When Natalie Harris and Matthew Wages met, there was a strong attraction. Still, as is the case with most good love stories, there were problems. For one thing, they were both dating other people. And while he was in his element foraging for wild mushrooms in the forest, she was more inclined to be searching for designer stilettos in a luxury department store. When the stars finally aligned and both were single, her sister texted him to tell him so. He replied that Natalie was too "high maintenance" for his taste. After a chance encounter at a pub, they quickly decided the hunt was over. "It was like an insta-relationship. Just add water," says Natalie. Three years later, they decided to wed.
The event had an elegant, vintage vibe, from the 1930s–style finger wave in Natalie's hair to Ravenscroft, the classic Montecito estate where they wed. Her shoes, Rene Caovilla sandals, were scored at a Neiman Marcus Last Call outlet store. "I'm not a solitaire girl," says Natalie, whose gold-and-diamond Tiffany & Co. engagement ring suits her style. "I decided not to get a wedding band because it's beautiful alone," she adds. Matt's ring belonged to his late father. The couple wrote their vows in this leather-bound book. Their officiant, a good friend ordained for the occasion, circulated it among the guests, so they could write considered messages in it. The bride and her father began the walk to the altar in this greenhouse on the grounds. As the bride and groom walked back down the aisle, they realized they had no plan for where to go. Uncertainty morphed into hilarity after guests chased the couple and pelted them with flower petals.
Matt's sisters, Stephanie Wages and Melissa Wages, lit a candle in remembrance of their father at the beginning of the ceremony and read passages from his favorite song, "Amazing Grace." "We wanted the event to feel like we were throwing a dinner party at home," says Natalie. "And it really did feel that way since our families had been staying on the property all week. There were 30 of us in total, including the officiant and photographer, who are both old friends." Tradition has it that the couple shouldn't kiss before being pronounced husband and wife. But Natalie and Matt almost broke the rule during the ceremony. "It's just natural for us to go in for a kiss," she says. "We almost did several times, but the guests cried 'no, no!'" After the vows, surrounded by grandparents, parents, and siblings, no one objected to a little PDA.
The groom wore a Hugo Boss ensemble, and the bride, after a rough start, wore a Jenny Packham gown. "I was determined to find a dress that didn't look like a wedding dress," she says. The first trip to a bridal salon ended abruptly when she exited in frustration to find some Champagne. A few weeks later, the answer was found in this platinum gown. Frankie Frankeny, the bride's sister-in-law, got the celebration started with Racer 5, the couple's favorite beer. The bride wanted the dinner to be lit entirely by candlelight, so 100 candles were ordered for candelabras and lanterns. During dinner, Georgia Wages, the groom's mother, was one of many guests who stood to give a toast. "Impromptu speeches spanned the entire course of the meal," says the bride.
Two long tables set with vintage plates and flatware were stationed on a secluded patio under some trees. The lanterns were suspended on wire that seemed to disappear as it grew dark. "It looked as if the candles were floating above our heads," says Natalie. After dinner, a light rain started to fall, but the couple was far from upset. "The way the mist came down over us on the dance floor and how it glittered against the spotlight was like something from a movie," says Natalie. The bride, hearing a voice from above, looked up to see her groom calling her to the balcony for her bouquet toss. The party was supposed to be over by 11 p.m., but guests danced until 1 a.m. and then feasted on pizza in the greenhouse. After the last guest departed, the couple recreated their first dance.
Venue: Ravenscroft, Montecito
Flowers:S.R. Hogue & Company
Photography:Weddings by Guru
Groom’s suit:Hugo Boss
Lighting:Ambient Event Design
Rentals:Classic Party Rentals