Emily and Willy met at a high school dance in 2012; they dated through graduation and went long distance when they went off to college after senior year. In April 2021, the pair got engaged after a long hike in Colorado Springs, where they lived at the time.
When the couple thought of where they wanted to host their wedding, they fell in love with Chez de les Fontaines, a private estate in Montecito, California. The estate offered gardens with unique spaces for different parts of their big day, including a greenhouse, a lawn, and a tennis court that was transformed into a speakeasy and silent disco. “We wanted each space to be an experience in and of itself for our guests and we wanted it to flow in a circle around the giant property, with each space leading into the next,” Emily says.
The vision for the wedding? Romance, elegance, and timelessness. “We were inspired by the places we’ve shared together,” the bride says. “The UCSB beaches, the greenery we experienced while living in Colorado, the travel we have done, and the flowers that my husband brings me weekly. We wanted to feel like we were isolated on a loving island with just our friends and family.”
They teamed up with Lisa Gorjestani and Lauren Wanamaker of Details Events Planning and enlisted Emily’s mom to pull off a romantic, garden-themed wedding with a color scheme of white, green, and platinum for their 240 guests. Read on to see all of the details their photographer, Michelle Beller, captured on September 17, 2022.
The couple invited loved ones to their wedding with elegant invitations by Cecile’s Paper Co.; they featured floral illustration details as a nod to their romantic garden theme. The suite was finished with a silk bow and custom wax seal. Guests received gift baskets upon arrival complete with a local Santa Barbara wine, a custom candle with the couple’s favorite scent, and a personalized note.
Emily and Willy’s wedding weekend kicked off with their rehearsal dinner. The bride-to-be wore a custom off-the-shoulder Monique Lhullier dress with billowing sleeves and a subtle floral print; Willy chose a blue suit with a pale yellow tie with stripes.
The couple offered a candy cart, where guests grabbed sweets that doubled as rehearsal dinner favors.
Guests dined on the lawn, where wooden tables were embellished with vibrant floral centerpieces, blue goblets, and gold flatware. They served several signature cocktails, including cucumber gimlets, watermelon margaritas, and elderflower Champagne sips.
On the morning of the wedding, Emily got ready for the ceremony with her mother and sisters, which ended up being one of her favorite parts of the entire day. She stepped into an Oscar de la Renta ball gown with ruffles and texture along the skirt and hand-made flowers down the bodice.
She found her gown at the very same dress shop where her mom said yes to her own wedding dress years prior. “It was actually the first dress I tried on and I knew I loved it, but wanted to try on all styles and many designers before I made my decision,” Emily says, “When I tried it on for the second time, I knew.” She paired her dress with a one-of-a-kind Oscar de la Renta veil made to match.
For her bridal makeup look, Emily wanted her eyes to pop, so she went with a simple hairstyle to allow her makeup, dress, and veil to stand out.
Emily’s sisters served as her co-maids of honor. The bridal party wore platinum dresses in varying styles that suited them best (and spoke to the event’s color palette).
The couple’s ceremony took place underneath a canopy of trees, where an existing archway was adorned with thousands of flowers to become the focal point. “The flowers had all sorts of different personalities,” Emily says of the multiple varieties used. “This made the setting very unique.”
The aisle was lined with more lush, all-white flower arrangements. Guests arrived in the estate’s main driveway and were greeted with Champagne cocktails embellished with gardenias and custom ceremony programs tied with silk ribbons.
Emily and Willy hired a string quartet to play during the ceremony. After her father, Boris, gave her a squeeze and a short pep talk, Emily walked down the aisle with him to “Can’t Help Falling In Love” by Elvis Presley. “Seeing Willy for the first time all day as I was walking down the aisle brought me so much emotion, relief, and happiness all at the same time—which was a feeling I’ve never experienced before,” Emily says.
Willy was resplendent in a black Armani tuxedo with custom gold studs and cufflinks and a Burberry cologne Emily gifted him for the big day. The couple wrote and exchanged their own vows: “They told a bit about our 10-year love story and we wrapped each of them up with the classic wedding vows and sealed it with a kiss!” Emily says.
The ceremony arch doubled as a walkway that led guests to the cocktail hour, where they found a 250-glass Champagne tower placed underneath an arbor. The space had high top tables dressed in floor-length linens. Attendees enjoyed signature cocktails and appetizers during the interlude.
The atrium on the property was turned into a bar area for guests to socialize inside. The staircase was decorated with white grounded floral arrangements and the bar had a floral wallpaper backdrop; greenery hung from the ceilings. Guests found their table numbers on framed escort cards hung on a lattice fence.
A giant structure wrapped in vines was built over the entire reception area. Chandeliers hung from the structure to create a magical setting. “We had booths and tables built to create an outdoor dining experience that was cozy and comfortable for everyone,” Emily says. Lamps were added to the space for an additional glow and a white runway structure was set over water and embellished with lanterns.
The tables were dressed in embroidered linens; centerpieces featured white floral arrangements and taper candles in glass hurricanes. The couple chose white plates and chargers with scalloped edge details and white linen napkins for a cohesive look.
Emily and Willy sauntered down the built-in runway as they made their grand entrance to the reception before sharing their first dance to Odessa’s “Across The Room” featuring Leon Bridges. “Strutting down the over-water walkway surrounded by our loved ones to the dance floor and doing our first dance that we had multiple choreographed lessons for—without any major mistakes or trip-ups—was so fun,” Emily recalls. The bride shared a father-daughter dance with her dad to “You’ll Be In My Heart” by Phil Collins; Willy danced with his mother to “Feelin’ Groovy” by Simon and Garfunkel.
The couple’s five-tier wedding cake was displayed in the garden underneath an oak tree. The design of the cake was inspired by the floral embellishments on Emily’s custom veil. They went with a lemon berry and chocolate chip cake with vanilla buttercream. After they newlyweds cut their cake, guests followed them through the garden to their after-party space.
Emily and Willy’s after-party took place on the tennis court, which was transformed into a speakeasy and silent disco with velvet couches and booths. Emily changed into a long sleeved Oscar de la Renta mini dress with floral appliqué details. They hired a live pianist to play as guests enjoyed the bar and late night burgers—and they created a side room for the silent disco. “We had two sets of music playing in color coded headphones,” Emily says. “Red (Willy’s favorite music) was dance and green (Emily’s favorite music) was country and pop.”
At the end of the evening, guests were led back down the main driveway—where they started the day—for the couple’s grand exit. Emily and Willy left the estate in dramatic fashion via a dark green vintage 1983 Rolls Royce British Corniche racing car.
The pair spent their honeymoon in Bora Bora. To couples in the middle of planning a wedding, they recommend taking in the moment. “Step back to look out at the party and take time to appreciate the situation and event,” Emily says. “This will be the best day of your lives, so do everything you can to cherish it and not make it fly by.”
Wedding Planning and Coordination Details Events Planning
Bride’s Gown and Veil Oscar de la Renta
Bride’s Hair and Makeup Team Hair and Makeup
Bride’s Rehearsal Dinner Dress Monique Lhullier
Maid of Honor’s Attire Alexia Maria
Bridesmaids’ Dresses Amsale
Mother of the Bride’s Dress Elie Saab Couture
Groom’s Attire Armani
Groomsmen’s Attire The Black Tux
Flowers Marks Garden
Invitations, Paper Products, and Favors Cecile’s Paper Co.
Guest Book After The Tone
Ceremony Music Clover String Quartet
Reception Music West Coast Music
Silent Disco VOX DJs
Catering Untitled Events Catering
Cake The Butter End
Rentals Edge Design Decor,Town and Country Event Rentals, Ark Event Rentals, Revelry Event Designers, Casa De Perrin, Found Event Rentals, Theoni Event Rentals, MTB, BBJ La Tavola Linens, Luxe Linen
Transportation Executive Limousine & Coach
Accommodations Rosewood Miramar
Videographer Hoo Films
Photographer Michelle Beller
Lighting Bella Vista Designs
Vintage Car Classy Chassis