An Italian Garden-Inspired Wedding in Santa Barbara, California
When Kati spotted Erik at the Bungalow—a bar in Santa Monica, California—in 2013, she quickly decided that he was, as she puts it, "the most gorgeous man I had ever seen," and didn't hesitate to walk across the room and introduce herself. "We were inseparable the days and weeks after," she describes now—right up until their June 1, 2019, wedding.
On that day, Kati and Erik hosted their nuptials at Sunstone Winery and Villa in Santa Barbara, making the outdoor fête a destination affair for their 150 guests, Kati says. With the help of planner Percy Sales Events, the couple crafted what Kati describes as a "garden intimate" wedding with abundant florals, neutral hues, and a touch of Italian glamour (a nod to the bride's heritage). "We wanted our guests to feel as if this was a small gathering of friends even in the large venue space," she says. Their color palette—those neutrals mixed with sage, yellow, and pink—let the venue shine and helped to create that cozy atmosphere, Kati explains. "We wanted that charming, classic Italian feel with glamour put in the mix," she says.
From their first look to their last dance, Kati and Erik say their wedding was everything they wanted it to be. And they espouse the value of a planner to help execute a perfect day. "This might sound obvious, but hiring a wedding planner that you love as a person and trust is so important," Kati says. "Percy Sales not only made my life so easy throughout the whole wedding planning process, he also made my big day so much fun. If there were any stressful moments or hiccups, I never knew about them."
The Perfect Place
Much like her first interaction with Erik, Kati knew Sunstone Winery and Villa had to be their wedding venue from the moment she saw it. "We loved that we could rent the villa for the entire weekend and host small get-togethers with our family and friends leading up to the wedding," she says.
The couple's invitation suite, designed by Kelly Patrice, was created with ivory paper and sage green envelopes—and hand-tied with ivory silk gauze ribbon and fastened with a white wax seal. White calligraphy was used to address the envelopes.
Time for a Toast
Kati and her 10 bridesmaids celebrated the morning of the wedding with some Champagne, while dressed in matching light pink pajamas (her flower girls clinked their juice glasses!).
The bride never pictured wearing a lace wedding dress. (Instead, she'd envisioned a modern and sleek style—something Carolyn Bessette might wear.) But as soon as she slipped on her lace Monique Lhuillier gown, she knew it was the one. "Everyone else knew it was the one as well when I walked out of the dressing room," Kati says. "There were a lot of tears and 'ohs' and 'ahs."
A lace veil and peep-toe heels—also by Monique Lhuillier—complemented the bride's dress.
Kati's wedding shared a special connection to her parents': Doug, a close friend of the mother-of-the-bride, pictured here, served as the couple's officiant. "He had never officiated a wedding in his life, but the night Erik and I got engaged and we started thinking about who would marry us, I instantly thought of Doug," Kati says "Doug walked my grandma, who has passed away, down the aisle when my parents got married, and he has always been a close family friend. Having Doug up there to marry us made us feel more at ease."
The bridesmaids wore sage-hued Show Me Your Mumu dresses in various styles.
Pretty with a Hint of Pink
Hogue & Co. made Kati's bouquet with ivory peonies, roses, and greenery. Bridesmaids carried similar arrangements—but with more pink worked in.
Kati and Erik chose their ceremony site, a vineyard on the property, for its unique oak tree, which has intertwined branches—a literal symbol of two lives becoming one. A large wood oval was designed as the backdrop for the space, and was later decorated with peonies, roses, stock, and greenery. (The structure was later reused at the reception's exit.)
Two flowers girls, dressed in white lace dresses, sprinkled petals down the aisle.
Can't Help Falling in Love
Kati's dad escorted her down the aisle to a live vocalist singing "Can't Help Falling In Love"—but that wasn't the only memorable moment Kati shared with her dad that day.
"Our father-daughter dance was a definite crowd pleaser," Kati recalls. In fact, she and her father took dance lessons so that they could really wow the crowd. At the reception, they slow danced for 45 seconds—then broke out to an upbeat mashup of songs. "Everyone was so surprised and cheering us on," she says. "By the time the dance was over, everyone was feeling super upbeat and ready to get the party started."
The couple chose to write their own wedding vows. Looking back now, Kati says hearing them for the first time at the ceremony is a favorite memory. "It was very intimate and emotional," she says.
Take a Seat
Escort cards—sage-colored pieces of paper—were displayed on an eight-foot-tall acrylic board. Each piece was affixed to the board with a wax seal, harkening back to the couple's invitation suite.
The couple hosted their reception on a yard with views of Santa Barbara's mountains. "The setup was an intimate mix of round tables and wood king tables flanking the dance floor," Kati describes. But inarguably, the focal point was the couple's sweetheart table—their intimate station, complete with a settee, was placed on a platform overlooking the reception space.
Mix and Match
Some of the wooden tables were decked with towering arrangements of roses, Italian ruscus, white stock, sweet peas, and ranunculus, while others—including the linen-topped round tables—featured smaller centerpieces.
Round and Round
The couple's round menu cards were another unique touch. "We wanted a round piece to peak out of the classic folded ivory napkins," Kati says, noting that they were a fun, modern detail on the otherwise classic tabletops.
Erik and Kati's stunning sweetheart table was "decked out with chandeliers, candles, and florals," Kati describes, which created "a garden pergola feel."
Kati's family is Italian, and the couple wanted to honor that heritage with their wedding food choices. In addition to Italian classics created by their caterer, Catering Connection, Kati and her family also made gnocchi for the big day. "No caterer's gnocchi was up-to-par with my mom's," Kati explains. "So, with the help of my family and friends, we started making the Cattaneo family homemade gnocchi a month before the wedding and freezing the pasta so it was fresh. We served it with Erik's favorite browned sage butter sauce and it was a huge hit."
Ice, Ice Baby
Iced treats kept guests cool throughout the open-air reception.
Kati and Erik's cake was created in a hexagon shape, iced in white frosting, and decorated with fresh flowers. Inside were layers of vanilla sponge cake with lemon curd filling and raspberries and chocolate sponge cake with chocolate ganache and chocolate mousse.
Photography, Jenny Quicksall
Location, Sunstone Winery and Villa
Event planning, Percy Sales Events
Catering, Catering Connection
Flowers, Hogue & Co.
Videography, Luxury Lifestyle Studios
Stationery and calligraphy, Kelly Patrice
Cake, Christine Dahl Pastries
Bride's gown and accessories, Monique Lhuillier
Hair and Makeup, Elwynn and Cass
Bridesmaids' dresses, Show Me Your Mumu
Groom's suit and accessories, Bree Jacoby Inc.
Menswear, The Black Tux
Transportation, Santa Barbara Air Bus