Three hundred and sixty five days. Fifty-two weeks. Twelve months. One year. It is so strange to think that it’s already been that long since the day Tor and I said “I do” and became husband and wife. Exactly one year ago today, surrounded by an intimate group of our closest family and friends, the wedding that marked the beginning of a new chapter in our lives was celebrated in a lavish vineyard just outside Santa Barbara. Since that special day, on April 2, 2016, we have continued to reflect back on what was surely the happiest day for us both.
I’m sure you’ve seen our features in The Knot and People magazine, as well as our Instagram pics here and there, but as you can imagine it’s really hard to not want to share what was such a beautiful day. They say your wedding day is a day you’ll never forget, and I remember each moment vividly in my mind as if it was just last month, not last year.
I’ll never forget waking up on that gorgeous Saturday. I had planned to sleep in a bit, since the wedding wasn’t until 5 pm and I wasn’t getting ready until around noon, but what bride could ever sleep in on her wedding day? My bestie and bridesmaid Addy brought me donuts in bed as the villa and surrounding vineyards were enveloped by a beautiful morning fog. My sister/maid of honor joined shortly after, although she was panicking because my nose sounded stuffy and she immediately sent for allergy medicine to be brought. She told me she did not want me to sound like an alien when I said my vows. Oh, Jess!
As my mother, my aunt, my four bridesmaids, my future mother-in-law, and myself got ready, I felt an eerie sense of calm and reflection. From my suite, I could see our vendors and wedding planners hard at work below getting the reception area ready with chairs, tables, tableware, flowers, etc. This was all being done to celebrate the love of my life and myself, and the love we share for one another. Everyone would be gathering in those seats for an intimate dinner post-ceremony just for us. As a little girl, I naturally always dreamt of what my future wedding would be like. What young girl doesn’t dream about being a princess on her wedding day (then again, I did dream about marrying at Walt Disney World for a good ten years!)? But, when I was around 11 years old, I used to say to my sister that someone out there was going to marry me. There was a boy somewhere out there in the world destined to be my husband, and one day we will marry. Of course, I had no idea that man would be Torrance, and no at 11-years old I didn’t quite grasp the importance of marriage beyond the wedding day, but what I said was true. Someone out there would one day marry me and spend the rest of their life with me, and that man was just downstairs putting on his tux and adjusting his bowtie, and today was the day I had always wondered about.
I am a traditionalist, so Tor and I did not have a “first look” prior to the ceremony. Growing up in my large Italian family, none of my family members did that (except for my sister the year before) and I chose to do the same. At 5 pm, to the song “Courage and Kindness” from the 2015 film Cinderella, I walked down the aisle alongside my father, the first man I ever loved, towards my awaiting husband-to-be. It was windy, and my veil kept wrapping around my father and even knocked over a flower pot as I walked up the stairs to the ceremony site, but that’s to be expected at the wedding for two people who embrace all sorts of mishaps with laughter. We would all laugh again later in the ceremony during our unity candle lighting since it was so windy (we did get the candles to light in the end!). Just before 5:30 pm, we heard the words we had been waiting to hear, “It is my honor and privilege to introduce you to Mr. and Mrs. Torrance Coombs!” Sealed with a kiss, Tor and I locked arms and walked towards our new life as a married couple.
During the cocktail hour, Tor and I went off to shoot some private portraits with our photographers so our guests could mingle, eat, and drink. We made a surprise appearance on the balcony for a “royal wave” so to speak, which was met with great enthusiasm from our guests. We kept our guest list small – only 60 people in total were there and it was all immediately family members and close friends who lived nearby in LA. As we looked down on our small gathering, we were grateful for each person who was there.
For our reception, we decided on one long table like royal weddings in Europe. There was also no designated side (bride’s side or groom’s side), so everyone could mingle and chat with each other. A lot of people wanted to make speeches, so we had my sister and maid of honor start, followed by two of Tor’s groomsmen, my father, Tor’s father, and then Tor himself. My sister and new father-in-law made me cry, Tor’s groomsmen made us laugh, and my dad began his speech with the Star Wars theme song playing in the background. After a delicious five course dinner, it was time to share our first dance (to Coldplay’s “Fix You”) and cut our three-tier lemon and vanilla wedding cake.
Reflecting on the wedding day always makes me smile and feel a sense of warmth. It was a wonderful weekend celebrating love, and I am super excited to see what lies for us down the road. Selfishly, our love story is my favorite and I love writing new chapters to it. Our first major chapter was how we met, our second chapter was moving in together and living abroad, our third chapter was getting engaged, our fourth chapter was buying our first home, our fifth chapter was the wedding, and our sixth chapter was being abroad in Europe. I wonder what chapter seven will be.
Photography: The Why We Love
Venue: Sunstone Villa, Santa Ynez, California
Wedding Planners: Cake & Punch
Flowers: Anna Le Pley Taylor Flowers
Calligraphy: Linen & Leaf
Tableware: Otis & Pearl
Table and chairs: Archive
Catering: Omni Catering
Cake and desserts: Frost It Cakery
Hair and Makeup: The Blushed Company
Ceremony Dress and Veil: Lauren Elaine Bridal
Reception Dress and Cape: Lauren Elaine Bridal
Bridesmaids’ Gowns: Lauren Elaine Bridal
Bridesmaid’s shoes: Yosi Samra
Tor’s Tuxedo: Ralph Lauren
Perfume: Illuminum perfume (similar scent here)