Living in landlocked Colorado Springs, I'll hop on any opportunity to visit the ocean, especially if it's in Southern California. The moment Elena reached out about having me shoot their wedding in California (Santa Barbara no less!) my bag was basically already packed! If you haven't visited Santa Barbara, book your flight now. You'll find surfing to the west, hiking to the east and cocktails, tacos, thrifting, and more wherever you look — it's literally heaven on earth.
When Elena initially reached out, she described the vision for their day as "Picnic. Happiness. Fun." And it was just that! Elena and Jeff's wedding day was one big, sun-soaked party. To me, it barely felt like work!
We stared the day at their home, where Elena got ready with her friends and family. The girls were still putting finishing touches on the bouquets one of the bridesmaids made and we did a sweet first look with the gals once Elena got her dress on.
We then met Jeff at the beach just below Shoreline Park for their first look and portraits. We laughed, got wet, ran in the sand, and took our sweet time capturing their love. It wasn't rushed or stressful. It felt like spending an afternoon with friends — my favorite kind of wedding day portrait session.
Once my shoes were thoroughly soaked through (should have gone barefoot!) and Elena's dress was covered in sand, we headed to the Santa Barbara Courthouse, which is literally such a dream. We met the bridal party and snapped some group photos in the lawn. The bridesmaids wore the best mismatched linen dresses from Dissh and their flowers were the most lovely, natural bundles of yellows, whites, and pops of pinks and oranges.
Their ceremony and reception were at Godric Grove in Elings Park — a stunning public space on the North end of Santa Barbara. With 360 views of the Santa Barbara, Elings Park is the perfect combo of beach views and garden party. They had a short and sweet, untraditional ceremony overlooking Santa Barbara and their guests sat in the amphitheater seating for views of it all.
I took my shoes of for the cocktail hour in the lawn and captured as Elena and Jeff soaked up time with all of their quests. These are the moments where I feel like I'm not even working! Love it.
*Wedding Tip* — if you want to be fully present for your cocktail hour with your guests, I highly recommend doing a first look! Not only do you get intimate, relaxed time together as a couple and with your bridal party before the wedding, you also get through most of your more "formal" photos (portraits, wedding party, and even family if you want) so you can fully relax and enjoy the rest of your wedding day post-ceremony!
Okay, moving on! Elena and Jeff's reception was an absolute California DREAM. Godric Grove's reception space is basically a huge deck overlooking the hills of Santa Barbara, shaded by a large oak tree growing out from the center of the space. I was obsessed and probably took a thousand photos of just their reception and table details!
Their reception centerpieces go to show that less is more — Elena and Jeff opted for simple yellow and white florals on light pink tablecloths and it worked stunningly.
Side note, one thing I loved about their day is that Elena wanted all of her vendors to be ladies if possible and it was so fun to be part of a team female entrepreneurs making this stunning day possible!
Their dance party started as the sun was setting and I loved getting to watch their crew break it down during golden hour and into the evening!
What a dream day! I really feel so lucky to get to be part of days like this one!
Thanks for being here! xx
P.S. Are you planning a wedding and looking for a photos like these? I'm your gal! I'm based in Colorado, but more than happy to travel! Let's chat!