On a recent Sunday afternoon, I set off amid a picturesque drizzle from my home in beautiful Ojai to beautiful Santa Barbara. The occasion? A Day Celebrating Weddings, a boutique bridal fair put on by our stylish friends at Your Wedding Day Magazine. What better place to track down the latest event trends and cool wedding ideas?
The setting was the recently renovated Santa Barbara Historical Museum, a fetching downtown venue with a quaint elegance all its own. The museum’s adjoining courtyards were made into lavish outdoor rooms by The Tent Merchant—which are as far a cry from camping gear as you can get! Instead, imagine the luxurious digs of pashas and Moroccan princesses. With the addition of lounge furniture, oriental rugs and other decorative flourishes, it was easy to see how outdoor spaces can be uniquely transformed into luxe party spots.
Some other clever innovations on display: Bella Umbrella showed off their collection of colorful vintage umbrellas—one-of-a-kind originals from the 1900s thru the 1950s. What a fun way to offer personal shade to your guests during a sunny party, or to coordinate the fashions of your bridal attendants. I also liked Santa Barbara Polo Club’s Groom’s Chocolate Bar—smartly arrayed sweets on tiered dessert trays in masculine shades of dark brown and black (a tasty way to pay homage to the guys!). Strictly girly, however, were the sparkly treasures offered by Perfect Details —beaded handbags, shoes, pillows and wedding jewelry pretty enough to make you weak-in-the-knees. Perfect Details’ new beach wedding collection boasts jewelry adorned with tiny shells and starfish, and would make darling gifts for bridesmaids.
There were so many standout stylists among the event planners and florists, but one trend was clear: Strong colors are hot, pastels are passé. If you like pink or light blue, choose a rich tone—sherbet and Tiffany, rather than a dated pale shade. And contrast them with chocolate brown or black for maximum impact. The hautest color combo of the season is inspired by a gourmet farmer’s market—artichoke and aubergine (never say green and purple!), with hints of gold for extra glam.
I came away from this bridal fair bursting with creative ideas—and I’m not even planning a wedding. Just think what these festive expos can do for you! (For GUIDElines on making the most of bridal fairs, click here.)