Right after my 5K, I had to get ready to head up to Santa Barbara. It was time for Rayshell and Paul’s wedding!
I’ve felt so fortunate that I had been invited to celebrate Rayshell (and Paul) leading up to the wedding. So the actual wedding was just another opportunity to celebrate them and I couldn’t wait! I was in Santa Barbara all weekend to spend time with my family (my parents were there to visit my brother and sister-in-law the same time I was up there), but first I want to focus on the main event!
The wedding was on Sunday afternoon on the beach in Santa Barbara. The ceremony was originally supposed to be outside on the beach, but due to the threat of rain it had to move inside to where the reception was going to be. But to be honest, I think it looked beautiful inside!
Also, being inside meant we didn’t have to worry about the wind or cold (or rain except it didn’t end up raining). When I arrived, I saw a bunch of my friends there so we went inside to claim our seats for the ceremony. I think we got some primo seats, so we were pretty happy. We spent the time before the ceremony started catching up and my friends’ husbands entertained us by being silly and deciding which groomsmen looked like which celebrities.
The ceremony itself was short and sweet (the way I think ceremonies should be). There were the traditional elements (Rayshell walking in with her dad, the vows, the ring exchange, and a first kiss before they were introduced as husband and wife), but the ceremony was performed by a friend of theirs so while it was short it was nice and personal.
I had seen Rayshell’s dress before (I was there when she bought it), but it looked even more incredible on her at her wedding. She had sleeves added to the dress and once it was tailored to fit her it made her look like a bride in a magazine! I love that she was able to find the perfect dress and that she looked so gorgeous in it!
As soon as the ceremony was over, the bridal party went outside for photos and the guests stayed inside for cocktail hour. My friends and I were hanging out and enjoying the view from inside while drinks and appetizers were passed around (I didn’t eat much then because I wasn’t hungry yet, but all the food had rave reviews from everyone else!).
We also wandered around the space a bit checking out what was there since we hadn’t done that before we sat down for the ceremony. We checked out the cake before the cake cutting.
There was an amazing photo display of family weddings through the years! We all loved this idea and I had never seen it done at a wedding before but I have a feeling that all the single people who were there will be copying this idea when they get married (I think I will when I get married one day)!
And we signed the guest book which was a drawing of Rayshell and Paul.
Then it was almost time for dinner to start, so we found where all the seating cards were to see what table we were at.
I loved that all the seating cards were in shells! I was seated at table 7 where some of my friends were seated (it seemed like the friends were scattered all around, but that didn’t really matter too much to us because as you’ll read we spent too much time on the dance floor).
After the bridal party and Rayshell and Paul were introduced and seated at their tables, it was time for dinner. Rayshell had told me before that it was going to be a buffet, but I had no idea that a buffet dinner could be this amazing!
This was so yummy and tasted like any plated dinner you could get at a fancy restaurant! During dinner, I was chatting with my friends at my table and enjoying the room we were seated in. Besides the amazing ocean view, the room was really gorgeous with tall ceilings and cool beams. I hadn’t seen a venue like this before and I think Rayshell and Paul picked the perfect place for their wedding.
Rayshell and Paul had their first dance, and before I knew it the party had started! I’m usually not one to dance that much, but the DJ they had was amazing and even I spent most of my evening dancing with all of my friends and just being silly.
I don’t think I’ve ever danced as much as I did that night. The music was amazing and the energy in the room made me want to be as much of a part of it as I could. There weren’t too many slow songs, but during those I just danced with my friends or we kind of did our own thing as a group. And during all the fast songs, we were bouncing around and making sure everyone else got on the dance floor with us. I did have to sit down from time to time because of my hips and my legs still being sore from the race, but I danced so much that the pedicure I got for the wedding got all chipped! I’ve never done that from dancing before so I think that’s a sign that I had a wonderful time.
There was a break in the dancing for the cake cutting and bouquet toss (Rayshell did a toss bouquet that broke into a couple of smaller bouquets so multiple women were able to catch it).
After the end of the traditional reception things, the party on the dance floor continued. I swear I got close to 10,000 steps in on my Fitbit just from dancing alone! I tried to get pictures with as many people as possible (it’s not the norm for us all to be dressed up and fancy so I wanted to document that), but I have to say that my favorite picture of the entire evening is one that I got of Rayshell and Paul.
It’s so clear how much they love each other and how much fun they had at the wedding. They seriously are an amazing couple and I hope that I’m able to find someone who loves me as much as they love each other.
Before we knew it, it was time for the reception to end. Some people went to the hotel across the street to hang out at the bar, but I was pretty tired and my feet were starting to hurt from all the dancing. So I ended up leaving after saying goodbye to everyone there.
I know I say this about all the weddings I go to, but this was the best wedding! It was so perfect for who Rayshell and Paul are and even though I know they throw amazing parties this took things to a new level!
Congratulations to Rayshell and Paul! You guys are so perfect for each other and I know you are going to live your happily ever after now.
And Rayshell, thank you so much for letting me be a part of so many celebrations of yours. I feel so special that you wanted me to be there to celebrate with you and I have loved seeing you put this wedding together (and it ended up better than I ever could have imagined from what you had told me). I love you so much and thank you for being an amazing friend to me!