Home » An Elegantly Rustic Dinner Party Wedding in Santa Barbara

An Elegantly Rustic Dinner Party Wedding in Santa Barbara

by Staff

After a mutual friend set them up, Laura Taubman and Danny Barton agreed to go on a blind date in August of 2018. The two arranged to meet for drinks at a spot in Los Angeles, but their connection was so strong that they decided to extend the date into dinner. They ended up talking for over three hours. At the end of the night, Laura and Danny were hesitant to part ways, so they continued texting one another for another four hours. 

Three years later, Danny booked a romantic night away with Laura at Thacher House in California’s Ojai Valley. Since the region was one of the first places the couple visited together and was where Laura attended sleep-away camp every summer growing up, it held a special place in their hearts. After the duo stepped foot in the property’s Carriage Housecomplete with over 14,000 vinyl recordsDanny got down on one knee. “Danny and I still laugh that I never actually accepted his proposal,” Laura reflects. “I was so giddy and excited in the moment that I just wrapped my arms around him and kissed him.” 

The couple wanted to tie the knot right away, so they planned an entire wedding in just four months. Two weeks before the big day, their initial venue fell through, so it was back to the drawing board. When Laura and Danny were originally searching for their locale, they fell in love with Dos Pueblos Orchid Farm in Santa Barbara, but they thought the greenhouse would be too big for their intimate wedding of 50 guests. After their first venue never came to fruition, the farm was still on their mind. “We looked at a couple venues, but nothing felt right,” Laura says. “I kept comparing everything to Dos Pueblos Orchid Farm, and I knew it just had to be there.” When they learned that the venue was available for their December 19, 2021 wedding date, it was fate.

The setbacks didn’t stop there, however. Since Covid surged the month of the couple’s wedding, almost half of their guests canceled at the last minute. The pair went from 50 guests to 27 guests a day before they said “I do.” Luckily, these unforeseen circumstances didn’t undermine the bride and groom’s special day. “The love and kindness we felt from our family and friends who both showed up and came together to make our wedding happen was beyond compare,” Laura reminisces. “The group was small but mighty! Those who came did so with hearts so full that not even Omicron could deter them. They traveled from England, France, the Midwest, and the East Coast and showed up with the fullest of hearts, showering us with love, excitement, and a dance floor that never stopped rocking!”

After multiple setbacks, Laura and Danny finally became husband and wife at an organic wedding, painted in a neutral color palette and decorated with greenery, wildflowers, and wooden materials. Keep scrolling to see how they pulled out all the stops, planned by Trisha Haner and photographed by Tara Johansen.

Since the bride and groom experienced a last-minute wedding venue cancellation, they also had to scramble to find a new rehearsal dinner venue. A few days before their nuptials, Laura and Danny came across The Valley Project, the same wine tasting room they visited on their first trip to Santa Barbara three-and-a-half years before. With delicious catering by Le Great Outdoor and heartfelt toasts from friends, it ended up being the perfect place to gather their guests for a pre-wedding party. 

For the occasion, the bride donned a strapless printed Johanna Ortiz dress with black Givenchy heels. The groom suited up in black and slipped on white sneakers for contrast.

As someone who works for NuFACE, the bride-to-be classifies herself as a skincare fanatic. So to prep her skin before the big day, she diligently used her NuFACE Trinity. Since Laura doesn’t usually wear a lot of makeup on a daily basis, she chose an elevated look for her wedding. Her makeup artist, Ashley Cornett, describes it as “classic, effortless glamor” with “a dash of California cool.” Ashley painted a soft nude shade on the bride’s eyelids and brushed her skin with bronzer. For her hairstyle, Laura wanted loose waves, and her hairstylist, Trina Duarte, individually sewed baby’s breath into her locks.

For her nuptials, Laura sported a floral lace gown with a deep V-neck and an open back by Mira Zwillinger. “There was just something special about it,” the bride says of her getup. “It was one of the first dresses I tried on, and every dress I tried on after couldn’t compare.” 

She paired her elegant ensemble with white Christian Louboutin stiletto pumps, floral diamond drop earrings that once belonged to her great-great-grandmother, and a diamond tennis bracelet that Danny gifted her on her birthday.

It was a really happy and beautiful moment, filled with giddy laughter and lots of excitement.

After Laura debuted her dress to her dad for the first time, the bride showed off her attire to Danny during their first look. Danny also revealed his outfit, a black Lanvin suit. “It was a really happy and beautiful moment, filled with giddy laughter and lots of excitement,” Laura recalls. “We were just so happy that the day was finally here. With everything that had transpired in the last two days before the wedding, getting to this moment held deeper significance—our wedding day was here and happening.” 

The future newlyweds also used their first look as an opportunity to document the moment and take a minute to reflect. “Despite all of the craziness and chaos, I never lost sight of the bigger picture,” Laura shares. “We were marrying each other and committing to spending the rest of our lives together. Ultimately, that’s all we wanted.” The bride made sure to capture her bouquet of white wildflowers and greenery, which coordinated perfectly with her bridal whites.

Instead of prescribing a certain look, Laura wanted her bridesmaids to wear something they felt comfortable in. “It was more important to me that they felt beautiful than having them all match,” the bride explains. “In the end, I think all of their outfits played really nicely together.” Without planning it, two of her bridal party members ended up wearing emerald green dresses. Danny’s groomsmen also picked out their own attire.

The ceremony took place on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Guests sat on wooden benches lined with organic arrangements of wildflowers and greenery. “The pieces were designed to feel like a running garden on each side of the aisle,” Laura notes. A floral chuppah, wrapped in Laura’s grandfather’s tallit, stood at the center of the setup. “He was unable to attend due to COVID, so it was special to have a piece of him there with us,” Laura shares.

Both of Laura’s parents escorted the bride down the altar while a string trio played “8 (Circle)” by Bon Iver.

We laughed and cried as we read the vows we had written.

The duo followed a Jewish wedding ceremony, but they infused it with personal touches. The bride and groom asked Rabbi Naomi Levy to officiate the vow swap. It full-circle moment as the rabbi blessed Laura at her baby-naming ceremony when she was a newborn.

The pair also wrote their own vows, which coincidentally referenced many of the same moments from their relationship. “We laughed and cried as we read the vows we had written,” Laura remembers. “There was so much emotion, and the words we shared will forever be precious to us and made the ceremony feel very honest and pure.”

After sharing their first kiss at sunset, the newlyweds’ ring bearer, their Australian Labradoodle named George, accompanied them back up the aisle during the recessional. “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles aptly wafted around them. “Out of all the incredible moments of the weekend, the ceremony stands out as the most special since it was the moment in which we became husband and wife…family,” Laura expresses.

After they were pronounced husband and wife, Laura and Danny snapped photos with the ocean views on full display. 

After the vow exchange, guests walked down a path lined with 200 candles until they reached the illuminated greenhouse reception space. “The 40-foot ceilings and steel framed windows provided the perfect blank canvas to bring our vision to life,” Laura says. To execute their “rustic elegance” aesthetic, the couple embraced natural textures, like exposed wood, and had the ceiling engulfed in vines, glass orbs with tea light candles, and twinkle lights.

Sticking with the organic feel, friends and family grabbed drinks from a wooden bar flanked with assortments of wildflowers. The couple served seven different signature cocktails, from margaritas to dirty martinis.

Each table boasted centerpieces of sweet pea, scabiosa, larkspur, herbs, and vines planted in garden boxes. Flickering candles scattered around the arrangements cast a warm glow over the evening. Instead of traditional place cards, guests found their names on leather napkin rings. Burnished metal flatware and off-white dishes finished off the place settings.

For their first dance as newlyweds, Laura and Danny swayed to “No Love Dying” by Gregory Porter. “During your first dance, take a minute to pause and look around at your guests,” Laura advises. “There’s massive amounts of love and joy, and it’s all for the two of you.”

In addition to their dance as a couple, the bride and groom also hit the dance floor with their parents. “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” by Stevie Wonder played while Laura and her dad shared their special moment. For the mother-son dance, Danny and his mom requested “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers.

After dining on a farm-to-table menu with seasonal and locally sourced ingredients, the bride and groom listened to speeches from their friends and family members.

The dance floor was packed all night, especially for the couple’s hora dance. Then, everyone continued the party at The Ritz-Carlton Bacara’s private courtyard, which included a fireplace and late-night snacks. “It created the perfect cozy wind-down spot for our guests to hang out and for us to hold onto the last embers of the night,” Laura states. 

Even though wedding planning was a whirlwind for the couple, their big day ended up being a dream. “The whole experience was a reminder that sometimes things don’t go according to plan, but that doesn’t mean they don’t work out for the best,” Laura says.

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