Weddings at San Ysidro Ranch are always lovely, but this one seems exceptionally so, with the bride’s custom dress (decorated with pearls from her mother’s own wedding dress!), the couple’s two pups, and their champagne tower. Gorgeous! And you’ll never believe it, but Allison and Jesse planned their intimate Santa Barbara wedding in just 12 weeks! With 18 guests, it was an intimate family celebration that is sure to inspire you.
“Jesse got down on one knee and asked me to marry him on Allison Beach in Miami, Florida, while we watched a plane fly overhead with a banner that said Will You Marry Me Allison – Jesse. At our wedding, we held a piece of that same banner in our wedding portraits – a four-foot-tall, red heart.”
“My wedding dress was a custom design, created by La Petite Fleur Bridal and decorated with hundreds of pearls from my mother’s wedding dress. Our wedding bands were also fashioned from family heirlooms – the diamonds in my band were my mother’s and the gold for Jesse’s band was from a family ring.”
“We incorporated the traditional rhyme in our wedding day – Something Old: the pearls from my mother’s wedding gown sewn into my dress; Something New: my beautiful, Swarovski crystal Jennifer Behr headpiece; Something Borrowed: veil, borrowed from a friend after I was a bridesmaid in her wedding; Something Blue: our custom, wedding monogram embroidered into my dress in light blue.”
“We worked with designer Emily McCarthy to create a custom A and J wedding monogram that was featured in all of the wedding details, from the menus, place cards and welcome letter, embroidery on the table runner, to Jesse’s inner jacket pocket.”
“In 2011, Jesse and I packed up and moved from Florida to the San Francisco Bay Area in California. Full disclosure – we had never been to the city where we were moving and we didn’t know a single person! Needless to say it was an adventure. We have been exploring the West Coast and adventuring ever since, making a life for ourselves in California. We have traveled to many beautiful places, but the Santa Barbara area stole our hearts and we knew immediately that it would be the perfect place to celebrate our marriage. We chose the intimate and picturesque San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito, California for our ceremony and reception.”
Your ceremony in three words. Intimate, Romantic, Bright
Who officiated your ceremony? Our families have attended the same church in Florida for many years and our pastor, Dr. Thomas Crawford, made the trip out to California to officiate our ceremony. It was very special to have him there for such a serious moment in our life, when he has witnessed so many pivotal points over the years.
Did you include any traditions in your ceremony? Jesse and I exchanged traditional vows standing on a Moroccan wedding blanket that is now prominent feature in our home. Each ceremony seat was adorned with a monogram handkerchief, personal to each guest, for catching happy tears.
What was your ceremony music?
Family processional: Canon in D
Bridal processional: Bridal March
Recessional: Water Music by G.F. Handel
“Planning a destination wedding can be challenging, so we enlisted the help of Samantha Scott Events to help find the right local vendors to bring our vision to life. We wanted an intimate, romantic affair in a setting that would be comfortable for our family and our two dogs, Bo and Romeo – who roamed free and relaxed the entire evening, gathering lots of affection from staff and other guests.”
“Jesse and I have known each other since childhood. He is my older brother’s friend and the dark, handsome, older guy – my adolescent crush. Fast forward to 2010, we reconnected while I was in Florida visiting family over the holidays. Thinking back, I can’t even pinpoint our first date, since I feel like our first date has been a continuum! This may sound silly, but I feel that my love for Jesse has been present ever since that first crush and it has only grown over time.”
“I’d describe our reception as decadent, happy and memorable!”
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? Blush and white florals, old Hollywood glamour, two-letter monograms, Pinterest, John and Jacqueline Kennedy and their September 1953 honeymoon to San Ysidro Ranch.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Since this was an intimate family-only affair, I was able to conceptualize and plan the entire wedding in just 12 weeks! The wedding date was very important to us, so we chose 1.5.15 – a Monday. I would encourage other brides to consider having a weekday wedding – because of our date, we were able to hire our first-choice vendors (even 12 weeks out) and we had the venue virtually to ourselves.
Please tell us about any special details from your reception. We collected vintage brass candlesticks for the dining table and cut the cake with the same knife that my grandparents used on their 50th wedding anniversary. The entire evening was filled with so much love.
Menu: Hors d’oeuvres: Dungeness Crab Cake with Cajun Rémoulade / Potato, Gorgonzola & Applewood Bacon Croquette / California and Imported Artisan Cheese Selection // First Course: Bacon Wrapped Tiger Prawn Soft Polenta, Pea Shoots and Ranch Meyer Lemon // Second Course: San Ysidro Ranch’s Famous Tortilla Soup with
Avocado, Organic Grilled Chicken, Cheddar Cheese with Tortilla Crisps // Entrée: Pan Seared Prime Filet of Beef with Gruyere Potato Gratin and Haricot Vert
/ Pan Seared Sea Bass with Mascarpone and Organic Spinach Risotto, Truffle Sauce
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? A three-tier cake from Susie Cakes made from Red Velvet, Vanilla and Celebration flavors.
Did you have a signature cocktail? Yes, we had two! Her Favorite: Moscow Mule and His Favorite: Old Fashioned.
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? Every person at the table gave a toast and each one was touching and unique! For example, my two brothers toasted us with Patrón shots and limes. Those moments during the toasts, where we laughed and we cried, were definitely our most favorite part of the evening. A close second, however, was the champagne tower! To kick off the reception, Jesse and I poured champagne over a tower of coupes and everyone drank in celebration.
Is there anything else you’d like to share? Looking back, it was the most perfect day and I am so grateful to all those who made my dream a reality. I also feel fortunate to have the opportunity to share our story, and inspire others planning an intimate wedding day – it really was magical.