Real Wedding | Kate & Mike

Kate and Mike | September 26, 2009 | Santa Barbara, California

Kate had problem.  How to pick just one dress.  She smartly solved it by picking two!  One for her engagement photos, and one for her wedding.  The two dress styles were completely different and now she has San Francisco “wedding photos” (where she and Mike live) to go along with her Santa Barbara wedding pictures.

What I love most about her actual wedding, were all of the sweet and personal touches.  Flags for the guests to waive, flip flops for the ladies (who hasn’t wished for that when their heels start to hurt) and an intimate setting created with candles, photographs and the perfect flowers. There is a lot to like about this wedding.  Take a peek and I think you’ll agree.

How he proposed
Mike proposed when we were on a vacation in Ireland, in March of 2008. After a fun day of horseback riding, we went back to our room to relax. When there was a break in the rain, Mike suggested we take a walk along the manor grounds, and it was then that he proposed to me in a tiny grove of trees by the river. It was private, sweet, and something I’ll always remember – afterwards, the rain inevitably picked up again, so we went back up to our room where a bottle of champagne was waiting for us to celebrate.

Real Wedding | Kate & Mike

The ceremony
Our Ceremony took place in the Mural Room of the Santa Barbara Courthouse. About 100 guests joined us as Mike and I exchanged vows in a short, 20 minute ceremony.

Real Wedding | Kate & Mike

The moment Kate will never forget
I knew I would have a great time parting with friends at the reception, but I was surprised at what a fabulous time we had during our ceremony – A family friend officiated so there was lots of lightheartedness and laughter, Mike and I had written our own vows so every word was extremely personal and meaningful, and I could literally feel the aura of love and support from all of our friends and family. It was truly “our moment.”

Real Wedding | Kate & Mike

The reception
When guests arrived they were greeted by servers with our signature cocktails,  Tarheel Blue Lemonade (A nod to UNC Chapel Hill, where Mike and I met in grad school), my favorite – Classic Mojitos, and Anchor Steam Beer – brewed in San Francisco where Mike and I have lived for the past three years. After appetizers and cocktails, we all sat down for a three-course dinner, which was followed by dancing for the remainder of the evening.

Real Wedding | Kate & Mike

The wedding theme
Our theme was more of an atmosphere we wanted to create for our celebration, which perhaps could be described as ‘relaxed chic’ – I wanted all of our guests to know how much we appreciated them being there, without having a ‘stuffy’ or too formal feel to the event. The programs were very simple, but mimicked the trim of my dress; there were flags for our guests to wave as we walked down the aisle, and we tried to make the reception venue (University Club of Santa Barbara) feel like a ‘home’ with hundreds of candles, family pictures around, a Polaroid guest book, and lots of other personalized and vintage touches.

Real Wedding | Kate & Mike

What about her wedding dress told her it was “the one”
I’m actually already a PreOwned success story; I had tried on a few dresses and looked at thousands online, but nothing really stood out to me until I saw this one. Even though I had only viewed the dress online, I immediately knew it was my dress! I was of course still a little skeptical and nervous about making such a big purchase online, but when I received the dress, it was PERFECT and just as described. Just as I have, the first owner took special care of the dress knowing it would go on to another bride – I totally believe in what this website is about, and I absolutely love that the dress has the potential to once again make another bride feel unique & exquisite on her wedding day!

Real Wedding | Kate & Mike

Advice for other brides
To maximize time with our guests during the reception, we made and stuck to a tight photo schedule. Right after the ceremony, Mike and I left to take pictures on the courthouse tower while our families lined up inside for the family pictures. After 10 minutes we went back into the venue and just stepped into the big family shoot where everyone was already waiting. After that, the extended family was able to leave for cocktail hour, while Mike and I finished up some shots around the courthouse. Because the family pictures went so smoothly and quickly, we were able to join our guests for part of the cocktail hour.

Real Wedding | Kate & Mike

Engagement Photos: Aaron Blum Photography

Wedding Photography: Kristen Grinell Photography

Kate’s Wedding Dress: Pronovias Estefania