El Encanto, A Belmond Hotel Wedding// Aida and Ari

Aida & Ari met on the set of a feature film, though as unglamorous as it could be, on a cold, snowy shoot in Cleveland, Ohio. After four years together, Ari worked tirelessly with his longtime family jeweler to design the perfect engagement ring for Aida. After the ring was delayed weeks, lost in the mail, AND delivered to the wrong address, Ari finally proposed in Aida’s parent’s backyard in La Jolla, California on February 2, 2021. The sun was setting and the sky was a fire red, unlike any other sunset they had ever seen before. The couple celebrated with an Al Fresco engagement party in that same backyard in August with family and friends. Although the pandemic would keep them from having the big wedding they imagined originally, they didn’t want to wait to seal the deal. Their elopement was nothing short of perfection. Aida’s only theme was “fall colors” – and it was off to the races.

Picking a courthouse was the easiest part. The Santa Barbara courthouse is iconic, classic, romantic, and full of foliage all year round. “I’ve always wanted to get married in the fall, my favorite season, and I knew I wanted everyone in the fall tones but didn’t feel the need to dictate exact colors. Nobody showed me their dress/suits beforehand for approval, and when we showed up my jaw dropped at how perfect everyone came dressed.”

Her dress, a non-traditional non-wedding designer dress, was by NY fashion house, Orseund Iris. “When I saw it scrolling online, I knew it was the one. The only problem was that Orseund Iris wasn’t making it anymore. I had to have it. I checked eBay, Mercari, and finally, Poshmark. Jackpot. I bought it second-hand, without ever trying it on. I was in Boston working on a feature film for Apple when my dress came. My brilliant friend and Costume Designer on the movie, Erin Benach, and her team of tailors and stitchers tailored my dress to fit me perfectly over the next several months.”

“I knew I wanted Protea’s as my bouquet and at the center of all the flowers, because my father-in-law grows these rare Australian- native beauties on his ranch. Usually, in shades of pink, he grew his very first rare white king proteas for our elopement, and just look at that bouquet- it was stunning, unique, and so sentimental. I still have them all, dried beautifully.

We kept our courthouse ceremony intimate and small, with only our immediate family in attendance. My father wrote us a beautiful poem in Farsi, my family’s native language, and recited it in both English and Farsi, which was incredibly meaningful to me. My brother and sister-in-law handed us the rings. My grandmother and father-in-law were our witnesses.

We celebrated with an amazing dinner under the stars on the private patio of La Paloma. We had to order extra Queso all night long, apparently, it was the star of the dinner.

We are so grateful we were able to pull off our elopement in the height of COVID. It was a dream wedding that we all look back on with such fondness and intimacy”

Following their ceremony at the Santa Barbara Courthouse, we explored the El Encanto, A Belmond Hotel and captured some stunning portraits. Nestled in the hills of the Riviera, this hotel offers remarkable views of Downtown, the Santa Barbara Channel, and the Channel Islands. Aida and Ari have a wonderful energy, and I could just photograph them forever!

Aida & Ari’s large wedding celebration will take place on their one-year anniversary, on November 19, 2022, at Ari’s family’s estate in Arroyo Grande.

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Sarah Vendramini Photography llc
Santa Barbara, California and worldwide wedding photographer