A Santa Barbara Wedding
This past weekend my baby brother Andres and his lovely girlfriend Sara got married.
Sara and her family are everything my mother ever wanted for my brother. Who Sara is as a person, as a woman, and as a partner and friend, is literally my mother’s dying wish for my brother, so for me – and for us – she’s a dream come true. Our mother’s presence during this beautiful time was felt by everyone there. Even those who never had the pleasure in meeting her personally could sense her warmth.
The wedding took place in Santa Barbara, CA, where my brother and Sara often visit from Los Angeles and where my brother proposed. We kicked-off the wedding celebrations as any good Dominican-Persian-American family would: by dancing.
The drive from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara is about an hour and a half, most of it along the scenic Pacific Coast Highway. It is just as easily accessible and just as scenic a ride via the Amtrak train. The city of Santa Barbara is nestled between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Its weather and beauty has made this a luxury retirement destination for many and a coveted wedding spot for others.
The ceremony was held at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum, which is home to displays of Santa Barbara’s history, from the Native American age to modern times and serving as a wonderful resource for the study of regional history. The museum evokes beautiful Spanish Californian architecture throughout, much of which we enjoyed from their Spanish courtyard where both the ceremony and reception took place. Despite the chill in the air (made better by the heating lamps throughout) the beautiful pink and blue glow of the clouds during sunset gave the scene an additional romantic feel and overall dream-like effect. Everything was flawless: the service and food was great, and we had a wonderful time.
Where we stayed
The wedding couple stayed at the Canary Santa Barbara Hotel, a luxury boutique hotel right in the center of downtown Santa Barbara and a very short drive from Santa Barbara beach. This hotel exudes luxury with its wrought iron handrails, painted tiles, and warm design.
I got a glimpse of the luxury suite, an upgrade gift provided to the wedding couple from the hotel, often reserved for their most prominent guests. It was breathtaking with its two bathrooms, living and dining room area, huge bedroom with four post bed, and the large balcony. A warm thank you to wedding rooms coordinator Devin Drake for taking such special care of my brother Andres and his bride Sara during their stay.
I also got to see one of their regular, smaller rooms, and it was lovely as well, the four post beds ever present and the touch of luxury, design and comfort not to be missed.
Brunch at Coast, their in-house restaurant, was a wonderful send-off for us and a relaxing way to start a lazy weekend day. The Roasted Tri Tip & Egg Sandwich with cheddar, arugula, charred tomato and home fries will take care of any lingering post-wedding celebration ailments you might be experiencing.
A few of the guests, including myself, stayed at the Hyatt Santa Barbara which I really enjoyed because it was right across the street from Santa Barbara beach and only a 15 minute walk to some of the sights I got to enjoy before I left.
The hotel was built on 1931 and also reflects a lot of the Spanish architecture so prominent in the area. Inside however, the hotel is modern and offers all the amenities one could ever need, with many of their rooms providing guests with direct views to the ocean. I highly recommend getting a corner room as these are more spacious and offer the best light.
The Bistro 1111 is their in-house restaurant and lounge where you can sit an enjoy a quiet breakfast in the morning while admiring the views of the beach.
What to do
I was so busy with all the wedding activities, I didn’t have an opportunity to do much else in Santa Barbara, however, I did get to walk along Stearns Wharf Merchant and have a lovely seafood lunch at Moby Dick Restaurant, where their fish tacos are huge and their lobster bisque actually has hearty pieces of lobster in it! Delicious. While having lunch I got to see a seal bopping in and out of the water and people paddle boarding, an added activity on my to-do list when I return.
I really regretted missing out on the various wine tasting venues located throughout Santa Barbara and taking advantage of their urban wine trail. Don’t make my mistake when you go, definitely do this. I made sure to ask only for Santa Barbara wine when ever I had a chance and was never disappointed.
State Street is the main drive of Santa Barbara. It’s where most of the shopping is, the eateries (both high end and not), the cute cafes, and the people watching. The plaza is a nice place to hangout and take in the scene, just park the car and walk!
Of course, that’s the short list…there’s way more to do than that.
Our family is delighted to have grown over the weekend. We adore Sara and her family and are thrilled to have been a part of such a joyous occasion. They fell in love with Santa Barbara some time ago and it has been one of their favorite getaway spots long before the wedding. Of course, for me, Santa Barbara holds a special place in my heart now too and I just can’t wait to go back and get to see more of it!