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YaelM's Four Seasons Biltmore,Santa Barbara, CA Review **LONG w/Pics**

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Wedding Date: June 19th 2009

Location: Four Seasons The Biltmore in Santa Barbara, CA:



As many of you may know I was originally suppose to get married on May 8th at Azul Beach Resort in Puerto Morelos, Mexico. The swine flu hysteria hit at the worst time and about 4 days before we were suppose to leave, DH and I decided to cancel. It was an extremely difficult and devastating decision as we had been planning this wedding for a year and we were SO close – but in the end it was the right decision.


Once that decision was made we decided to look into venues in CA (where we live) and our first choice was Santa Barbara. Its close by (4 hour drive), gorgeous, we could still have a “beach/vacationy†wedding and I went to UCSB so I'm pretty familiar with the area. I have to give a HUGE thank you to Tammy Host because she posted a thread on the Four Seasons in Santa Barbara and I immediately fell in love with the Mariposa Garden. If it wasnâ€t for her post I donâ€t think we would have considered this place, so I'm so HAPPY that she did! DH and I went down to Santa Barbara to check out the Four Seasons and one other venue and after seeing both locations we were immediately sold on the Four Seasons. We were so excited that they had availability on the 19th as that date worked the best for us and our guests.


Venue: Four Seasons Biltmore Santa Barbara: A+

In one word this place is BEAUTIFUL. I arrived early Friday (day of the wedding- they gave us an early check in) with my 5 of my best girl friends and we were blown away with the beautiful scenery -- all of the flowers, trees, and plants were stunning. The entire place just looked unreal.


Pics of the Hotel

Click the image to open in full size.


Click the image to open in full size.


We were immediately taken care of from the moment we stepped out of the car. The room we got ready in was adorable. It had a huge bathroom, a changing room, full length mirrors, and the most comfortable bed I have EVER slept in. The staff was so nice and able to provide us with all kinds of things we realized we had forgotten – champagne glasses, toothbrushes, a clothes steamer, bleach (I got makeup on my dress!) etc. It was really wonderful and we all felt so taken care of. DH and I stayed there for 2 nights. They give you the night of the wedding free which is great since its pretty pricey,. We worked with the catering manager, Kerstin Barron who was great – she gets an A. She was on top of everything and super nice and responsive. She made the process so easy. On a side note – all our guests stayed at the Fes Parker Double Tree which is also a great hotel right on the water about a mile away from the Four Seasons

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Our ceremony took place outside in the Mariposa Garden with a view of the ocean in the background. There were brightly colored rose petals lining the isle and it was gorgeous


Picture of our ceremony by Nathaniel Thompson

Click the image to open in full size.


We had a local classical guitarist, Anthony Ybarra play the music during seating, processional, recessional and cock tail hour. He is super talented and I'm really happy we decided to go with him!


The cocktail hour took place right above the garden in the El Mar Terrace. Immediately DH and I were given champagne before we had to go take pictures. The wait staff also made sure we got some food and I got to taste a few of the appetizers and they were SO good. All our guests later raved how good everything was.


We had our reception in the El Mar Room. The room was dark with all types of candles, a huge fireplace and amazing chandeliers that were dimly lit. The food was incredible!!! We had menus and guests could choose between a Sea Bass or a Chicken. Everyone told us it was some of the best food they have ever eaten – especially the Sea Bass and we definitely had some food snobs in the crowd. The service was incredible as well. The wait staff were so friendly, and attentive. We ended up tipping even more than we planned because they were so great.


I also want to say that since we planned the wedding so close to the date (in just under 6 weeks) the Four Seasons was very very accommodating. They waived all the minimum requirement fees and many of the other fees which was super helpful. Otherwise I don’t think we could have ever afforded our wedding here haha.



Outside Wedding Coordinator: Rebecca from Imagine Weddings and Special Events, LLC: A++

The Four Seasons requires you to have a day of coordinator. However my biggest fear in planning this new wedding was that it was going to look like we just put something quick together in 6 weeks which I really didn’t want. Especially since the last thing I wanted to do was plan another wedding. We had guests traveling from literally all over the world and its in such a nice place that it was very important to me that everything flowed together, and looked good. We decided to hire Rebecca from Imagine and it was one of the best decisions we made. She was so easy to work with and so responsive with our emails. On the wedding day not one thing went wrong! She made sure everything flowed and took off so much stress from DH and I. She has a very calming presence and is so genuine. Our guests kept telling us how beautiful and amazing everything was and I really owe it all to Rebecca. She made all this happen in less than 6 weeks and she had the best recommendations for our Judge, the flowers, and the guitarist. I cant say enough good things about her.



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Judge: Judge Tom Adams: A+++

Rebecca (our coordinator) recommended us to use Judge Adams and we are SO glad she did. He had sent us a packet to fill out before the wedding that asked us questions about our relationship, what we like to do, what we meant to each other, ect. We also had a phone conversation the week before the wedding with him and we immediately knew he was going to be great. I honestly couldnâ€t have imagined a better ceremony officiate. He made it so personal – the whole time I was thinking “OMG this is amazingâ€. He took things that we had written in our packet and incorporated really thoughtful quotes that fit us perfectly – he even mentioned Chesdin our dog!. The best part was when he read word for word what we had written in our packets about why we love each other. We had NO idea he was going to do this – but I'm so glad he did because it was like we had written our own vows without knowing! Afterwards almost every guest came up to us and told us it was one of the best ceremonies they have ever attended. It was so meaningful and I feel so lucky to have had such a great officiate and such a memorable and personal wedding ceremony.


Photographer: Nathaniel Thompson: A++

I cant say enough good things about Nathaniel! I wrote a more detailed review here:



I also posted a thread with some teasers which he sent me in 2 days!!!!!



In short: he was so easy going and fun to work with. He knew everyoneâ€s names from the list I had given him and blended in so well with everyone! He also surprised us with a slide show during the reception with pictures (in the teaser thread) from getting ready and the ceremony – it was AMAZING!! As I mentioned I'm obsessed with these pictures and cant stop looking at them. I really cant wait to see the rest. I feel so lucky that I was able to use him as our photographer!!!! He also has a great sense of humor!


For all you picture lovers – here are a few:


Click the image to open in full size.


Click the image to open in full size.


Click the image to open in full size.


Flowers: Camille from Modern Day Design: A

My bouquet was beautiful!!!! I really wanted calla lilies and when I saw the bouquet she made, I was amazed! She also did a great job on the bridesmaid bouquets – they were really unique . The centerpieces were AMAZING!!! When we walked into the reception room my mouth dropped! We picked these (and the bouquets) just based on a description with no pictures and they were better than anything I could imagine. She also added flowers and candles to the fireplace mantel for free and she also set up the flower petals on our ceremony site which I thought was beautiful. Sorry I donâ€t have good pictures of all the flower stuff but trust me – it all looked so good!


It was the best day of my life. Everything was perfectly aligned (this time) and nothing went wrong. I guess everything does happen for a reason. Although Mexico didnâ€t work out for us, I really couldnâ€t have imagined a better wedding than the one we had in Santa Barbara. All our guests were so impressed with EVERYTHING and had so much fun! If anyone is considering having their wedding in Santa Barbara, I 100% recommend the Four Seasons Biltmore.


Finally I want to thank this forum and all you wonder ladies for all the support and ideas – you guys are the best and I will be eternally grateful for this form. I owe so much of my wedding success to this place!


I'm sure there is more but this is already so long haha.

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Yael-what a great review!! I am so happy your day turned out perfectly!! You deserve nothing less after the tough decisions you and John had to make.

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Yael, I couldn't be happier for you! I'm so glad that your wedding turned out as amazing as it did. You looked gorgeous! Big HUGE congrats!

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