Real Wedding | Ciprina & Brian

Brian and Ciprina seem like the kind of couple who do everything glamorously (just check out that proposal story).  Their beautiful wedding was no exception.  Completely gorgeous with every detailed attended to. And everything they hoped it would be.

Ciprina & Brian | May 10, 2010 | Santa Barbara, California

How he proposed
Three years after dating, Brian surprised me with a trip to Paris for two weeks. On my 30th birthday, Brian ushered me to the most prestigious restaurant in France, Tour d’ Argent for dinner then escorted me to Moulin Rouge, for an exquisite cabaret show and then afterwards flew us to Musée du Louvre, the world’s most illustrious museum where Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa forever smiles.

Then, Brian summoned me from behind on one knee and asked me to marry him as he presented a diamond crown.

The  ceremony
We choose to have our ceremony at the Babcock Vintner’s Home & Cottage, an enchanting 1920’s Mediterranean artifact in Santa Barbara, California.  It was everything we dreamed of, it was charming, chic with Victorian and French decor and it accommodated all the fairies of our tale.

Our theme resembled the city of Paris with Queen Victoria inside a Vintage carnival.  It was intimate and royal and attended by only 40 of our closest family and friends.  I chose to have my mom not only walk me down the aisle but be my maid of honor and best friend.

The reception
Brian and I along with our guests relished a three course meal provided by SBB underneath the stars and were serenaded with live Classical music and Latin Jazz.

Our tables were covered in dark teal linen with mismatched colored napkins.  The table was showered with hanging votive crystals, silver beaded votive lamps and silver urns full of flowers that included, white snap dragons, buttercup mini daffodils, white import roses, coral peony, pale pink lisanthus, green hypericum berry, white stock, Sahara rose and peach rununculus.

After dinner, Brian and I had our first dance as Mr. & Mrs.  We danced the Fox Trot to Harry Connick Jr.’s version of “It Had to Be You”.

Splurges and Savings
We splurged on the venue, catering, entertainment, party rentals and photographer.

We saved on flowers by having our wedding outside.  We made our own invitations, inspired by an illustrated carnival extravaganza greeting card that we found at a French boutique and saved on metallic envelopes by purchasing in bulk on line from

We saved on bridal accessories and wedding crafts by sale hunting online using Ebay, Etsy and various other sites.

How she knew her wedding dress was  “The One”

Initially, I thought dress shopping would be electrifying but I found it to be an exhausting and a difficult chore.  I slaved away for months rummaging through a rash full of wedding dresses both online and in stores.  Nothing appealed to me.

For months, I leaped into white dresses that made me cringe, some gave me a tickle of hope but none made me want to prance on my tippy toes.  My mind and body grew numb from the intense dress seeking workout that I highly considered designing my own. Until I met  Amy Michelson’s Monaco gown.

What Cipriana will never forget
Brian’s gift to me before the ceremony.  A twenty-dollar bill ripped and sealed back together, framed in rustic wood that resembled a royal relic.  It was matted in deep red velvet and armored in museum glass.

*Three months into dating Brian shockingly ripped a twenty dollar bill in half.  He gave me one half, and kept the other.  He said, “Trust me.  One day I will give this back and it will have meaning”.

Her advice for other brides
Don’t stress out trying to make everyone happy and every detail perfect.  Less is more, even when it comes to inviting guests.   Keep it intimate for it saves money, allows you more time to eat, laugh and enjoy your husband with your closest family and friends.

Don’t be afraid to make alterations to tradition.  Cherish those who you would least expect to help and brush off those you would expect and don’t.  Don’t let others steal your joy.

Congratulations to all you Batting Eyed Brides!  Best wishes and Good luck! May your life as a Mrs. be sweet and delicious.

Ciprina’s Wedding Dress: Amy Michelson Monaco / Photography: Tom Meinhold