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Old-World Charm Meets Exotic Elegance at Belmond El Encanto

Ria and Stephen's wedding was an extravaganza of glamour and exquisite style.
By: 
Megan White
Ria and Stephen kissing under palm trees at Belmond El Encanto in Santa Barbara

Ria Gassoumis and Stephen Rossi's families have known each other for three generations, and it is rumored that the couple met as toddlers in Sunday school. With a history like that, it was only necessary for their soirée to be as elegant as the timeless European style of their Greek and Italian ancestries. 

They envisioned a modern Greeek-American wedding while staying true to their heritages, so Ria and Stephen started their big day with the ceremony at the stunning Saint Barbara Greek Orthodox Church. Its classic blue and white exterior gave guests the illusion of being transported to Greece for the afternoon. The couple incorporated several Greek traditions, such as the crowning of the bride groom during the ceremony, and Greek dancing at the reception. Held at the vibrant Belmond El Encanto, the cocktail party and reception were reminiscent of a 1920's Hollywood gala. The sounds of Spanish guitar set the mood as attendees sipped on colorful refreshments named after the Belmond properties in Italy. The minimalist color palette of monochromatic whites allowed the lush, natural greenery of El Encanto to take the lead with a subtly tropical vibe. A four-course dinner was served at tables set around the venue's fairy-tale-like lily pond, and the newlyweds made an eyecatching entrance as they gracefully strolled across a bridge over the pond. As the sun set, strings of lights glittered romantically above the gathering and reflected below in the lily pond. To conclude the evening, the partygoers made their way to El Encanto's luxurious ballroom for a night full of fun and dancing under sparkling chandaliers. 

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