number of crazy ideas they turned into a reality was incredible. Their creativity and hard work made the weekend more special that I could have imagined.
Their signature cocktail was “the sangria that started it all” and they created a recipe inspired by drinks they had on the night they met while studying abroad in Paris in separate programs. So cute!
This has gotta be the prettiest dance floor situ ever with all the twinkling lights, don’t you think?
My biggest tip for planning, other than hiring TOAST, would be to set a date when you stop with all of the logistics, plans, details, etc… For me that was the Wednesday morning before the wedding. I set that deadline for myself because I had some friends arriving, and once it passed, I completely let go. Obviously easier said than done, but having that as a goal allowed me to really be present and soak up the entire weekend.
Love that advice!
See their wedding film from Shark Pig here.
Photography: Hugh Forte / Videography: Shark Pig / Venue: Private Residence in Montecito, CA / Planning & Floral Design: TOAST Santa Barbara / Paper Goods: Bride / Catering: New West Catering / Flatbread Pizza Course: Autostrada Pizza / Bar: Simply Cocktails / Tabletop Rentals: Casa De Perrin / Furniture Rentals: Town & Country Event Rentals / Linens: The Ark / Specialty Rentals: Elan Event Rentals / Chairs: Revelry / Music: West Coast Music / Lighting: Spark Creative Events / Photobooth: Hugh Forte / Bride’s Dress: Lela Rose / Shoes: Tabitha Simmons / Groom’s Tux: Custom from Johann in Paris