Tiny Santa Barbara Courthouse Wedding

santa barbara courthouse wedding

I’m terrible at keeping secrets. Actually, I can keep other people’s secrets without a problem. I can’t keep any of my own, so I’m going to have to spill the beans. Adam and I popped down to Santa Barbara last week and got married! We tied the knot in front of the fountain at the Santa Barbara courthouse, the same place that he first told me he loved me and later asked me to marry him!

kissing Nanny She

The wedding was a tiny affair – just me and Adam, his parents, his grandmother, and one set of my parents (my mom and step-dad). We are keeping it pretty quiet since we are considering the big wedding we have coming up next month to be our actual wedding and the anniversary that we will celebrate. But Nanny Sheila, Adam’s grandmother, has been a very important part of his life and she is 94 and not able to travel. Adam couldn’t imagine getting married without involving Nanny She, so we decided to do the legal part of our marriage at the Santa Barbara courthouse with Nanny She as our witness.

Emma Domb vintage wedding dress

Now the important part you’re all wondering about – the dress, right? Not long after getting engaged I was in Seattle visiting family and, at the urging of my stepmother, poked into a vintage boutique called Trove that had opened in the neighborhood that I grew up in (Ballard was quiet and boring and full of old Scandinavian people when I grew up there. Now it’s the hippest boomingest neighborhood in Seattle!). I thought it would be fun to try on some of the vintage wedding dresses and this Emma Domb¬†dress from the early 1960’s was the first dress I pulled off the rack. And it fit perfectly. Not a single alteration necessary. Of course I had to try on a dozen other dresses to confirm how amazing it was that a vintage dress fit me perfectly off the rack and then I had to buy it.

white bridal fascinator by azula by design

I did my own makeup and my mom did my hair (in about 10 mins and 100 bobby pins). My mom and mother-in-law put together a bouquet and my mom let me carry a vintage beaded purse (probably from the 1930’s) that she had found at a thrift store. I purchased the fascinator at the farmers market on my island the week before from a local artist Azula by Design. I think it added just the flourish that my outfit needed! I did the traditional something old (my dress and a vintage slip underneath it), something new (my shoes), something borrowed (my mom’s purse), and something blue (a blue kerchief that belonged to Adam’s grandfather).

exchanging rings

In the spirit of honoring our grandparents, Adam wore a silver bracelet that belonged to his mother’s father, a ring that belonged to his father’s father, and a tie clip that belonged to a man that Nanny She lived with for many years while Adam was growing up and was like a grandfather to Adam. I wore a diamond bracelet that belonged to my mother’s mother.

weisbart courthouse wedding

I’m so glad that we made the courthouse wedding happen. I think it’s taken away some of the jitters for our big wedding and it’s given us one more beautiful memory shared with a beautiful, strong, and inspiring woman. Nanny She welcomed me into her heart from the moment we met as she has with so many people and for Adam’s sake, my sake, and the sake of this new life we’re starting together, I’m thrilled that we could start that life with Nanny as our witness.

In Summary:
Dress: Vintage Emma Domb, early 60’s, from Trove Vintage Boutique
Fascinator: Azula by Design (local artist)
Bouquet: Mom and mother in law
Makeup: Me
Hair: Mom
Purse: Vintage, 1930’s?, found at a thrift store by my mom
Shoes: Fergalicious from DSW
Photography: Amy at Vita-Bella Photography

Comments 52

    1. I just cried a little. Thank you so much for sharing something so special. I love you two.

  1. The dress, the hair, the fascinator, the story, the wedding party…all Perfection! Congratulations, and may happiness and abundance bless the two of you throughout your lives together :)

  2. Wonderful, this looks so happy and such a lovely day. The dress is amazing, the shaping and the lace on the bodice is beautiful. I love seeing other people’s weddings. Best of luck with planning the one for next month. I m having a sewing week to get started on all the dresses for my December wedding

  3. Congratulations! I’m so happy for you. It’s very touching that you included your Nanny She! You’re dress, amazing! You look beautiful in it. You all look so happy! :)

  4. Congratulations! You look beautiful!!! So wonderful that you could have your husband’s grandmother there.

  5. Oh heavens! What a magical tiny wedding! Congratulations to the both of you! I think it’s absolutely beautiful that you wedded in Santa Barbara for the reasons you’ve written about! I haven’t followed for long, but look forward to reading more about life ala Seamstress Erin. Yeah, Ballard has changed hasn’t it. I’m not from there, but have frequented Seattle and environs many a time, and, of course, watched my fair share of Almost Live!

  6. Congratulations, sweetie! You look, so, so happy, and so very beautiful. I think an intimate wedding sounds like the perfect choice . . . before the big party! Wishing you much happiness.

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  7. This is so special! I love how you honored Adam’s Grandmother and both your grandparents. Love your vintage dress.

  8. Congratulations! You look beautiful and that dress is amazing! That is such an amazing idea to celebrate with Adam’s Nanny, what a great memory you will always have! I can’t wait to see photos from the next big party where I’m sure you will look even more stunning!

  9. Congratulations! You look gorgeous and it’s hard to believe this was a bit of a spur-of-the-moment decision! What a wonderful idea, and you both look extremely happy to be sharing it with the important people in your life, like Nanny She.

  10. Congratulations!!!! a wedding is always a happy moment, but sharing it with the persons you truly love is a blessing!! congratulatios again and chic dress :D!!!

  11. Congratulations to you and Adam!! You look gorgeous, and it’s wonderful that you got to share this day with Adam’s grandmother. What a thoughtful and special way to honor her. Yay!!! :)

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  12. Congratulations! The photos are amazng, and you both look fantastically happy! And a wonderful thing to do for the family, all the lovely sentiments.

  13. y’all look the very DEFINITION of happiness!!! what a wonderful celebration….and you get to do it again… love that shot of the happy couple & NannyShe :))

  14. Oh my goodness, this is wonderful! That dress is amazing and you both look so happy and relaxed. I wish I’d done something like this instead of a bigger wedding. So glad the weather was good to you. I wonder if I can persuade my kids to go this route? :)

    That dress was clearly meant to be for you….no alterations?AMAZING. Oh this has filled my heart with happy thoughts and made my day :)

    Congratulations, may the road rise up to meet you both, the wind always be at your backs and the sun shine warm upon your faces!

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      Thanks Tempest! And thank you especially for that blessing. I sang a version of it set to music for many years in my childhood choir so it holds a very special place in my heart.

  15. It’s incredibly special that you were able to share this memory with Adam’s grandmother! You all look lovely. The vintage dress is a great find!

  16. Wow, you all look so happy! Weddings are so special, everyone should have two. Really.

  17. How beautiful you look. What a wonderful moment in your lives and to be able to include Nanny. I was in Santa Barbara two years ago (at the courthouse), so I know how beautiful the setting is for a wedding. Congratulations!

  18. How beautiful ! I don’t know you at all but you and Adam look the happiest couple alive and in this age of wars and plane tragedies, it’s lovely to share someone elses happiness – thank you for sharing, you have made me smile and set me up for a good day.

    With Very Best Wishes for the future to you both


  19. So beautiful! I’m seriously in tears. Love the whole story and I’m so glad you were able to include the important people in your life!

  20. Wow Erin!!! So happy to see that ear to ear grin on both of your faces!!! CONFRATULATIONS!!!

  21. This post makes me incredibly happy! I had a tiny wedding too and I loved it, it was so stress free! Happy trails to both of you!

  22. Congratulations! What a wonderful way to celebrate with family. And, that courthouse is hard to beat. My husband and I have fond memories there from early in our relationship!! You both look amazing! And so happy. Here’s to many many many more perfect days and wonderful memories.

  23. Dear Adam and Erin
    I am a childhood friend of Judi, and Mama She was a major figure in my life since my teenage years, as is Judi. I am so pleased at the very obvious happiness that you have found in each other that is radiating out through both your families. How very special of you to make a wedding with Mama She as your witness! I am so sorry that we cannot join you for the big wedding but I know it will be a wonderful start to your life together – Graham and I wish you health and happiness all your lives. Hugs from Oxford.

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  24. You don’t know me as I’m a newbie in Judi and Harry’s life, but I so appreciate her sharing this with me. We all need more “happy stories” to read or hear about and this is definitely a GREAT one. You have smiles and smarts to match. May you both live happily ever after and create love and warmth along the way for many. Cheryl

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  25. Such a lovely warm-up for the big show! You and your husband (!!) couldn’t look any happier. Best wishes to you both — and good luck with all the big stuff you have coming up!

  26. You both are glowing with happiness in these photos! It looks like a beautiful wedding and I love the dress, and I especially love how you incorporated your family into your accessories. I had a double wedding as well – a court wedding with my husband’s family in Germany where I live and a big church ceremony in California with my family almost a year and a half later. Having two weddings did not make either of them less special to me – they are both very precious memories.

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