This incredible couple found me through some shared photos in a Facebook group! That’s pretty wild, but I am so glad they stumbled upon my work. They were actually one of my first three California wedding bookings before I had even moved, making their day so, so special to me. I’ll never forget their bold, vibrant, and oh-so-sweet Hotel Californian wedding.
Zoe and Felix were so in love and gave off such main-character energy. I love a groom who wears his heart on his sleeve and isn’t afraid to cheese it up. You can just feel the energy coming from every photo. This dynamic duo is so warm and cheerful—no wonder their dance floor was filled to the brim all night long!!
Zoe lost someone close to her just a short time before their wedding, which made their day filled with love and support from loved ones even more meaningful. Seeing how everyone came alongside them to make this day special was beautiful.
About the Design: A One-of-a-Kind Designer Aesthetic
In addition to featuring this fabulous wedding day, I want to give you the scoop on this venue. Hotel Californian is not your typical hotel with generic neutrals and tacky décor. Celebrity designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard designed this eye-catching hotel. (Let’s just say he’s also the mastermind behind several of the Kardashian homes and the homes of icons like Tommy Hilfiger, Kid Rock, and John Stamos.)
I’m in love with the aesthetic—a dash of old Hollywood glamour, a sprinkle of urban funk, and lots of bold, modern sophistication. This boutique hotel is so much fun to explore, with more designer nuances at every turn. Santa Barbara is steeped in history, so the preserved Spanish Colonial Revival façade dating back to the Roaring 20s is a beautiful reflection of that. All the black and white geometric details lend beautifully to a chic, modern black-and-white wedding with pops of color (just like (Zoe did with her florals).
As for your wedding, Hotel Californian and the nearby urban scene offer unique backdrops for your wedding portraits. The lighting inside the hotel is just perfect—not at all stuffy or dim. It feels bright, spacious, and modern. Just outside the hotel, we can play with some of the quirky buildings and murals, too.
About the Area: Something for Everyone at Hotel Californian & Funk Zone
You and your guests may want to make a long weekend of it. Located in the heart of Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone and Urban Wine Trail, you’ll have plenty of amazing food, drinks, and entertainment right outside your doorstep.
Visitors and locals adore Santa Barbara for a reason: you get spectacular views of the Santa Ynez Mountains on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. And downtown Santa Barbara is still as charming as ever. Hotel Californian is just steps away from downtown and the beach.
Planning Your Hotel Californian Wedding
Hotel Californian has not just one but THREE rooftops to choose from for your wedding, each with its own distinctive appeal. From poolside beach vibes to the elegant pergola-covered terrace and the verdant Court of Califia, you can take your pick.
Hotel Californian is split into three buildings for events and accommodations: the Californian Building, the Mason Building, and the State Building. They do full-building buyouts if you prefer a private experience from beginning to end for you and your guests. The largest single event space among the three buildings can host up to 300 people, although you can combine spaces if needed.
Hotel Californian is proud of its location, its history, and the community it joins with. They have a unique catering and cocktail setup where they include offerings from various local farms and wineries. I can attest that their food and craft cocktails are perfection! This area is brimming with foodies and chefs, so you really can’t go wrong with the local catering options. They’re all unique and delicious!
Kind Words from the Newlyweds
“Hanna is the best! Honestly, I can’t say enough good things about Hanna and her absolutely incredible work. I found Hanna through a Facebook group, I saw someone post their wedding photos that Hanna had taken and just knew I had to work with her. After seeing how it all turned out, it was beyond my wildest expectations! We are beyond obsessed with the photos of our wedding – there are so many incredible ones I don’t know how we’re ever going to pick favorites!! Everyone I show our photos says they belong in a magazine because they are just that incredible. Beyond all of that, she is seriously the nicest person, makes you feel so comfortable in front of the camera, and goes above and beyond! 1000/10 would recommend working with Hanna!!”-Zoe, Bride
Take Me Back to Hotel Californian!
For an experience and aesthetic like no other, Hotel Californian is a true SoCal gem! If you’re eyeing this venue, I’d love to help you document your wedding story from beginning to end and pass along any venue insights I gathered from this wedding.
From beach elopements to luxury weddings, I’m the Southern California wedding photographer who captures the raw emotions and energy of each moment in a nostalgic, filmy, and editorial way.
Think we might be a fit?
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Venue + Catering @hotelcalifornian
Officiant Rabbi Barry Diamond
Bridal Shop @nwlabridal
Bridal Designer @pronovias
Grooms Suit Designer + Shop @groomsgrotto
Brides People Attire @birdygrey
Grooms People Attire @thegrottomenswear