A beautiful California wedding with plenty of golden light and chic details!!! Check out this adventure…

from the photographer: ” Anna and Dean’s spring Santa Barbara wedding at Hotel Californian was the perfect mix of stylish and romantic. The classic black and white theme- with a bit of greenery and gold for that California flair- along with the impeccable fashion and venue choices, perfectly showcased the couple’s amazing taste and style. Their wedding venue, Hotel Californian in downtown Santa Barbara, was special to them not only because it was where they celebrated their first anniversary but because the modern yet timeless aesthetic of the hotel perfectly matched with their wedding vision. Anna and Dean wanted a Santa Barbara chic wedding with a fun and relaxed atmosphere where their guests could dance the night away. The couple chose not to do a first look, opting to see each other for the first time as Anna walked down the aisle with her mom. Seeing the emotion on Dean’s face when Anna came through the courtyard doors was truly the most memorable moment of the day. As for florals and decor, it was important to the couple to source local in-season flowers and greenery.  All the flowers were white except for the bouquets which featured some beautiful pale pink roses. Their ceremony backfrop was beautiful half arch of greenery and white flowers. For the rooftop reception, they hung bistro lights that fell perfectly over three long guest tables that were made up of green eucalyptus garland and candles. Anna works in the fashion industry, and it truly showed in her bridal style- her backless dress with ornate sleeves paired with white Manolo Blahniks and her mother’s veil made for an impeccable bridal look. She changed into a second feathery and short dress for the reception (made by her mom!) and personalized high tops perfect for the epic dance party that ensued. Dean chose a classic black tux with black bow-tie, black suspenders, white shirt, and black patent leather shoes.”

How did you meet? 

We met through a mutual friend. Anna grew up with him in Minnesota and Dean worked with him at Paramount Pictures. We had known each other for a few years in LA and there was always a spark, but it took a Halloween celebration to get the love story started! We had out first date a week after that Halloween party and knew right away this was something special!

What’s your proposal story? 

Dean proposed in the height of the COVID pandemic. We booked a staycation at a beach resort in LA to enjoy the fourth of July weekend. Unfortunately, the beaches were closed for the weekend but they made the most of the weekend relaxing by the pool. One evening Dean suggested they go for a drive around Rancho Palos Verdes. During the drive he pulled over to get out and take in the sunset view. While staring at the ocean Dean got down on one knee and asked Anna to marry him, it was an immediate YES! While walking back up to the car, out of excitement, Anna yelled at strangers “I’m engaged!”. The two spent a romantic night back in their hotel room.

Tell us about your wedding and attire choices. 

We really wanted to keep our wedding us! We chose Santa Barbara but more specifically the Hotel Californian because we spent our first anniversary there. It’s a place we kept coming back to and you can’t beat the hotels esthetic. We knew we wanted our wedding to look classic but also have that California vibe. Our main colors were black & white with added hints of gold and green with our flowers, chairs, and place settings.

What was the most important thing to you when planning your wedding? 

We wanted out wedding to be fun! Selecting the right DJ and playlist was so important to us, we really wanted people to feel like they were at an amazing party. All the attention to detail paid off, following dinner and speeches the dance floor was packed the entire night.

Favorite part of the day? 

The day was perfection. From getting ready with our parties, the ceremony, dinner and reception everything was flawless.

From Dean: One of my favorite memories of the day was a quick quiet moment with Anna following the ceremony. We opted not to do a first look and while that had me crying at the alter it was the perfect way to kick off our wedding day. After our ceremony we hid in a hallway while our guests made the way to the roof. It was a surreal after all the planning and excitement and get to have a few minutes with just Anna to take it in was something that was so special.

From Anna: And dancing! We could have danced all night!

Favors and special traditions? 

Yes, Dean’s mom has a tradition of baking a butter cookie in lieu of favors. Along with the cookie donations were made to the American Cancer Society and myFace, causes close to our hearts.

Family is really important to Dean and myself. Our whole wedding was about celebrating our love and the people that showed us how to love. We actually got married on my parents wedding anniversary which was super special to me because my dad passed away when I was 9 years old and it felt like a really good way to honor him. For the wedding as my something old I wore a bracelet given to me by my aunt who had passed away the October before our wedding – the bracelet had been a gift from my dad to her. My something borrowed was my mom’s veil.

On the day of the wedding Dean and his wedding party golfed at Sandpiper Golf Club in Goleta. This has been a long standing tradition for the Sykora family and I was so happy Dean continue that tradition.

Any advice for couples planning now? 

Start early but enjoy the process! Before getting into the real planning we had conversations about what we both wanted out of the day. When we started contacting venues and vendors we were always aligned and made decisions almost instantly. Our advice would be to trust your gut but take time to enjoy the planning process. The day happens so fast, but the planning is what helps get you excited to marry the love of your life.

Photography: Kaitie Brainerd Photography | Ceremony Venue: Hotel Californian | Reception Venue: Hotel Californian | Event Planning: LA VIE EVENTS | Floral: Alexis Ireland Florals | Stationery: ZOLA | Videography: Amari Productions | Wedding Cake: Hotel Californian | Hair: Cheek to Cheek Artistry | Makeup: Cheek to Cheek Artistry | Wedding Dress: THE LAW BRIDAL | Groom’s Attire: The Black Tux | Bride’s Shoes: Manolo Blahnik | Bridal Salon: The White Room Minneapolis | Submitted via: Matchology

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