A Beach Wedding in Santa Barbara

Trip Start Nov 05, 2009
Trip End Nov 08, 2009

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Where I stayed
Fees Parker Double Tree

Flag of United States  , California
Saturday, November 7, 2009

Everyone decided to sleep in a little later today but we had planned on going to the breakfast buffet and then going to walk on the board walk for a while.

My uncle called and asked if he could come to our room and visit since we didn't get much of a chance to see him with all the wedding plans they were taking care of. He came and asked us if we would like to go to lunch since the wedding wasn't until the afternoon. We decided to do that.

We made plans to go to Stern's Wharf for lunch. Since we were going to lunch we skipped breakfast and shopped in the hotel's gift shop, took some pictures and walked on the beach. Once again there were tons of people outside walking on the beach, swimming, roller blading, riding bikes...tons of activities. People here lead very active lives. There was actually a 5k race going through the middle of Santa Barbara this morning.

We drove up to Stern's Wharf and met up with my cousin Andy, his son, cousin Jenny and my uncle Butch. We decided to eat at Longboard's Grill on the wharf. It was a gorgeous day so we opted to eat on their upstairs patio.

Longboard's is a cute surf styled bar and grill with great ocean views and views of Santa Barbara. They had awesome and different mixed drinks on their menu and their offerings weren't over priced. I noticed alot of healthy options on their menu. We placed our order and sat talking for a while.
Andy's young son Caden was fascinated with the pigeons that were wondering all over the deck. Longboard's gives out free peanuts and people tend to feed the pigeons so they stay close by the restaurant at all times. We shelled may peanuts for him so that he could feed the birds and keep occupied until our food came. Our drinks came out and mine was the Tropical Itch a blend of tropical fruits and spiced rum...yum! Our food came out next. I ordered the Santa Barbara Roll which was very good. Everyone was happy with their food. Once we finished eating we checked out a few of the shops on the wharf before returning to the hotel to shower and get ready for the wedding. The shops at the wharf are typical tourist shops and sell t-shirts and other nicknacks, there is also a ice cream store and a few fishing related stores as well. The higher end and more unusual shops are found on State Street.

Once everyone showered and changed we met some other relatives at Barra Los Arcos for a few drinks before the wedding started. Shelly's wedding was being held on the beach across the street from the hotel.

We went across the street and mingled with the other folks there to attend the wedding. We finally met Derek who is Shelly's fiancee, he was very nice. The beach was set up with white folding chairs, a small band and speakers, 4 photographers and an adorable black wrought iron trellace with hot pink chiffon ribbon and strands of glass beads and starfish hanging from it. We walked up the beach to take our seats before the wedding started. I never realized before but my god is it hard to walk on the beach in heels!

Once everyone was seated the music started and the bridesmaids came down the isle in their beautiful but simple black gowns, each carrying a bouquet of hot pink flowers. Carsen and Caden my little cousins were the flower girl and ring bearer and marched up the isle before Shelly carrying a home made banner saying "here comes the bride".
Shelly had both her parents escort her down the isle. I've never seen that done before and thought it was touching. Derek is originally from Hawaii so they presented each other's parents with lai's before exchanging their own. One of their friends is an ordained minister so he performed the ceremony on the beach with readings done by several other friends. When it came tome for their vows Derek performed a song he'd written for Shelly and incorporated his vows into it. It was very beautiful and almost everyone was crying.

After the ceremony on the beach a cocktail hour with hors d'oeuvres was served in the outside Upper rotunda of the hotel. We could see the wedding party having their pictures taken on the beach at sunset as we enjoyed the food and drink. They served various type of beer and mixed drinks including a hot pink mojitio which is Shelly's favorite.

Once the picures were taken the weddding party joined us for cocktails before it was time to go inside for the reception. The reception was held inside the hotel in the Reagan Room. Shelly and Derek continued their beach theme with actual star fish name holders and photos of themselves as favors. The tables were decorated with hot pink candles and crystals. They hired a local band to do the wedding party introductions and also to play. 

The menu for the reception was pretty fancy but good. They had a cucumber salad, fresh made rolls and butter, onion soup en croute, beef, a fish filet, asian vegetables, wild mushrooms, coffee, tea, champagne, wine and ofcourse offerings from the open bar.
Throughout the night the photographers took group family photos with the newly married couple, the band played and everyone danced. The obligatory tossing of the bouquet took place as well as the cutting of the cake. The photographers put together an impromtu slide show of the pictures they took during the ceremony that could be viewed and they also presented their video of the ceremony to the entire room. It was very well done.

Their entire wedding was really nice and unique in alot of unexpected ways. We had a great time and Shelly was very touched that we travelled all that way to see her get married.

Things Learned on Day 3 in California:

1. Stern's Wharf website : http://www.stearnswharf.org

2. Longboard's website : http://www.longboardsgrillsb.com/

3. The shops at the wharf are typical tourist shops and sell t-shirts and other nicknacks. The higher end and more unusual shops are found on State Street.
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