“By your side I’ll stay,
taking every care of you.
You won’t need to ask.”
The entire team enjoyed putting this shoot together. Our crew truly had an appreciation for all the details and vibrant colors in Santa Barbara. When we started planning, we were aiming for fun, joyful modern and most of all, the whole day just filled with love. All the Spanish vibes and colorful elements of Santa Barbara brought this love story to life. The Loquita, in Santa Barbara, is such a wonderful place for an intimate wedding and reception with custom shared plates, yummy desserts and delicious drinks. It was the highlight of the event. We were drawn to the colorful florals and sketches, which inspired our color palette for details from the cake all the way down to the invitations.
We had such an amazing time getting to know Manny+ Diego. The vendors involved made this such an amazing moment in every way possible. We were truly able to showcase their love for each other. The florals from Alexis Ireland florals were inspired by the Spanish and mediterranean architectural style of downtown Santa Barbara, as well as the festivities surrounding the date of our event (Cinco de Mayo). It inspired her to bring bold color and contrast to the table. She felt the colors in the king protea mimicked the terra cotta tile around Loquita, while the purple and reds provided a bold pairing that accented the murals around the courtyard setting.
She further accentuated color and contrast by using burgundy foliage instead of traditional greens for the centerpieces. Since we had two grooms, we wanted each of them to feel special and unique since they would be wearing similar suits. The two boutonnieres (one traditional, and one pocket square) matched in style but differed in the application, representative of the uniqueness they each bring to the shared relationship.
Manny + Diego have been together for 10 years. They liked each other but never got the opportunity to exchange information until two months later they ended up having a mutual friend that connected them. Their love for each other shined through every moment we shared with the couple. To them, love is being able to work together through great and through horrible times. Love is not always pretty, but real love is truly beautiful and magical. Getting to know them prior to the shoot really help us tailor the shoot to them and all the colors around the area really brought the decor to life.
The photographer, Megan Blowey, was creatively drawn to the Spanish textiles and vibrant array of colors. There was a warm romantic beach vibe mixed with the dewy feel of the ocean. The class and style that our couple brought to the table was on another level. The boys were fashionable and sweet. There is definitely many more memories to come for them.
Like many modern romances, the Internet brought us together! Alex was relatively new to NYC, hailing from Montréal, and was eager to find someone to explore the city with. After a few days messaging, we met up at Aria Wine Bar, a place we return to every year on the day! We spent the entire evening eating, drinking, laughing, and getting to know one another. The connection was instant. We’ve been together ever since.
What about the proposal?
It wasn’t a secret that we were in it for the long haul, so the topic of marriage was an early subject in our relationship. As the days turned into weeks, months, and years, we started getting serious about picking an engagement day and making it happen. Designing each other’s rings was so fun! Since it was a mutual exchange, rather than a surprise proposal, we took it as an opportunity to plan a great day in celebration of our love. We first enjoyed lunch at Gramercy Tavern and exchanged rings and sweet words (and some tears) over dessert. We then met up with some of our closest friends, popped (more) champagne, and watched the sunset from the One World Observatory.
When did you know that you were meant to be with each other?
There wasn’t really a singular moment, but rather, it was something we each knew all along. As with lots of human relationships, over time we evolve and continue to discover new things about each other, but our dedication to, compassion for and celebration of one another’s true, independent selves remains steadfast. While we definitely share the same fundamental beliefs and values, the little differences keep us learning. It also doesn’t hurt that we are also awesome travel buddies!
Going into the wedding planning, what did you definitely know?
We tried early on to figure out what were our must-haves versus nice-to-haves. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all of the options and opinions out there, so this made decision-making a bit easier. For example, top-notch food and bar were non-negotiables, but we were okay with not having a proper photobooth. Instead, we put out Polaroid cameras and had people take their own pictures and clip them to a frame. The results were pretty hilarious. We also opted to rent a nearby loft on Airbnb and walk to our venue instead of splurging on a hotel suite. Instead of a live band, we had a jazz trio during our ceremony and cocktail hour, and opted for a DJ during our reception. Because we don’t live in Montréal, it was important that the venue wasn't a completely blank space. We did all of the designing and planning ourselves, so by having our wedding at a full-service restaurant, we didn’t have to build the event from scratch, but could still add our own touches.
What surprised you during planning? What was easy, what was difficult?
How organized you have to be if you want a larger celebration and aren’t willing to hire someone to plan it for you! We put our mutual project management skills to good use, coordinating with vendors, planning run of shows, tracking expenses, managing the guest list, designing the stationary, etc.. Communication between us and staying grounded was key. We also had the incredible willingness of our friends and family to pitch in wherever necessary, whether it was filling up their car with homemade decorations to bring cross-border or helping us figure out if the midnight poutine station is really worth having (the answer is always a resounding “yes!”). We are forever grateful, friends!
Is there anything you wish you knew while you were planning your wedding that you know now?
People told us that the day would fly by, but WOW did it go fast. Months of planning comes down to a weekend. Try to take moments for just you two together. Amidst the blur, you will remember those.
Any advice for couples planning weddings now? Anything you would have done differently or anything you’d like to add?
1) If you can, hire a day-of coordinator. You do not want to be worried about whether the band will arrive on time or if the reception is set up according to the floor plan you’ve created. It freed us up to focus on each other and our loved ones, and be in full celebration mode. While hiring a coordinator can be expensive, try utilizing your social network. Our coordinator ended up being a friend of a friend who loves planning and putting on parties. Not only was it more feasible for us financially, but it provided her with valuable experience and some new vendor contacts.
2) Be okay with the fact that you won’t be able to please everyone. Our family and friends are pretty scattered, so a bunch of guests were going to have to travel no matter what, something I felt guilty about at the beginning. People came from all over to join in our celebrations, and we still are so appreciative of this.
3) Make sure your celebration reflects who you are as individuals and a couple. As long as it works for you, it will work for others. Considering how many weddings your guests attend, they will probably not remember the minute details you spent time perfecting. Make them remember how happy they were that day; for themselves; for you, for your families, for the different communities with which you may identify. Make your love permeate the air. Give them a party, but also give them a reason to celebrate. What was your favorite part of your wedding day? We both loved our ceremony, specifically the vows we exchanged. One of Alex’s closest friends married us and wrote the most beautiful, personal ceremony. Our sisters gave the readings. It was all very emotional. Afterwards, many guests told us how deeply moved they were by it. Not that we needed their validation, but it meant a lot that they were so positively affected, especially considering that for a lot of them, it was their first same-sex wedding.