Extraordinary Weddings: Love In The Time Of Colonial Chic
The location of a wedding celebration is incredibly important. Adi knew, from the moment she laid eyes on the private estate in Santa Barbara: this must be the place. Adi and Jerry wanted their wedding to be “grand and otherworldly,” but at the same time, intimate and cozy. Swaying ferns, a formal rose garden, cascading waterfalls, rustic foot bridges, koi ponds stocked with tropical fish, ostriches and peacocks roaming the grounds and a beautiful main house with a tropical colonial-Indonesian feel complemented the couple’s tastes to a T.
Stationer Cindy Loon created a save-the-date card with an intricate silk-screened paper, which she embellished with white ribbon and a fern-leaf overlay. The wedding invitation was created by lining the back of a heavy-stock cream card with this same beautiful, silk-screened paper. Cindy used the paper as a mat beneath a second card (and also to line the envelopes), engraving the wedding details in forest-green ink. After wrapping the cards in lustrous green parchment, she closed them with a bamboo twig and a coin of gold sealing wax.
We staged the ceremony almost in the round, underneath a trellised arbor at the entrance to the rose garden. To get there, guests would pass under a matching arbor my team constructed by weaving and entwining the wood with magnificent blooming roses.
After a stylist completed Adi’s hair and makeup, her mother helped her lace up with back of her couture wedding gown – which was truly something to behold! Romantic and old-world, but also unique and contemporary Adi’s gown was strapless and corseted, with sky-blue, mint, and lilac silk flowers cascading down the sides – a nod to our wedding palette. Around her neck hung the shimmering diamond necklace that Jerry had given her as a wedding gift the day before.
Attired in pastel raw-silk dresses, ties, and vests that echoed the exquisite silk flowers on Adi’s gown, the bridal party made its way along the rose petal-carpeted, S-shaped aisle that snaked and flowed its way into the garden. Jerry, clad in a cream linen suit and lavender tie, waited with his parents beneath the tall chuppah, which we’d decorated with a seemingly endless garland of lush Virginia and Iceberg roses. As a string quartet began to play Beethoven’s “Romance,” Adi crossed the bridge and glided down the ethereal path on the arm of her father.
At the cocktail hour, guests dined on caviar served on mother-of-pearl spoons, a roasted ratatouille of vegetables filled with goat cheese, fresh shrimp, flaky crab cakes, miniature skewers of lamb, and iced gazpacho served in demitasse cups. For seafood lovers, several raw bars spilled over with fresh lobster, shrimp, oysters on the half shell, cherrystone clams, and crabs. Guests could mix and mingle at round cocktail tables, which I’d dressed in lime green with chic beaded overlays and matching linen napkins, and studded with exotic orchids in Oriental porcelain containers.
For the reception, the ceiling was swaged in ivory cotton, the tables dressed in a trio of different styles, the carpeting sisal. The bride’s and groom’s families took seats at long dark colonial wood tables with white placemats, crisp, white embroidered linens, crystal candelabra, and Oriental porcelain jardinières packed and blooming with locally-grown garden roses. The colonial silver was deliberately mismatched, and the glasses came in three sizes, giving the impression that they’d come straight out of the family’s collection.
For our second style, guests had to look no farther than the dozen round tables situated on the main floor. These were covered first in linen, and then topped with sheer, beaded, and embroidered overlays trimmed in luscious bronze ribbon. The flowers, a combination of Leonidas and Sari roses, were clustered into Chinese cachepots.
Finally, the veranda displayed our third style: thirteen round tables underneath market umbrellas, each table dressed with leaf-patterned linens and rattan-and-brass rimmed chargers. We’d placed Oriental rugs and banana trees on the floor and dotted the tables with moss-green candles and flowering orchid plants. From the outdoor balcony, guests could glance down on a ravine whose banks were decorated with flickering, candlelit trees.
Famed chef Jaochim Splichal of Patina Catering prepared Hamachi sashimi with Japanese mushrooms, then a salad topped with toasted pecans and Asian pears, followed by a dry-aged sirloin steak with Matsutake mushrooms. As for the wedding cake, it had to be seen (and tasted) to be believed! I designed the cake with Linda Goldsheft. It had five tiers that resembled an intricate green and white Wedgewood china patter three of white chocolate cake with white chocolate mousse and raspberries, and two of dark chocolate with the same filling. Linda covered the entire cake with green fondant and white chocolate Swiss buttercream, even mimicking the white scallop pattern of the main building’s architecture – a true culmination of all the elements.
Typically, after the wedding cake is cut, many guests will slip away into the night. Not these guests! They stayed late, never, ever wanting the enchantment to come to an end.
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