“Perfect.” “Elegant.” “Them.”
Described by guests as, “the wedding that [eclipsed] all other weddings,” Shaun and Megan’s wedding day was distinct from the moment it began.
The couple met as many modern couples do: through an online dating app. Whether it was fate or a well constructed algorithm, the two fell in love over mutual appreciation of art and a quaint dinner at Little Doms in Los Feliz, Los Angeles. A year and a half later, Shaun popped the question under the fireworks on Fourth of July in Palm Springs. “It was spontaneous (which is not very Shaun) and from the heart (which is very Shaun) and it caught me completely by surprise,” Megan says.
With her background in architecture, Megan was able to use her skills as an architectural designer to construct her perfect wedding. “Planning a wedding is a lot like executing a design. There’s creating a cohesive design, coordinating, coordinating, coordinating, and then finding the right people to execute your vision,” she says.
“There’s nothing like planning a wedding to make you question who you are as a couple,” and the Santa Barbara Zoo was the answer for two people who self-declared themselves to be big kids.“The clincher was that Rincon [Events and Zoo Catering] would be producing the event...we essentially had the guarantee that the wedding would run smoothly no matter what might be thrown our way...it felt like one-stop shopping without having to sacrifice any quality.”
Angie Chaves from Rincon provided coordination. “[She] was a constant support. From helping us pick our wedding date to reassuring us that they would have it covered if anything out of the ordinary happened, to handling all of the coordinating for the vendor scheduling and rentals, and even helping us to finalize our menu. She was also quick to answer any questions and help us incorporate any elements that weren’t offered by Rincon. She kind of did it all.” Along with Rincon, Shaun and Megan also hired Tanya with XOXO Weddings to help them find vendors to fit their vision and stay within their budget.
The morning of April 20th dawned grey and foggy, a classic Santa Barbara Saturday morning. Megan and Shaun awaited the five-o-clock hour with anxious anticipation, ready to see their big day come to fruition at last. ‘One of my favorite memories from that morning was getting ready and everyone in the room (including my stellar make-up artist and the Hotel Californian staff who were steaming my dress) singing along to “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”’ And Megan happily complied. “I really trusted our team so there was nothing really to worry about.”
Minister Marie Burns Holzer, delivered a beautiful ceremony that was both heartfelt and hilarious, and when the sun broke through the clouds just as Shaun and Megan were declared husband and wife, the moment was magical, as if loved ones who couldn’t be there were celebrating alongside them. There wasn’t a dry eye to be found.
After the ceremony, Shaun and Megan treated their guests to a Rincon Specialty Soft Taco Hors d’oeuvres Action Station. The biggest surprise of the night, was when, to everyone’s delight, Shaun and Megan incorporated a Giraffe Feeding and a Flamingle into the hors d’oeuvres hour, taking advantage of the unique venue and the fun, kid-like playfulness that characterizes so much of what makes the Zoo a premier wedding location.
For dinner, the newlyweds selected a delicious plated meal to go along with the elegance of the evening. Their menu selection included a first course of Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppyseed Apple Cider Dressing and Jalapeño Cornbread, with a choice of Cedar Plank Salmon,
Oak-Smoked Tri-Tip, or Radiatore Pasta along with Rincon’s famous Potatoes au Gratin for the second course. “I really loved the tasting by Rincon...It was one of the opportunities we had to get input from our families during the planning process. I loved seeing my new father-in-law get so involved and so excited about the event and his feedback was invaluable in selecting our final menu.”
With flowers by Michael from Louloudi Florals and Rentals from the Tent Merchant and Bright Party Rentals, every element was thoughtful and well executed. Alexandra Wallace and Geoff Rivers captured every moment of the day, highlighting the Zoo and enshrining every special moment with their deft camera lens.
Shaun and Megan took any opportunity to incorporate aspects that were distinctly “them” into their special day, including subtle nods to their chosen careers, their mothers’ favorite flowers, and light hearted RSVP cards that allowed their guests to accept their invitation with a boisterous “heck yes” or decline with tempered “bummer,” instead of the formality of traditionally worded invitations. Each detail added a personal touch.
Megan describes one of her favorite moments, “when we first got to sit down at our sweetheart table after the ceremony. We were alone and time seemed normal for a moment and we (kind of) got to absorb everything that had just happened. It was so surreal to enjoy a moment as husband and wife and just look around the space - to see everyone that we loved and all of our hard work and...[our] vision becoming a reality...It was just beautiful.”
The guests danced the night away to music by the Straytones band from Crowd Theory Entertainment and topped off the evening with a slice of custom wedding cake from Crushcakes, a local bakery, complemented by individual chocolate and vanilla ice cream cups.
Weeks later, the newlyweds are still reveling in the after-glow of their wedding bliss from their home in the city where they fell in love. Megan is finishing her PhD and Shaun continues his writing work.
Congratulations, Megan and Shaun! Your wedding was elegantly, perfectly YOU!
Megan’s tip for future brides: “Hire people that you trust and that you feel genuinely excited to work with. If something feels amiss or if you find that you’re not on the same page, find someone else ASAP. Because once you have that trust, it makes “letting go” easier so you can enjoy your big day without feeling the need to oversee everything. We loved every single vendor that we hired and leading up to the big day, we let them do what they do best. And they did! Our day was seemingly perfect.”