For law students Christina Duggan and Christopher Osborne, figuring out when to have a wedding amid non-stop studying for the bar exam was the only part of planning that posed a problem. Since their next well-deserved break fell in December and Christy has always adored the season, the couple agreed that winter was the ideal time of year for their nuptials. "I have loved Christmastime since I was a little girl," the bride explains, "so it ended up being perfect!"
Since flowers were the most important detail of the wedding for Christy, she immediately went to event designer and family friend Christopher Aldama to describe the vision she had in mind. With the bride's lively ideas and jewel-toned color scheme of deep reds, rich purples, and hot pinks as direction, Aldama worked with coordinator Jeannie Savage to create an elaborately detailed look for the wedding. A sea of scarlet poinsettias and vibrant floral accents highlighted the colorful altar and gilded cathedral ceiling in the sanctuary of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, the same house of worship where Christy's mother and father had exchanged vows. "I've always [imagined] my wedding in the church where my parents were married," says the bride. The frothy bouquet of gardenias, roses, peonies, and hydrangeas that Christy carried down the aisle had its stems wrapped in a vintage handkerchief and bejeweled rosary that had belonged to her maternal and paternal grandmothers respectively, weaving sentimental value into the all-white blooms. With her hair loosely gathered above her shoulders, and her beautifully detailed gown gracefully sweeping the floor, Christy made a gorgeous first impression on her groom. "When the church door opened and I could see her start to walk down the aisle in her wedding dress, time just kind of froze," Chris says.
After a traditional Catholic mass, the setting of the event switched to the Montecito Country Club, where three different tablescapes based on the bride's request for a fantasy of flowers took center stage. Low, aged-wood boxes packed with purple and green hydrangea, burgundy cymbidium orchids, hot pink roses, purple Phalaenopsis orchids, and red roses in full bloom decorated square reception tables dotted throughout the room. Enormous floral arrangements woven with birch and centered on towering candelabras of wrought iron were placed on foundations of fresh petals on a series of round tables where guests also took their seats. A long row of vividly colored roses, hydrangea blossoms, and orchids in wooden boxes linked with branches stretched the length of the rectangular head table made of distressed wood. Every table was draped in custom-made linens of washed burgundy velvet with embossed faux-leather appliques, while violet favor boxes of Vosges chocolates placed beside golden chargers completed the dramatic look.
Following a palette-pleasing supper of Sterling Silver(R) filet mignon and sea bass crusted with horseradish, the couple's elaborate wedding cake stole the limelight. An absolute masterpiece, the cake featured six layers covered with hand-painted sugar flowers that graduated in profusion until the bottom two layers were completely covered in brightly colored blooms. "The wedding cake was amazing... and the groom's cake remarkable!" exclaims Christy, who had arranged for a giant confection shaped like a golf ball resting on a lifelike bed of grass as a surprise for Chris. "It looked so genuine, my cousin touched the 'lawn' with her finger to confirm the grass wasn't real!"
After dancing to the James Gang until 10:30PM, guests were guided into another room of the country club for some after-hours celebrating. Christy even exchanged her formal gown for an outfit better suited for the festivities: a short Marchesa dress and a pair of hot pink heels. "I was able to relax, dance, and chat comfortably -- it was so much fun!" recalls the bride. At night's end, a euphoric Christy and Chris wished everyone a good night as milk, hot chocolate, and cookies were distributed to each guest upon departure. Looking back, the couple agreed that the best part of the day was the knowledge that their life together had officially begun. "There are no words to describe what it's like when you see the person you love at the end of the aisle waiting to share the rest of their life with you," asserts the bride. "It's an incredible feeling."