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Destination I Do
Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Spirited Santa Barbara Wedding

Words by Kinsley Brown
Photos courtesy of Chris J Evans

Dreaming of a coastal California destination wedding? Anh and Larry have been there, done that, and are sharing their experience in hopes of inspiring and informing your planning process.

From the start, a Santa Barbara ceremony with their closest friends and family from all over the nation (and world) was the only way the couple wanted to say “I do.” That’s why when covid rained on their parade, Anh and Larry decided to wait out the pandemic and wed just the way they’d dreamt. Read on for a first-hand account of how it all panned out.


Q:
How did you meet? 
A: We met on a dating app while both living in Chicago, and as it turned out, it’s a small world because we found out on our first date that we both worked in the same office building in downtown Chicago! Good thing it worked out in the end, otherwise running into each other when going to work would’ve been awkward…

Q: How/why did you choose the location/destination? 
A: Santa Barbara was the first place we lived together. Besides being a beautiful destination in and of itself, Santa Barbara was so special to us because of that chapter of our lives as we got to explore the city together. We eventually both moved back to Chicago for work reasons, but we always made a point to visit frequently. Since many of our friends and family are not from the west coast and had never been to Santa Barbara, we felt that our wedding would be the perfect opportunity to have everyone who’s special to us come see where we built our relationship.

Q: What helped you the most in the planning process? 
A: Choosing to work with Tyler Speier and his team was hands down the best decision we made in terms of the planning process. We had an idea of the types of things we liked and didn’t like. But, we did not have the first clue about planning or designing a wedding, which vendors to work with, or how to pull it all together. He learned about our style and was great about presenting just a handful of options at each decision point so that we weren’t overwhelmed. We were also part of the lucky group whose original wedding date (July 18, 2020) was right in the middle of COVID, so Tyler and the team did all of the heavy lifting to reschedule our wedding across our vendors and the venue TWICE!

Q: What were the travel logistics like for your guests? Did you run into any issues and how did you resolve them?
A: Since most of our guests were from all over the country and not California (Denver, Dallas, Phoenix, Chicago, Detroit, NYC, and London to name a few), almost everyone had to fly in. When we postponed our wedding the first time, we tried to give our guests enough advance notice so they didn’t book flights that would ultimately have to be changed. When it came time for our actual wedding weekend, there were one or two missed flight connections but no major issues (that we were aware of!). We’ve flown the Santa Barbara-Chicago route many times and knew that it isn’t the easiest place to get to, so we were super grateful to all of our friends and family for making the trip. 

Q: Overall, do you have any special advice you would like to share with our readers to help prepare them for their day? 
A: Pick the handful of things that are most important to you and don’t stress too much about the rest. For us, the destination of our wedding was what we cared about the most, so as long as our family and friends were able to travel there safely and have a good time, that’s what was most important. There will be many decision points along the way and things that will happen outside of your control, so not fretting about every last detail and being flexible where possible will help you stay sane. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help! Planning a wedding is this really weird phenomenon where you’re usually doing it for the first time with no prior experience but yet you are the main decision-maker across so many things!

Vendors: Planning, Design, and Florals: Tyler Speier; Photographer/Videographer: Chris J Evans; Venue: MoxiRentals: The Tent Merchant; Hair/Makeup: TEAM Hair and Makeup; Stationery: Minted; Catering: Omni Catering; Band: The Lucky Devils; Bakery/Dessert: Milk Bar;  Lighting: Bella Vista Designs; Bridal Gown Designer: Pronovias; Groom’s Attire: The Black Tux

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