These High School Sweethearts Hosted a Modern Wedding with Rustic Touches in Santa Barbara

bride and groom hugging outside venue
Pinnel Photography

For Alexis Zampas and Bobby King, meeting in their high school Spanish class was "love at first sight," they say. "We became close friends in our first year of high school and started dating a few weeks into our sophomore year. We were high school sweethearts," they say; Alexis was on the cheer team and Bobby played football. It was a meant-to-be, high-school rom-com kind of match.

Almost nine years after that first classroom meeting, Bobby proposed to Alexis while the pair was on vacation in Hawaii. "Bobby proposed in the most romantic way at sunset on the Ko'Olina beach in Oahu," recalls the bride. "I had no idea. Bobby had to hide the ring in different spots several times throughout the entire trip!" When they arrived home in California, the couple worked with planner Alexandra Kolendrianos to design mood boards and layouts for their dream day: a "rustic modern" affair on September 18, 2021, with an understated color palette of blush, sand, and lavender; a traditional ceremony at Saint Barbara Greek Orthodox Church; and dinner and dancing for 200 guests under the stars at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum. To kick off the celebration, the groom's mother hosted a rehearsal dinner; the event's décor and menu was a surprise to the duo—and they were infinitely impressed by Bobby's mom's ability to design a celebration that spoke so elegantly to their big day.

Though some tasks (like the menu tasting) came together more easily than others (like finalizing the seating chart), the end result was exactly what Alexis and Bobby hoped for. "It was current, elegant, and playful," she says, "and reflected who we are as a couple."

01 of 21

Best of Both Worlds

wedding invitation suite with flowers and wedding bands
Pinnel Photography

Alexis and Bobby chose a paper suite from Plume Calligraphy that featured deckled-edge natural paper, handwritten calligraphy complemented by classic block text, and botanical imagery on a wax seal. "We wanted our invitations to have a European feel," says the bride. "They were a preview into our wedding—a European-inspired, modern event set in a historic spot in Santa Barbara."

02 of 21

Ready to Party

bride and groom holding hands before rehearsal dinner
Pinnel Photography

For the rehearsal dinner and welcome party, Alexis donned a white Cinq à Sept dress with a flirty ruffle and strappy Christian Louboutin heels; Bobby wore a custom blue suit from Zegna, with a shirt, tie, and shoes from the same brand.

03 of 21

A Happy Surprise

rehearsal dinner table with modern chairs and floral centerpiece
Pinnel Photography

The groom's mother worked with the couple's wedding planner to surprise Alexis and Bobby with every detail of the 50-person rehearsal dinner at Duo Events, including the black-and-flax color palette. "The design was a complete surprise—we hadn't seen any photos or inspiration beforehand," says Alexis. "The moment Bobby and I walked into the venue, it was so incredibly special. It perfectly reflected us: rustic, natural, and all the good vibes."

04 of 21

On the Menu

rehearsal dinner table setting with menu
Pinnel Photography

The family-style meal included melon and shaved prosciutto, arugula and fennel salad, grilled lamb, sea bass, and ratatouille.

05 of 21

Welcome Sips

specialty wedding cocktails
Pinnel Photography

Colorful cocktails at the rehearsal dinner and welcome party included aqua fresca garnished with lavender flowers, mezcal negronis, and "Plums of Navaronne"—a mixture of plum, basil, lemon, and vodka.

06 of 21

All Together Now

rehearsal dinner toasts at long banquet table
Pinnel Photography

Following the meal and speeches, the rest of the couple's guests joined the bridal party and immediate family for a celebratory welcome party, where an ensemble of Spanish guitarists led by Tony Ybarra performed while servers passed trays of chocolate tarts with pistachio and caramel, mini citrus tartlets, and donut holes. "It was truly surreal to see everyone all together for the first time, ever," says Alexis. "It was such a wonderful kick-off to the weekend."

07 of 21

Finding "The One"

bride wearing an off-the-shoulder lace gown with long veil holding bouquet
Pinnel Photography

After trying on more than two dozen wedding dresses at three different boutiques with her mother and mother-in-law, Alexis was convinced she would never find a dress that felt like "the one"—until she spotted her Eve of Milady fit-and-flare gown on a mannequin. "It was not what I originally thought I wanted, but I loved it and wanted to try it on," she says. "I knew even before I came out of the dressing room to show them that it was the one!" Highlights of the ivory-and-blush gown included a sheer, strapless bodice, hand-beaded three-dimensional lace, a chapel-length train, and off-the-shoulder bands. She added a Van Cleef & Arpels necklace that Bobby gave her for their 10-year anniversary, her Cartier promise ring, and a vintage evening bag borrowed from her mother.

Alexis also has some advice for brides currently shopping for their own big-day looks: "If you are asking the stylist for their advice, or what they think of the dress, or wondering if it's trendy—don't," says Alexis. "Enjoy finding your style. Figure out the dresses you don't like by trying everything on. Bring family and friends for support. Do not rush or stress. Enjoy the process!"

08 of 21

Neutral Territory

bride with bridesmaids in beige dresses
Pinnel Photography

The bridesmaids wore chiffon gowns from Bill Levkoff in a pale sand color that set off the blush, cream, and ivory blooms—including garden roses, ranunculus, scabiosa, and nigella—of their bouquets from Camellia Floral Design.

09 of 21

Dressed to Impress

groom and groomsmen lounging on chairs and sofa
Pinnel Photography

Bobby opted for another Zegna ensemble on the big day. "Zegna was my dad's favorite clothing store," says the groom, "and he passed away nine months before my wedding." With help from the bride's father and brother, Bobby picked "the best-looking and most comfortable" black tuxedos for his groomsmen from The Friar Tux Shop.

  • From Start to Finish: Here's How a Custom Wedding Suit Is Made
10 of 21

Keeping to Tradition

white church exterior with stone steps
Pinnel Photography

The couple wanted to hold their ceremony in a Greek Orthodox Church, in keeping with the bride's religious background. After attending a service at Saint Barbara Greek Orthodox Church, they knew it was the ideal location.

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Simple Touches

wedding ceremony floral arrangement on pew
Pinnel Photography

"The Greek Orthodox Church was so stunning on its own, but we incorporated flowers and greenery down the aisle to complement the space," says Alexis.

12 of 21

Down the Aisle

bride and groom exchanging vows in church
Pinnel Photography

After choosing not to see each other before their ceremony, Alexis and Bobby savored the moment as her father walked her down the aisle. "It was so emotional—I started crying the moment the church doors opened!" she says. "Looking out at everyone in the church and seeing my husband at the end waiting for me was truly a magical experience. It was a blur getting to the altar."

To hold their religious ceremony, Bobby was baptized into the Greek Orthodox church before the wedding day. "In the Greek sacrament of marriage, the couple does not read vows during the ceremony," says Alexis. "However, Bobby and I wrote them down in gorgeous vow books gifted by our calligrapher, and we shared them with each other later that night."

13 of 21

This Way In

potted flowers and candles outside venue
Pinnel Photography

Woven baskets, glass lanterns, flickering candles, and flowers in gradated shades of pink and purple adorned the iron gates and pathway leading to the reception at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum.

14 of 21

Feeling Reflective

seating chart mirrors with flowers at reception
Pinnel Photography

In lieu of escort cards, the couple displayed their guests' seating assignments on ornate, oversized mirrors surrounded by lavender, pink, and white floral arrangements—a delicate complement to the exposed brick and rustic pathways of the outdoor space.

  • Trending Now: Mirrored Wedding Décor
15 of 21

Under the Stars

reception table with colorful floral centerpiece and stemmed glassware
Pinnel Photography

A courtyard at the museum offered the couple and their guests an enclosed, outdoor space that they turned into an elegant dining area. "We wanted a rustic-modern reception that would take place under the stars," says Alexis. "We loved the historic look of the museum and wanted to play off of that and complement the space."

16 of 21

Mixed Materials

reception table setting with blush napkins and silver accents
Pinnel Photography

Alexis and Bobby opted to leave some of their wooden tables bare and cover the rest with stone-colored linens. Gray ceramic dinnerware, pewter flatware, and vintage glasses were an earthy, natural touch against gold table numbers and deckled-edge menus.

17 of 21

Beauty in Bloom

table setting with pink floral arrangement and blush napkins
Pinnel Photography

Impossibly lush blooms in a color palette of sand, blush, cream, lavender, and green filled the low floral arrangements on the tables, adding a "romantic, airy" touch to the natural materials on the tablescape.

18 of 21

Table for Two

bride and groom at sweetheart table in front of fountain
Pinnel Photography

The newlyweds sat at their own station—adorned with a bloom-filled swag—during their reception.

19 of 21

Sweet Stuff

four-tiered unfrosted cake with greenery
Pinnel Photography

A semi-naked, four-tiered, vanilla bean cake was filled with fresh berries and displayed under a glittering chandelier.

20 of 21

So in Love

bride and groom kissing on the dance floor
Pinnel Photography

Alexis and Bobby chose a throwback tune—Mellowdrone's "Orange Marmalade"—for their first dance. "It was our song from the 10th grade!" she says. It was also the bride's favorite part of a weekend filled with memorable moments. "We were surrounded by so much love and support," she says. "It was a magical experience."

21 of 21


bride and groom at record player in front of last name neon sign
Pinnel Photography

Photography, Pinnel Photography
Venue, Duo Catering (rehearsal dinner); Saint Barbara Greek Orthodox Church (ceremony); Santa Barbara Historical Museum (reception)
Event Planning, Alexandra Kolendrianos
Catering, Duo Catering
Flowers, Camellia Floral Design
Videography, Aaron Novak Films
Stationery, Plume Calligraphy; Lazaro Press
Calligraphy, Penned by Shani
Music, Dart Collective (cocktail hour and reception); Ybarra Music (welcome party)
Rentals, Casa de Perrin (rehearsal dinner); Elan Event Rentals; La Tavola Fine Linen Rental; The Tent Merchant; Theoni Collection
Bride's gown, Eve of Milady
Bride's accessories, Jimmy Choo shoes; Van Cleef and Arpels necklace; Cartier bracelet and ring
Hair, Emily Miller of Xavier Scordo Montecito Salon
Makeup, Natalie Saraf
Bridesmaids' dresses, Bill Levkoff
Groom's suit, Zegna
Menswear, The Friar Tux Shop
Groom's shoes, Ferragamo (wedding); Zegna (rehearsal dinner)
Lighting, Bella Vista Designs
Transportation, LL Transportation
Bride's rehearsal dinner attire, Cinq a Sept dress; Christian Louboutin shoes
Rings, Cartier

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