B a r ba r a RivIera
by Susan Hart Hellman contributing writer
Santa Barbara also offers you a wedding where your guests might include giraffes, an elephant, and a monkey or two – the Santa Barbara Zoo! Percy says, “It’s the only zoo I know of that is located at the Pacific Ocean. The hilltop reception space has expansive views of the Santa Barbara Harbor and can accommodate up to 300 people.” To experience a true piece of history, also consider the San Ysidro Ranch in the Montecito area. The Ranch was originally a late-1700’s waystation for Franciscan monks, then a citrus ranch in the late 1800’s, and finally, a guest ranch, as it is today. Guests over the years have included Gloria Swanson, Somerset Maugham, Jean Harlow and Groucho Marx, and the honeymooning President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy. If an ocean-side wedding is more your style, the palm-tree studded Chase Palm Park Center (wedding site for Percy’s clients Cesar and John) features marine-themed art, a large patio for outdoor dining and dancing, and a carousel in the adjacent Chase Palm Park. But if a water’s edge ceremony is still not close enough to the water for you, why not have your event on the water, on the Channel Cat, one of the world’s largest sailing luxury catamarans, which coasts the gentle Santa Barbara Harbor. The Channel Cat has a 35-foot bar, which the owner calls “the John Wayne Bar.” And speaking of cowboys, if, in true oldwest style, you want to “cowboy up,” the perfect venue is the Carriage and Western Art Museum, with a backdrop of historic wagons, stagecoaches, and saddles once owned by Will Rogers, Clark Gable, and Jimmy Stewart. Accommodations There are many wonderful places to stay in Santa Barbara, including one of Percy’s favorites, the Orchid Inn. This boutique bed and breakfast features lush gardens, fireplaces, and jacuzzis, and is located in one of Santa Barbara’s most historic areas adjacent to the city’s first home, the Trussel-Winchester Adobe.
As a commitment destination Santa Barbara offers a diverse selection of venues such as the 35-foot luxury catamaran Channel Cat (pictured above)
Upham Hotel and Country House, constructed in 1871, is steeped in history too, and in fact is registered with Historic Hotels of America as Southern California’s oldest continuously operating hotel. There are sweeping redwood verandas, and each guest room, ranging from large master suites to intimate cottage rooms with garden entrances, is unique in its décor. Vendors Santa Barbara is also home to many LGBTowned and LGBT-friendly wedding vendors, including Creative Services Catering and Event Planning. Creative Services owner and chef, John Eric Savage, has developed a very unique Santa Barbara Menu, and also specializes in custom-designed menus created just for your event, whether you select passed hors d’oeuvres, a sit-down dinner or buffet, on the beach, in a mid-town garden, or the vineyards of a local winery. Kaleidoscope Flowers is another vendor you’ll want to visit. This family-owned business is known for its unique creations, incorporating what the designers refer to as “interesting elements” such as mosses, beautiful stones, curly willow, and seasonal fruits. Kaleidoscope can accommodate all of your wedding-theme wishes, and they offer some unusual ideas including dish gardens, dried florals, and gourmet baskets for gifts.
Vol. 5 Issue 1 2010 LGBT Planning Resource Guide 9