Santa Barbara Lesbian Wedding

Weddings of Our Own: Julie & Rel

Santa Barbara, November 6, 2015

Photography by Willa Kveta

NAMES Julie Cox & Rel Lavizzo-Mourey.
LIVE IN Westlake.
OCCUPATIONS Julie owns Traveler, an outdoor adventure–themed retail store that’s geared especially to fans of the ocean; Rel owns Silver Lining Bespoke, which carries outerwear and accessories whose linings include works by emerging artists, to highlight the idea that “it’s what’s inside that counts.” A percentage of the sales support arts education programs for children.
HOW THEY MET They were a bit of an unlikely match, with Rel being an East Coaster who moved to North County San Diego from New York City and Julie an ex-professional longboard surfer from California. But they connected and grew close over long conversations about their many common interests, especially travel.
HOW THEY GOT ENGAGED The “re-legalization” of gay marriage inspired the couple to consider the option. After moving up from Southern California to the San Francisco Bay Area together, they decided that the time was right. They took a trip together to Wildcat Campground at Point Reyes National Seashore. Rel: “We got engaged just before sunset, as the fog lifted and gave us a glorious view of the ocean and cliffs.”
REHEARSAL DINNER They rented a house in the Montecito community, near Santa Barbara. Rel’s brother and sister-in-law are professional chefs and created a beautiful dinner for them.
WEDDING DAY WEATHER Sunny, in the mid-70s.
WEDDING THEME Spanish cabaret.
FLOWERS Hot-pink orchids adorned the tables. The bouquet and crown were made of orange, yellow, pink, and purple wildflowers.
DIY HIGHLIGHTS Julie’s mom used silk scarves with tassels to create table runners, and the couple chose colorful sparklers and Mexican playing-card matchboxes for party favors.
THE MENU Options included pork chops, risotto, and stuffed trout. For drinks, the bartender at the Canary Hotel made “pretty amazing” margaritas that were a big hit with guests.
DESSERT Cupcakes in flavors inspired by different wine varietals.
MUSIC The first dance was to “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers.
IF THEY HAD TO DO IT OVER They would have hired someone to coordinate the day-after beach party rather than plan it themselves. Julie: “It was still great, but we were pretty wiped out from the night before.”
FAVORITE DETAIL In keeping with the Spanish cabaret theme, the couple hired a troupe of dancers to perform between speeches and dinner courses. Julie: “They brought amazing energy and kept dinner from becoming too slow; and it really kicked off the reception and dance party.”
UNIQUE ELEMENTS OF THE DAY Watching all their nieces (ages 3 to 10) tear up the dance floor with coordinated moves. Rel: “They had the best energy!”
UNEXPECTED EVENT How stress-free it all was. They had “amazing support” from all of their vendors. “The fact that it was a gay wedding was never an issue,” they say. “Everyone was very kind and non-assuming.”
ADVICE FOR OTHERS Hire a great coordinator or designate a trusted friend to sweat the details for you. Show uniqueness by writing your own vows and planning a distinctive ceremony that captures your own styles and personalities. At the same time, don’t be afraid to steal ideas. At another wedding the couple attended, they’d enjoyed the way the band encouraged guests to get up and dance between dinner courses, which kept the pace of the party from slowing down. So they had their own DJ take a similar approach.
THE DAY IN THREE WORDS Inspired, coordinated, lovely.

“The fact that it was a gay wedding was never an issue. Everyone was very kind and non-assuming.

Vendor List

CEREMONY, RECEPTION, CATERING Kimpton Canary Hotel rooftop, Santa Barbara

OFFICIANT Mary Bagalso (friend)

WEDDING PLANNER Erika Hopkins, Brides & Bouquets


FLOWERS Kristian Pacheco, Brides & Bouquets

CAKE Enjoy Cupcakes

RINGS Vaka Design

GOWNS Neiman Marcus

ACCESSORIES Waffles & Honey Jewelry

MUSIC  Gavin Roy Presents

ENTERTAINMENT Lola Ohlala & Cabaret Versatile, Los Angeles