Wow, it’s been a while. My last wedding update was 4 months ago and after a second lock down, venue hunting, and countless moments of feeling like I would never be able to write this post here goes: WE HAVE A NEW VENUE!!!
As you may remember, our wedding and original date were cancelled back in November as the venue decided to no longer host events. (I won’t rehash that now but feel free to read about it HERE). As that email sank in so did the reality of California going back on lockdown with new stay-at-home orders. I used that time wisely and began researching new venues…something most bride’s don’t get to do twice! As soon as the lockdown was lifted I arranged for a few venue tours and #onceuponacline venue search version 2.0 began.
We started our search at Alisal Guest Ranch in the nearby Santa Ynez Valley and y’all, if you have the budget for a wedding at this stunning ranch DO IT!!! We toured the Sycamore Grove which is over 300 years old and the Adobe area of the ranch. The entire vibe was stunning and I could envision our guests arriving on hay wagons to the ceremony and dining on trip-tip under the centuries old trees. Spoiler Alert: as much as we loved Alisal it was too far out of our original budget so we had to pass.
Next up was Bodega, a charming wine garden we have visited in Los Alamos. Initially the idea of our wedding in this charming backyard inspired space seemed like a no-brainer but as we sat on a busy Saturday afternoon we realized it was just too small for a ceremony & reception to flow the way we had hoped. Since ruling Bodega out we have actually met someone who did get married there and for what he and his wife wanted it was absolutely perfect. This is the thing about venue shopping, people seem to think it’s fun and easy…it is in fact neither.
Our 3rd venue tour was in Santa Barbara at the Historical Museum. We both loved the idea of this gorgeous outdoor setting just steps from downtown Santa Barbara. There were 2 perfect areas for us to use: 1 for a ceremony and the other for the cocktail hour and reception. It all seemed perfect and for certain couples I know it is. For us it was a bit more “work” than we wanted. The museum is basically a blank slate and everything from the tables and chairs to napkins, forks, and even the kitchen have to be brought in. Knowing we wanted to coordinate and design the wedding ourselves this undertaking was more than we were willing to bite off.
Randomly after looking at the museum we were having lunch and some wine and met another couple venue hunting. We began exchanging tips on venues, pricing, locations, the pain of a #covid postponement and all things wedding. They were on their way to view a venue I had walked past a dozen times but hadn’t come up on any of my searches. A few days later as I was agonizing over the same list of the same venues I had already ruled out I remembered their mention of Villa & Vine.
I pulled up the website and found tons of images (so helpful) plus pricing that was plain and simple to understand (If you are a venue, do this more often!). I sent an email and arranged for a venue tour the following weekend. Chris and I (plus Hogan) arrived and were greeted with a gorgeous white washed courtyard with bougainvillea and a small fountain. There were wrought iron chandeliers and a fireplace. Aesthetically it was gorgeous but not what I envisioned for our wedding. I should explain that during the day Villa & Vine hosts a pop up coffee shop, Caje, and it was filled with groups enjoying the beautiful day. We were invited to have a coffee and chat with one of their preferred wedding planners to understand what a wedding there could look like. As we sat and chatted and took in the space…the people…the energy…and honestly, the amazing package and pricing we made the decision right then and there to book! WOO HOO!!!
That’s right. We have a new venue (Villa & Vine) and a new date (Fall of 2022) which means planning is officially back underway. We have since booked an amazing wedding planner who will be my new bestie and month of savior, Melanie from Luck Eleven Events and are about to book our ceremony at the Santa Barbara Courthouse Sunken Gardens. I have chatted with an old friend who happens to own one of the biggest DJ companies in Southern California and have already found a specialty rental company I love.
I promise, now that we are back on track, to share more regular updates with you!