You Will Adore This Moroccan-Inspired Wedding at the Biltmore Santa Barbara

Real Wedding
Written by
Carrie Bell


Winter 2018

The Texan sweethearts welcomed their guests to sunny Santa Barbara with a “black noir” nautical-themed pre-wedding party at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, which included endless harbor views, Mediterranean cuisine culled from fresh farmers’ market ingredients, mojitos and takeaway cookies. 

With the bride’s grandparents being in the jewelry business and the groom in the black gold business (oil, that is), it’s only natural that this couple’s wedding would sparkle. To achieve prime shine, there were rhinestones and pearls on the bride, from her clutch to her shoes, and a metallic-meets-iridescent Moroccan-inspired decor from beginning to end.

After a vow exchange under a Mayan-ruin-inspired chuppah on the lawn, a cultural shift was made in the décor, and Marrakesh vibes kicked in. An open-ceilinged structure partially draped in gilded khaki fabric provided a first-stop oasis on La Pacifica Ballroom’s oceanfront patio. Friends and family quenched their thirst with the signature Sorkin Sunset cocktail, served from a distressed wood credenza under an array of dazzling laser-cut globes, traditional metal cylindrical fanous and star lanterns. Spiky agave plants, feathery greenery, dried blossoms, pale flowers and deep-toned fuchsia blooms rose vertically from tall vases and were grouped in vignettes of vessels. A lounge area featured vintage velvet furniture with Moroccan poufs, pillows and throw rugs. Inside, the dance floor was covered in a pattern that looked like an enlargement of black-and-white caustic tiles one might find in a riad or souk in Casablanca.

Metallic gold mingled with hints of iridescence and touches of glass. At the ceremony, floral-adored Parisienne railings flanked the entrance to the aisle while the reception featured delicate Art Deco–style chairs with gold backs, etched bronze vases, brushed gold flatware, silver- and gold-foiled menus atop silvery silk napkins, and rough-edged black chargers specked with gold. A soft balance was set by the centerpieces on glittery pedestals, the Coral Casino’s leafy wallpaper and white iron gates holding place cards and set in crumbled glass and granite, and a variety of votives that lit up tables, bars and lounge areas.

Large, uncut crystals added twinkle (and a little edge) to the dinner tables. The main cake, frosted primarily in white, was accented with a wraparound black crystalline design and two deep red miniature calla lilies.

Yet another part of the world was called to mind by the music for the ceremony and cocktail hour as Ensamble Vientos del Sur filled the air with sweet Spanish sounds. The band, a regular act at Carlitos restaurant, has become a highlight of the bride’s parents’ frequent visits to the area.

As a nod to her husband’s career, Sarah surprised him by having Frost It Cakery create a cake in the shape of an oil rig with just two weeks notice. Luckily, the bakery staff did not experience a spill during the hour-long drive from Thousand Oaks or the required onsite assembly.

City State:

Santa Barbara


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