A Warm Winter Wedding


November 9, 2016
Words by Candice Maniga
Photos courtesy of Dennis Lee

While February and Chicago are both great choices to make when wedding planning, the two don’t mix well. Brittany and Jeffrey wanted to get married in February, but knew frigid air and a ceremony stifled by sniffles weren’t ideal for the day they would say “I do,” so they set their sights on sunny Santa Barbara.

Grateful for a chance to escape the brutal winter, most guests welcomed the idea of a West Coast wedding. Luckily for the bride and groom, they both had family in the west and the few guests on the fence eased into the idea. Other than a few guests that chose to fly directly to Santa Barbara versus flying into Los Angeles and taking the drive, the couple didn’t have many planning issues. 

“It was surprisingly easier than I thought,” the bride said. Brittany also stressed that hiring a wedding planner was a huge help and suggested any future destination couples do the same. Their planner, Beth Bernstein of SQN Events, found vendors with ease even though she was also based in Chicago. “Santa Barbara has so many reputable vendors, so it was easy to trust reviews and suggestions,” the bride said.

The couple found communicating over email and phone calls didn’t make it more difficult to coordinate with vendors halfway across the country. Their DJ and strings performers sent music samples so the bride and groom could make decisions beforehand. Before their big day, Brittany, Jeffrey and their planner took a weekend trip to Santa Barbara so they could meet with their vendors and conduct tastings. Selecting comapnies to work with wasn’t the only task covered by their wedding planner. Beth also made gift baskets for guests that stayed in the designated resort and had a pressing service available for the bride’s and bridesmaids’ dresses to be ironed and steamed for the ceremony.

The newlyweds saved money by limiting their guest list to 95. “I have a large family and grew up in a small town in Illinois,” Brittany said. “I would have probably invited close to 300 guests if we stayed local.” With an intimate wedding, the newlyweds were able to upgrade several aspects like their food, wine and venue.

The couple’s wedding-day advice for future newlyweds is simple, yet an often overlooked factor: “Stay focused on the fact that this is the only day in your life when a specific group of friends and family will gather to show you so much love and support.”

Vendors: Photographer: Dennis Lee, Wedding Planner: Beth Bernstein of SQN Events, Florist: Coco Rose Design, Stationery: Magnificient Milestones, Cake: The Butter End Cakery, Hair and Makeup: Luna Bella Makeup and Hair, Gown Designer: Monique Lhuillier, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Ermenegildo Zegna, Bridesmaids’ Clothing Designer: David’s Bridal, Groomsmen’s Clothing Designer: Men’s Warehouse, DJ: DJ Hecktik from Gavin Roy, Strings: West Coast Music

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