Rebecca and Ian’s Californian wedding was a triumph of planning and it was great to hear all about it when the newly weds came to put their love lock on our Lockwood Bridge recently. We all had a fabulous time, over coffee, looking at photos and videos and hearing about this lovely couple’s inspirational wedding in Santa Barbara USA. We were blown away by it all and thrilled when Rebecca and Ian gave us permission to share their story with you.
What is so lovely about this wonderful wedding is the way it reflects Rebecca and Ian’s unique sense of style and fun. They shared, with those closest to them, an amazing, cultural journey to the places that they love, which culminated in a beautiful and very personal ceremony with celebrations that perfectly express who they are as a couple.
And so the story begins…
Rebecca, how Did you first meet Ian?
Ian and I met through work. We’re actually a bit of a cliché as, although we didn’t become romantically involved until long after we no longer worked together, we did first meet when I successfully applied for the role of PA to the new Managing Director who turned out to be Ian. I found Ian to be a great boss and we worked well and successfully as a team for about 4 years running the European office of an American Credit Card company until we were both made redundant when the business was purchased by another large financial services company.
What was the first thing you noticed about him?
I first met Ian when he arrived at our offices as the new MD. Ian turned up and the first thing I noticed was his long hair and untucked shirt and jeans. He gave a little speech about how much fun we were all going to have together and I must admit, initially, I was a little worried about having this ‘wanna be’ surfer dude as the new boss man!
Was it love at first sight?
It wasn’t love at first sight at all. In fact I never thought about Ian in that way when I worked for him (although Ian may tell you that he believes that would have been completely impossible for any woman). It was a few years after we went our separate ways that Ian and I first broke the ice romantically. Ian confessed first that he had feelings for me and initially I was pretty shocked. He had been my boss and was quite a few years older. That said, I had always loved working with Ian, I knew him well and knew he cared about people. I also knew that together we had accomplished many great things in the work environment, so the idea of becoming partners in life seemed like (despite the challenges and the many obstacles we had to overcome) it may just work. The first kiss was certainly weird…but I soon got over it!
How Did Ian Propose?
Ian proposed to me when we were in New York after we had been together for two and a bit years . We had met initially because we both worked for GE. We were in New York as part of an East Coast holiday and Ian took me to a cocktail bar at the ‘Top of the Rock’ – the huge Rockefeller building which was the GE HQ from 1988 to 2015. I had no idea he was planning to propose and so when he wanted to go out on the terrace, where we couldn’t take our drinks, I was panicked (being a Yorkshire girl) that someone may steal our not so cheap drinks while we were out there. Little did I know the waitresses were putting some champagne on ice for us as Ian had told them of his plans to propose!! He proposed down on one knee on the terrace, on the 65th floor of the building which was the HQ of the company where we first met – how apt!
What was the best bit about your hen do?
The hen do was fabulous but the best bit was the number of people that celebrated with me. We booked the Teppanyaki for dinner and the Wet Spot in Leeds which is a burlesque show as the after dinner entertainment. I can understand that some people may be a little nervous about the prospect of a burlesque show but it was all done in best possible taste (almost) and none of the guests were asked to take part in any audience participation. All of the hens put a lot of thought into the dress code and everyone looked fabulous.
And the Stag Do?
What was it about Santa Barbara and your venue that made you choose it for your wedding day?
We didn’t actually see either of the venues (Bluffs or Tavern) in Santa Barbara until the day before our wedding and at that point only Ian saw them; I didn’t see them until the day of the wedding…pretty scary eh? Nah it was a breeze. We had chosen Santa Barbara as we completed the obligatory Californian road trip in the early part of our relationship. We arrived one evening and stood by the rooftop pool of the hotel and saw the sun set over the mountains in the distance and thought it was so beautiful that we made a vow there and then that if we ever got married we would do it in this beautiful town.
Image at Winecountry.com https://www.winecountry.com/regions/santa-barbara-county/santa-barbara/
We saw the Bluffs on the website of the elopement company that helped us, ‘Santa Barbara Elopement’ and the Cold Spring Tavern we found on YouTube.
As we were wanting a western themed wedding, the Tavern, as an old stagecoach inn way up in the mountains, was perfect and the Bluffs were free so helped on the budget front as well as being…well on the side of a cliff in a nature reserve overlooking the Pacific Ocean…just how bad could it be?
Tell us a little bit about how you prepared for your wedding – the themes and which things were the most important to you?
Ian and I are big fans of modern country music and after we had decided to do the wedding in Santa Barbara we thought why not go the whole hog and do a country themed wedding?
I knew straight away that I wanted to wear cowboy boots with the dress, the colour scheme was easy – red white and blue the colour of both the Union Jack and the Stars and Stripes and everything else seemed to stem from there.
Music is extremely important to both of us, especially to Ian and we spent a long time choosing the music for the ceremony and the band that would play in the evening. The result was fantastic…an acoustic version of Sweet Child O’ Mine in the Californian sun followed by a ho down with a local band called the Dusty Jugz in the evening could not have been more perfect.
The way our guests dressed was also important, we loved it and in the end…so did they.
We asked them to follow, if they could, the red, white and blue theme and to keep it country so we have lots of hats and boots.
We signed up for line dancing classes and decided to do our first dance as a line dance to a modern country song called Sober by Little Big Town. We were very conscious of the fact that America is not the cheapest place to get to, so we wanted to make the event as special and memorable for everyone that was able to come and be part of our big day.
You looked amazing on your wedding day. What were you looking for when you set out to find your wedding dress? How did you know it was THE ONE?
Initially, when looking for the dress, I knew I wanted a fitted dress but thought I may have one with sleeves and was looking at a dress that rose up at the front to show off my cowboy boots. I did find a dress that did exactly that and thought this was the one until I went to Limelight. I had met Sue at a sample sale and had already booked an appointment at Limelight for the following week as my sister in law and one of my bridesmaids had got their perfect dress there. Sue was amazing from the moment we met. I tried a couple of the sample dresses on in a makeshift changing room that had been set up at the site of the sale and she made me feel special from the moment I met her. I told her about the dress I had fallen for and my upcoming appointment. Sue arranged to make sure she had my preferred dress in stock for my appointment as well as other styles she thought I might like.
Sue spent more time with me than the allotted appointment time and insisted I try on as many dresses as I liked until I felt comfortable with my decision. One of the dresses Sue had chosen for me ended up trumping the previous front runner and I was able to be sure it was the one because Sue had got the other dress ready for me to try it alongside the new winner.
If you had to choose three favourite memories of the day which would they be and why?
I cannot possibly choose 3 favourite memories as there were so many! I would say my Dad’s speech was just perfect. He is not used to public speaking and not one that enjoys a lot of attention but his speech was perfectly delivered and full of love and he made me so proud to be his daughter.
The memory of all of our special friends and family who were able to make the long trip across the pond to be there with us will stay with me forever. Many of them had never been to America before or on such a long haul flight so I will be forever grateful of the efforts they made to make the day so special for us.
The final favourite memory for me would be seeing Ian waiting for me at the edge of the Bluffs. I was very nervous on the day and just wanted to be married to Ian.
My favourite favourite memory however was the moment Judge Brian Hill pronounced us husband and wife.
If you were to ask Ian however, he would obviously say seeing me for the first time in the dress, but also he would point to all of the Americans who spent hours on the phone with him and crossed many many emails prior to us arriving, who we would now consider friends, who really helped in all sorts of ways to make the day so special.
Were there any unexpected surprises that made you laugh or cry on your wedding day?
Ian had gone to such great lengths to try and make me cry but to no avail. As I was stuck in the hotel room from 10am on the day of the wedding getting beautified along with my mum and the bridesmaids, Ian had arranged on the day for me to have a surprise present every hour until we had to leave for the ceremony which was a very romantic surprise – this was the first of 3. The second surprise was when Ian played a recording of my Grandad he had done while I was away on my hen holiday. That almost tipped me over the edge.
The final surprise was when he got up on the stage at the Tavern and sang me a country song with the words changed to make it special for us both.
I laughed the whole way through the event after the serious bit of the wedding as I was so very happy.
What music did you choose for your wedding and first dance – and why are those pieces special to you both?
Our musical tastes are very eclectic. You already know about the modern county music, but rock music is also very important to us. We chose 3 songs for the ceremony that were stripped back acoustic versions of the originals and Ian spent a long time searching for the right people and finally settled on a duo from down the road in L.A. My procession song was Truly Madly Deeply by Savage Garden the words fitted so well. In the middle they played Sweet Child O’ Mine by Guns n’ Roses, simply because we both love it and the riff is so instantly recognizable and they finished with I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing by Aerosmith because well it just doesn’t get any more romantic than that!
Then to the Country bit…we had the Dusty Jugz of course and some line dancing, but the first dance was a song most people will never have heard of. One of the reasons that we love country is that the bands are huge in the US and then over here hardly anyone knows who they are. This particular band we both fell in love with and then we heard ‘the song’ that lyrically we knew straight away just had to be our first dance.
The band is called Little Big Town. We met them recently at their gig in Manchester, told them the story, which they promptly announced on stage when they played the song. The song is called ‘Sober,’ look them up on the link below, listen to the lyrics then you will understand why.
After your amazing adventures in the USA…you held fantastic party back here in the UK – can you tell us a little bit about it?
The party back in the UK was held for all of those that were unable to attend the US do. We wanted to try and make the UK day as special as the one in the States for all of our friends and family. The venue was The Yorkshire Heart Vineyard and Brewery at Nun Monkton in York and those that know me well, will understand that this was perfect for me and my love of beer. We had a marquee which we dressed with Union Jack and Stars and Stripes bunting, the table centre pieces were cowboy boots filled with red, white and blue flowers, we had a couple of big screens displaying a slideshow of pictures from the hen do, stag do and wedding, uplighters in red white and blue, an American airstream trailer serving good ole’ southern food from Smokin Blues, who are often found at York and Malton food festivals, our line dancing instructor and a mechanical bull for good measure.
Rebecca is truly fearless! To see our beautiful bride riding a bucking bronco in her wedding dress click the link below…
We got a cake from Costco and iced it ourselves with the American flag and Ian brought along his Mustang and our friends brought their Harley Davidson for a photo opportunity for the bride and groom. We booked a band from Wakefield – The Snapp – and Ian’s band he had put together with colleagues from work performed too.
Together, you and Ian created a truly inspirational wedding…what advice would you give to new brides-to- be who are just beginning to plan their special day?
The best advice I can give is make the day about you. The more it demonstrates your personalities and your likes, the more special your day will be. It is your day and you should make it about the two of you. Try not to stress about others too much, they will be happy if you are happy. Finally, everyone said it to me, but you don’t realise until after the day – make the most of every minute you can in the run up but especially on the day itself. The time disappears and before you know it – it’s gone. If you can stretch the budget, try and get a video of the day so you can relive it afterwards – especially of the night do and the casual moments where everyone is having a ball and is involved. Capture all of your guests as they are a massive part of your memories!
Rebecca and Ian – we wish you a lifetime of love and laughter – thank you for sharing your amazing memories with us …
With lots of love from Limelight
Wedding Photographer Kiel Rucker, Santa Barbara, California.