After living with his beloved, Julie Harris, for four years, Joe Romersa confirms, “It didn’t seem right to call her ‘girlfriend,’ and I felt I loved her way too much to be just a ‘boyfriend.’” Thus, he decided to plan a proposal with his mother’s family heirloom ring, planning to later shop for the perfect sparkler alongside his soon-to-be bride. 

Little did he know, Julie was arranging a surprise of her own. As Joe had just finished recording his album, she organized a surprise overnight stay in Santa Barbara under the guise of driving up the coast to get footage for his music video. When they stopped for a bit to eat, Joe got down on one knee. “It seems we both had surprises that day!” smiles Julie. 

Though Julie and Joe got engaged in the midst of the Covid pandemic, they decided to get married the upcoming spring instead of waiting out the unknown. “With the ever-changing restrictions and mandates imposed in California, we went in with eyes wide open that flexibility would be crucial,” shares Julie of the planning process. Thankfully, their preferred wedding venue offered the adaptability for a wedding with as few as 10 loved ones to as many as 50+ guests, as well as the outdoor setting by the ocean they desired. 

On the sunny day of the wedding ceremony, 72 friends and family members found their seats on a manicured lawn facing the sea. Keeping the comfort of guests at the forefront of their decisions, the couple selected cozy ceremony seating including curvaceous sofas topped with blue and white pillows, plush upholstered armchairs, and chic ghost chairs with ivory cushions. Gilt side tables were topped with vibrant florals and arranged between seats to provide a residential feel, while also staying in line with spacing restrictions. 

“We were blessed with a beautiful acoustic guitar played at the ceremony by my friend Laurence Juber, who is a virtuoso musician,” notes the groom, who walked down the aisle in a double-breasted magenta-and-black waistcoat and top hat. The processional incorporated songs by The Beatles, including “Something,” “And Your Bird Can Sing,” and “In My Life.” 

Julie was stunning in the “Shangri-La” gown designed by Claire Pettibone, which showcases gorgeous multi-colored embroidery layered over metallic gold lace, an illusion neckline and back with a Guipure-lace fitted waist, and a graceful skirt embellished with fringe dangle lace. 

“The entire evening was magical beyond words!”

Famed bridal designer Claire Pettibone, known for her exquisite embroideries and vintage-inspired style, also created hooded capelets for the flower girls and the velvet tunic worn by Julie’s sister and matron of honor, which showcased olive, chartreuse, magenta, and rose hues to complement the bride’s gown. As Julie was concerned she may get chilly throughout the evening, the designer also made a custom mid-length coat of embroidered silk velvet with an elaborate floral border, flowing sleeves, and a surprise magenta silk charmeuse lining that perfectly complemented the bride’s exquisite gown. 

Since this was the second marriage for both Julie and Joe, they focused on their love and their loved ones, as opposed to expectations and traditions. As the waves crashed behind them, the couple exchanged their own heartfelt vows beneath a four-post structure decorated with fresh greenery, colorful blooms inspired by the bride’s gown, and capiz-shell chandeliers. Following the “I dos,” the newlyweds walked back up the aisle together to Beyoncé’s “Halo” and “On Top of the World” by Imagine Dragons

When beginning to design the reception space, the couple only knew what they didn’t want: a white wedding. They gave creative control to their wedding team, who transformed the area into a vibrant display of décor that honored the pair’s personalities. “Whereas the ceremony was more subdued and reverent, the reception was a symphony of colors and textures that conveyed a sense of fun and frivolity,” explains the bride. In order to treat their guests like the ultimate VIPs, the reception – dubbed “Forever Fest 2021” – was styled to feel as though everyone was attending a music festival. 

Following cocktail hour, guests took turns getting professionally photographed in front of a step-and-repeat. Once attendees turned the corner, they were in awe of the geometric structure decorated with golden sconces that defined the wedding reception area. Friends and family took their seats at multi-toned tables surrounded by VIP lounge-inspired furniture. In lieu of typical event chairs, tufted sofas, upholstered armchairs, and velvet seating in shades of orange, emerald green, royal blue, and fuchsia ensured guests were comfortable throughout the entire event. Tables were decorated with vibrant florals and black taper candles, as well as agate table numbers, smokey glassware, and onyx place settings. 

All night long, guests were served libations from a nightclub-inspired bar, danced on the glossy black dance floor, and celebrated the new Mr. and Mrs. As no concert is complete without “merch,” guests received lighters, guitar picks, buttons, earplugs, and a concert-style shirt, all branded for the “Forever Fest 2021” wedding. At the end of the night, the groom – a drummer and singer-songwriter – and his friends took the stage to have a “wedding jam” where they took turns performing on stage. “The entire evening was magical beyond words,” confirms the bride.

This real wedding was originally published in the Spring 2022 issue of Inside Weddings magazine. 

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