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STYLISH WEDDING AT HISTORIC SANTA BARBARA COUNTY COURTHOUSE: CARESS & DEVON ZILLNER

One of the most rewarding and fascinating sides of my job is the opportunity to discover new places and learn about their history and enchantment. I am a passionate traveller at heart. Even though I have not adventured away much since I became a mother, I am always eager to make the most of any chance I have to photograph my clients in a place that beyond beauty, has history and soul. The Santa Barbara County Courthouse is one of those places that just takes your breath away, and it has been called the most beautiful government building in the United States. Located in downtown Santa Barbara, this 1929 courthouse is a Spanish Colonial/Moorish Revival style complex with four buildings occupying an entire city block. It is a place like no other around, because it possesses an elaborate array of detail emulating a Spanish castle or fortress. Must-see spots in this beautiful venue are "El Mirador" clock tower, perfect place for unforgettable portraits and views of Santa Barbara's coast and mountains; also the "Spirit of the Ocean" fountain, and my personal favorite "The Mural Room", where my bride and groom had their wedding ceremony. 

If you have read my blog before, you probably know that I prefer to interview my subjects so you can read their impressions and experiences first-hand. This occasion is no different, with stylish new Mrs Carissa Zillner telling us about why they chose this historic building for their wedding, what her memories are of their special day there, and last but not least, she shares a little bit of her love story with us. And I am always all ears for love stories. 

How did you decide for a wedding in Santa Barbara? What made you want to get married at this particular place?

Santa Barbara was our first date. We drove from L.A. and we spent the day enjoying the history and architecture while exploring everything from the mission, the courthouse, to lunch on the pier and wine & beer at a local tasting room. It was romantic and in one day we found out our taste from design to food was a match. It made the daydreams of our next dates even more exciting! It couldn't have been more perfect. We got married at our first date location, making it very special to us. 

What do you think about how everything turned out getting married there? What memories will you keep? Any favorite spots in the venue?

The day was better than perfect. The history and soul in Santa Barbara alone makes it beyond romantic. There is something so timeless in the dramatic old world designs, and the air of the city that captures your heart when you are there. It is no wonder they call it the "American Riviera." Everything surrounding you takes your breath away. The moment you walk up to the Santa Barbara courthouse you are simply in awe. The building is grand with such detail everywhere you look, you feel as if you are somewhere overseas or back in time. I would say that it takes more than one visit to really embrace all it has to showcase. So when it was our wedding day, it just made it much more magical, for us and our guests. 
If you plan on eloping or getting married here, I can't express how incredibly important it is to have the right photographer to really capture its exquisite craftsmanship while also capturing the love you both share. After all, the pictures are what we and our family will cherish for generations. So making sure you capture your surroundings as well really helps tell your love story for years to come. For me the most memorable is walking into the Mural Room and seeing my now Husband standing among such a magnificent room, it made me weak in the knees. For him it was holding my hand and walking the halls and through it's garden what once was our first date to our wedding.  Taking in that our marriage is now a little part of Santa Barbara's history even if just for us. 

Tell us a little about your love story: how you met, what brings you both together, what made you see he is the one you wanted to spend the rest of your life with <3

We were introduced 3 years ago by mutual friends on the 4th of July while on a lake. We hit it off immediately, laughed the entire day and planned our first date as a drive to Santa Barbara which was 2 hours for us at the time. I would say I knew he was the one within a few dates. He was such a gentleman, and we had too much in common, I knew I couldn't live without him, he was my best friend. But I didn't want to rush so I kept it a secret. He knew a few months later when he was the first to say I love you and that he knew he was going to marry me someday. Two years later, he asked me to be his wife on Valentine's weekend while snowboarding on top the Grand Teton Mountains in Jackson Hole, Wy. We find our balance in our mutual love for travel and adventure while always finding ways to make each other smile. We respect our differences while also finding fun ways to bring them together. His heart is what I fell most in love with. He has truly made me feel more loved than I ever thought possible <3