At This SoCal Celebration, the Bride Couldn't Wait to Tell Her Groom That Her Wedding Dress Had Pockets
While studying for their shared biology and chemistry classes at the University of Southern California in August 2006, Corey Kelsom and Evan Alicuben found it easy to connect: "Having both been born and raised in Hawaii, it was very easy for us to get along as friends first, since we had so much in common," says Corey. Friendship ultimately turned to romance, and, in 2015 Evan, now a physician, proposed to Corey, now a pharmacist, at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, California.
As they began planning their fall wedding for 155 friends and family, the couple kept thinking of the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara, where they had previously stayed for a work conference. "We fell in love with the hotel grounds, décor, and town," says Corey. "It was the perfect location for a weekend getaway that would facilitate our friends to attend."
Corey and Evan decided on November 9, 2019, for their ceremony and reception so they could incorporate the tones and feeling of autumn. "We wanted a classy and elegant yet organic and natural vibe," says Corey. "We chose a wedding date specifically in the fall so as to have a somewhat darker color scheme, rather than pastel." With help from their planners from Event of the Season, they put together a palette of navy and slate accented by mauve, peach, and neutral shades for an aesthetic they describe as "nontraditional, romantic, and feminine." They finishing touches were a variety of personal moments: Evan's memorable, self-written vows; Corey's surprise hula performance; and emotional speeches from the best man and maid of honor. "During and after the wedding, so many guests remarked on how the love in the room was just so tangible," says the couple.
Pretty in Pink
For their invitation suite from Event of the Season, Corey and Evan wanted a "clean, modern" look, so they chose flat printing on white cotton stock. Mauve liners and reply envelopes set off the crisp font and dusty blue outer envelopes, while a wax seal with a paper crane design matched the 1,001 paper cranes folded for the reception.
Corey found her wedding dress at a Lazaro trunk show, where the designer himself drew her a sketch of the gown as a keepsake. "I wanted a somewhat eclectic, yet classy and elegant dress," she says. "The moment I saw the phoenix feather pattern on the neckline of the dress, I knew it was the one."
She added black stud earrings, a diamond bracelet borrowed from her mother, and blue Manolo Blahnik flats—plus a Cartier bracelet Evan gave her as a wedding gift, and a Tiffany & Co. ring the couple gave to everyone in their bridal party.
Coco Rose Design arranged a full bouquet with a natural shape for Corey, including ranunculus, heirloom roses, orchids, and a variety of foliage for texture.
Corey felt so strongly about letting her bridesmaids choose a gown they loved, that she didn't limit them to a color or designer; instead, she let her maid of honor pick a dress and took each of the other women shopping individually to select their favorite frock. The resulting lineup included a dove gray Amsale off-the-shoulder; a blue Bill Levkoff halter; a navy blue Jenny Yoo V-neck; and a beaded BHLDN blouson.
Their First Look
Corey and Evan shared their first look in a garden on the hotel's property. Evan remembers the nerves he felt while waiting for Corey—which disappeared when he saw her. "I turned around and was floored," he says. "It was even more stunning than I had imagined, and renewed my feeling of gratitude that this person chose me to marry."
Corey agrees: "I felt incredibly nervous leading up to the first look, but the moment I saw him, all the nerves dissipated instantly. All I could remember was being excited to show Evan that my dress had pockets, and to give him a packet of gummy bears that I had stashed away!"
The duo defined their outdoor ceremony space with a large floral arch that marked the altar; an aisle carpeted with white hydrangea and rose petals; and two curved floral structures at the entrance. Black chairs created a rich contrast against the bright flowers, and two overflowing hedge-style arrangements stood behind the last row of seats.
Love and Joy
Musician Kevin Miso performed Coldplay's "Yellow" as Corey's father escorted her down the aisle. A friend of the couple officiated the ceremony, during which Evan and Corey exchanged their own vows.
She Said, He Said
Evan insisted that he and Corey write their own vows and keep them private until the ceremony. The bride referenced some of the couple's favorite shows and movies, incorporating a favorite Captain America quote: "I'm with you until the end of the line."
Evan took a different approach. "Evan, being in academic surgery, couldn't resist the urge to infuse some methodogical structure," says Corey. "His vows were presented in the format of a surgical research presentation, complete with background, methods, results, and discussion of findings. He described an exhaustive search for writing the ultimate set of vows and the conclusions based on these findings."
Sealed with a Kiss
After exchanging vows, the couple shared their first kiss as husband and wife before leaving the altar for their newlywed portraits.
So Happy Together
While Corey and Evan posed for sunset photos on the nearby beach, guests continued on to the cocktail hour. The couple served Moscow mules—their favorite drink—with passed appetizers that included fig, blue cheese, and sugarcane brulée; kobe beef meatballs; and lobster grilled cheese.
Birds of a Feather
A freestanding structure held paper crane escort cards—just a selection of the 1,001 folded paper birds Corey and Evan displayed at the reception.
"The paper cranes represent good fortune and prosperity for marriage," says Corey. Others were displayed in the shape of two dragons, matching the couple's Chinese zodiac signs.
Post-cocktail hour, the party continued inside, in one of the venue's vast ballroom. On the round tables, low centerpieces included blooms in darker fall tones—chocolate, burgundy, mauve, and white. Gray side plates at each setting held wrapped boxes of Corey and Evan's favorite sweets from Fran's Chocolates.
White on White
Cream-colored raw linen tablecloths coordinated with white ceramic plates, taupe pillar candles in glass hurricanes, and bamboo-inspired silver flatware. Pale gray-blue napkins matched the chair cushions, while menus in vellum pockets called back to the same materials used in the invitation suite.
A Sweet Surprise
Colin O'Dea Cakes created a multi-tiered lavender cake with raspberry buttercream and lemon buttercream for the couple, decorating the outside with sugar phoenix feathers to match Corey's gown. "The wings were pearlized to make them stand out against the textured white fondant covering the cake," says Corey. "Due to this, Evan was not allowed to see the cake design until the wedding reception!"
Love Is in the Air
For their first dance, Corey and Evan chose a version of Bob Marley's "Is This Love," covered by Allen Stone, which they appreciated for the "chill and reggae vibe" that reminded them of their home state of Hawaii.
Though it's common in Hawaii for brides to dance the hula at their wedding, Corey kept her performance a secret by telling Evan she didn't have time to prepare. But after changing into a party-ready BHLDN gown, she took the floor to perform to "Pua Kiele" by Josh Tatofi. "When the dance was announced, Evan was in shock," says the bride. "At the end of the song, the room erupted in applause and cheering."
Photography, Tenth and Grace
Venue and Catering, Four Seasons Resort the Biltmore Santa Barbara
Event Planning, Event of the Season
Flowers, Coco Rose Design
Videography, Quixotic Weddings
Stationery, Event of the Season (design); Matrix Print Solutions
Cake, Colin O'Dea Cakes
Music, Kevin Miso
Rentals, Bright Event Rental; La Tavola Fine Linen Rental
Bride's Gown, Lazaro (ceremony); BHLDN (reception)
Bride's Accessories, Lazaro veil; Jax Kelly earrings; Cartier bracelet; Tiffany & Co. ring; Manolo Blahnik shoes
Hair and Makeup, Priscilla Woo
Bridesmaids' Dresses, Amsale; BHLDN; Bill Levkoff; Jenny Yoo
Groom's Attire and Menswear, Friar Tux
Groom's Tie, Hermes
Lighting, Bella Vista Designs
Favors, Fran's Chocolates
Groom's Wedding Band, Na Hoku
Guest Book, Blue Sky Papers
Paper Goods, Lotus and Ash