Whimsical Sophia Coppola-Inspired Wedding + the Bride’s Mindful Wedding Budget Tips

Sophia Coppola Inspired Santa Barbara Wedding

A marriage between Sophia Coppola and Wes Anderson seems like a design match made in heaven. And Elizabeth + Dane brought it to life! They planned a very mindful wedding, considering every vital thing. E + D wanted a fun celebration for their 100 guests, so every decision was made with care. As such, Lizzie offered some very helpful wedding budget tips that contributed to a purposeful + meaningful day. We’ll get into those below – first, the story of how it all came to be!

Dane and I are not the average couple in the sense that we saw a wedding as more of an expensive and inconvenient formality than “the best day of our lives.” However, after much discussion and deliberation, we decided to bite the bullet and dive into planning. Our inspiration was very cinematic. We focused on the color-play of a Wes Anderson production with the irreverence and whimsy of a Sophia Coppola film. Grand Budapest Hotel meets Marie Antoinette; color references came from the Rose Room at Annabels of Mayfair, Manish Arora’s home in Paris, and Temakinho in Milan. We wanted guests to feel like they were at a one of a kind blow-out party, not a stuffy wedding. It’s worth mentioning that we really had to “ball on a budget” as we both felt a bit uncomfortable spending more money than was necessary.

Lizzie has worked in the PR and event space for several years so she took on the task of designing and planning a mindful wedding but hired day-of coordination to ensure everything went smoothly. Morgan Hydinger captured all the cinematic settings in beautiful photos – let’s have a look:

white bridal headband

Lizzie’s halo of pearls by Mignonne Gavigan is the most stunning accessory – especially with those perfect curls by Janet Villa.

A Timeless Bridal Look

Sophia Coppola Inspired Santa Barbara Wedding

The “wedding dress” I opted for was a Gabriela Hearst combination pant and top, though the top had a train that fell in such a way to evoke a dress. I found the dress years prior on Net-A-Porter and wore it with a pair of white satin Manolo Blahnik pumps that had a sculpted ribbon around the toe.

first look

Wedding Budget Tip: How to Save on the Venue

Sophia Coppola Inspired Santa Barbara Wedding

We cut a few corners that I would urge brides and grooms to consider. The first was our ceremony space, which was held at the Santa Barbara Courthouse’s Mural Room – a spectacular example of classic Spanish-Revival style distinct to California. Holding the ceremony at a public building meant HUGE savings compared to other options we explored. Public or civic buildings are great resources for weddings or events. The spaces are beautifully maintained and are thousands of dollars less than a “private” event space. Our ceremony was intimate and stunning – the terracotta tile flooring, heavy red velvet drapery at the windows, and walls covered in hand-painted murals almost 100 years old made for serious “wow factor.”

bridal pant outfit

Sophia Coppola Inspired Santa Barbara Wedding

We love a good love story! Lizzie + Dane’s took them across time and distance, but always back to each other:

I met Dane when I was 17 over summer break. He was a year older and back home from his first year at the Naval Academy. I knew instantly I wanted to marry him – he took a bit more convincing! We dated cross-country for a few years; I was going to school close to home at UCLA and he was in Annapolis, Maryland.

After graduating, Dane went straight to work for the US Navy, living in San Diego, CA Charleston, SC, and Newport, RI along with multiple deployments throughout Asia and the Persian Gulf. I kept busy in Los Angeles after graduating college and began my career in luxury public relations — dressing celebrities for awards shows and premieres in addition to producing events for beauty brands like Farmacy, NuFace, and T3Micro. After 8 years of dating, I made the move to San Diego to finally be in the same town together, and a year after that, Dane proposed.

The Wedding Ceremony

Sophia Coppola Inspired Santa Barbara Wedding

Sophia Coppola Inspired Santa Barbara Wedding

Almost every wedding day has some sort of snafu – that almost always works out to be okay in the end:

We chose the Ritz Carlton Baccara as a special location to get ready. Our florals were delivered that morning, and they were inadvertently lost by the valets who received the delivery. They were nowhere to be found (later to be discovered in an employee closet) and after a miniature panic attack, I walked down the aisle with a hand in the pocket of my bridal outfit.

Sophia Coppola Inspired Santa Barbara Wedding

The Whimsical Wedding Reception

seating chart

Lizzie + Dane chose a variety of colors including tennis court green, the girliest baby pink, a robust orange, and salmon. Dane hand-made the escort sign with their color palette – how great is this?

Sophia Coppola Inspired Santa Barbara Wedding

One of the most important aspects for Lizzie, when it came to the reception, was the entrance. Knowing the qualities of a successful event, E + D wanted their guests to be wowed upon entry. TOTAL success! Bella Vista Designs created a velvet-draped entrance of pink and green velvet swathed around garlands of Bright Florals‘ dyed baby’s breath.

Wedding Budget Tip: How to Save on the Reception

Sophia Coppola Inspired Santa Barbara Wedding

The second money-saving hack was also having the reception at a public building. The Carousel House is right on the beach in Downtown Santa Barbara, roughly a mile from our ceremony location. Once the home of a large merry-go-round, the space was converted to an empty atrium surrounded by manicured gardens. Again, major savings as this was a city-maintained building! It was also an attractive option because our general wedding aesthetic was a bit out of the box. Any other spaces we viewed already had décor or architecture that wasn’t an ideal match.

Wedding Budget Tip: How to Save on the Flowers

Sophia Coppola Inspired Santa Barbara Wedding

Lizzie chose their vendors based on their willingness to experiment with her! Many of the ideas (especially florals!) were a joint project between her and Amy from Bright Floral.

I was open to all sorts of flowers, which is another suggestion for brides. Don’t feel like you have to pigeonhole yourself with the predictable roses and peonies! Amy experimented with carnations (a Wes Anderson favorite – so kitschy and fun!) lots of vibrant greenery and corkscrew ranunculus. Oftentimes the most unexpected arrangements leave the biggest impressions, as was the case with our big day.

prosecco cart

Bubble Bliss, a Prosecco dispending truck made from a vintage Italian Piaggio Apé, handed out coupé glasses of sparkling wine to guests as they arrived.

If you’re looking for something similar in your area, we’ve got you covered:

The 16 Cutest Mobile Bars for Your Wedding

white wedding cake

A simple stunner of a cake by LeLe Patisserie!

Sophia Coppola Inspired Santa Barbara Wedding

A mindful wedding often means you’re thinking of others first. Family + friends were very important to E + D:

The reception was lovely and honored much of our family’s heritage, Dane’s family in particular. As he is half Puerto Rican we dedicated much of the music to Elvis Crespo, a favorite of his family. Dane and I had our first dance to “Love on the Weekend” by John Mayer, as the majority of our relationship was built on weekends spent together every few months or so. During dinner, Dane announced a big thank-you to the many that had traveled for the event – as many of his friends were from the Navy they had traveled from places such as India, Japan, Australia, and Hawaii – and honored those who could not attend due to their duties abroad. 

Sophia Coppola Inspired Santa Barbara Wedding

With an actual 2020 wedding behind them, Lizzie shared a kind final thought:

Looking back, I feel absolutely overwhelmed with gratitude that we were able to have our wedding before COVID-19 essentially wiped out weddings for the foreseeable future. I cannot begin to fathom the anxiety and frustration caused by such a blow – to either postpone or cancel an event you’ve been working so hard for so so long. Dane and I know we were among few lucky ones to have a 2020 wedding and are so grateful fate was on our side.

photography: Morgan Hydinger // venue name: The Carousel House, Santa Barbara, California, USA // event design: Lizzie Boudreau // planning: Lizzie Boudreau // florals: Bright Floral // wedding dress: Gabriela Hearst 'Tituba' // wedding dress boutique: Net-A-Porter // hairpiece: Mignonne Gavigan // bride's shoes: Manolo Blahnik 'Josima' // bride's ring: Luna Skye // hair stylist: Janet Villa // makeup artist: Janet Villa // groom attire: Ermenegildo Zegna (jacket) // groom's shoes: Saint Laurent // paper goods: Nicety Studio // catering: Pure Joy Catering // cake: LeLe Patisserie // desserts: Sweet Arleens // tabletop rentals: Bright Event Rentals // furniture rentals: Bright Event Rentals // linen rentals: Bright Event Rentals // music: DJ Zeke & DJ Jerry // lighting: Bella Vista Designs // photo booth: Shutter Booth