Rich with culture and love, this Santa Barbara wedding is one for the books. The couple put a twist on their wedding day, fusing both of their backgrounds and traditions together, from the ceremony to the farewell. Onyx + Redwood helped bring to life the bride and groom's dream day, while Michael + Anna Costa Photography captured each moment and detail of the day perfectly.
Girl Meets Boy!
We met on a study abroad in Brazil in 2009 while working on our masters degrees, and we both knew there was something special between us the moment we met. After dating long distance, finally living in the same city, and traveling the world together, we got engaged in 2017 during sunset on the beach in Koh Samui, Thailand, which was our third trip to the country. Katie was completely surprised, as she never would have thought Unni would've traveled with an engagement ring. It turns out he proposed with a temporary one he bought at a Hong Kong night market so he could catch her off guard.
Wedding Planning Inspiration
Unni's family is from Kerala, India. Katie's roots are from Poland and Slovakia. It was important to both of us that we fused both cultures and traditions into one ceremony, as we were coming together in marriage and wanted to represent two people coming together as one. We did a fusion of everything -- from flowers to food to wedding ceremony and attire. Katie's wedding lengha was from India and her wedding gown was hand made in Europe. We pulled colors and style from the attire and cultures and chose venues which were open and natural and allowed us to focus on our fusion theme. Unni lived in Santa Barbara in the beginning of our relationship and it has become a very special place to us. Choosing Santa Barbara as the backdrop was an obvious choice for us since we have created so many memories there.
We chose corals and pinks, inspired by Katie's lengha and the two venues: Fess Parker (now Hilton) and Santa Barbara Historical Museum. Gold was also a primary color as it is often seen in Indian jewelry and attire. We incorporated some fall colors like mustard and copper to round out the palette. And navy was chosen for the western attire for groom and groomsmen to add a level of sophistication as Katie changed into her wedding gown and the celebrations continued at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum.
Customizing everything and choosing so many details was not an easy road, but the most rewarding one. It forced us to focus on choosing things that truly represented us, rather than relying solely on repeating traditions or following a template. Fusing eastern and western elements into the ceremony made our wedding unique to us. And hearing that our guests from both sides enjoyed learning about the culture of the other was success in our book.
We chose to have our first dance painted rather than captured on video. Having a painter live paint our wedding was not only a hit with the guests, but gave us a keepsake we can look at every day in our dining room!
The most memorable part of the wedding was writing and reading our own vows at our ceremony. To express our love for each other from the heart, in our own words, in front of family and friends was a magical moment.
Also exciting and rewarding was seeing everything come together as a true fusion and hearing family and friends tell us what they enjoyed about the other's culture. Blending both worlds into one wedding and having our guests recognize similarities and differences in culture and truly appreciate the coming together of both was a big success.
Another memorable moment was being able to watch my own wedding ceremony from the bridal suite balcony of the Fess Parker (Hilton). Unni and his family and friends had a walking Baraat where the groom's family dances to music on their way to greet the bride's family.
Raddest Wedding Vendors
We loved our photography team from Anna and Michael Costa. Their style was creative and exactly what we were looking for. Anna was a joy to work with and made us feel incredibly comfortable on our wedding day, which is important because your photographers are capturing intimate, emotional moments of your special day! Anna's artistic and documentary-like style of shooting, along with setting us at ease, is reflected in all of our photos. We wanted to capture our day as it was.
Enjoy Cupcakes was a great wedding cake vendor because the flavors are so unique (hundreds of combinations to choose from), and all made from scratch. This allowed us to get creative with dessert instead of serving typical wedding cake flavors. Our flavors included creative combinations like honey hazelnut, toasted coconut cream and mango, lavender hot cocoa, and Indian love -- chardonnay cake filled with rosewater, cardamon, and lemon infused pastry cream, topped with lemon frosting and ground pistachio!) which was what we had for our cake cutting.
Our wedding painter, Laura Jane Fine Art, provided a unique experience for our guests, and lovely keepsake for our home. We were happy to capture our first dance through a painting.
The makeup and hair vendor, Blushing Beauty, gave me exactly what I was looking for. Jenny, the owner, is easy to chat with and comes to a quick decision on which style is right for hair and makeup by listening to your feedback, assessing the style for you, while using your wedding details for inspiration.
Advice for Newbie Brides
It's never too early to start planning! If you decide to truly customize your special day, know that it will take much more energy and effort. Getting married is the most important part of the day, so always keep that in mind. Some things will inevitably not go as planned, so try early in the planning to accept that and remember that for the day of. In the end, getting married to the love of your life in a special moment with your loved ones is all that counts!