A Low-Key Luxe Destination Wedding at Belmond El Encanto

When asked how she met now-husband Jesse Amoroso, Jordyn Shaffer has both a short and long answer. The short? They met through mutual friends in September 2013. And, the long: "I had such a crush on Jesse and asked my uncle, who did business with him, to set us up. I also asked a mutual friend to introduce us," she admits. "Between these recommendations and several run-ins throughout the summer, my campaigning was successful—Jesse finally ended up asking me out!"

Four years later, Jesse asked Jordyn another question, this time, proposing at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania right before Christmas. "I have an affinity for gardens," Jordyn says. "We ended up getting married at a lily pond for our ceremony so it came full circle that he proposed to me there." On April 21, 2018, Jordyn and Jesse said "I do" in front of the lily pond at Belmond El Encanto in Santa Barbara, California, a place they found after months of searching. "Our venue search was quite complicated! We looked everywhere from the Bahamas to Palm Beach," Jordyn admits. "But the Belmond El Encanto in Santa Barbara seemed to embody exactly what we had been seeking: laidback California luxury with a dose of Old Hollywood."

Nestled in the hills overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the Philadelphia-based couple—she's the chief brand officer at the startup Clove; he's the vice president at Amoroso's Bakery—combined the venue's laid-back look with their "effortless, minimalist" vision to host a destination wedding weekend that was equal parts chic, carefree, and fun. And while the big day itself emanated cool California vibes, Jordyn and Jesse made sure to pay homage to their East Coast roots with unique, personalized touches—and, naturally, Philly cheesesteaks!

Keep reading to see how Jesse and Jordyn's wedding weekend, including their fun-filled pool party, fiesta-themed welcome dinner, and black-tie ceremony, came together in a low-key luxe celebration planned by Wild Heart Events and captured by Belathée Photography.

To set the tone for the festivities to come, Jesse and Jordyn enlisted TPD Design House to create an invitation that was totally unique but also small enough to send in the mail. The end result? A lucite box filled with mini opera glasses that read, “See you on the West Coast!” "Though retro, the invite itself and the lucite box the glasses came in were quite modern," Jordyn says. "Above all, this informed our guests that this was not going to be a traditional wedding!

Once in California, guests were welcomed with farmer's market-style welcome bags stuffed with personalized bottles of olive oil, paper-wrapped baguettes, and other local favorites.

Taking advantage of the wedding venue’s expansive list of amenities was a given, so the couple kicked off the weekend with a pool party on Friday afternoon. Throughout the weekend, Jordyn and Jesse made a point to deliver "themed gifts" to party-goers before each event—and this occasion called for sunscreen and floating koozies. Of course, the California get-together was complete with a local culinary staple: In-N-Out burgers!

While poolside, Jordyn sported a bright bikini by Kirna Zabete and initial earrings in honor of her soon-to-be last name. 

Later that night, the duo swapped their swim gear for chic rehearsal dinner looks. Jordyn took to a white Roksanda jumpsuit, silver Azzedine Alaïa heels, and a pair of “something blue” earrings from her mother.

The rehearsal dinner took place on the MOXI rooftop at The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation, so guests took trolleys into town. Once at the museum, everyone explored the exhibitions before the couple served up scenic views alongside Mexican-focused fare, cotton candy, a live reggae band, vibrant florals, and Spanish tile place cards. â€œOur rehearsal dinner was the ultimate fiesta filled with color and whimsy,” Jordyn says.

The next morning, everyone—including the wedding party and bride and groom—traded in their casual California looks for elevated, black-tie attire. Jordyn wore an off-the-shoulder, Chantilly lace gown by Ines di Santo, while Jessie opted for plaid, double-breasted dinner-jacket. 

Jordyn’s bridesmaids kept it classic in black dresses of their choosing with bouquets of calla lilies to match her own.

The bride's parents escorted her down Belmond El Encanto’s lily pond bridge. The "aisle" was surrounded by candles as guests looked on from either side. 

Surrounded by the walled gardens of the ceremony site, the event dĂ©cor took on a clean, all-white palette that felt unexpectedly modern given the romantic surroundings. There, the couple exchanged vows beneath a custom chuppah that was made from upside-down tulips and inspired by the Japanese art of flower arrangement, Ikebana. Fittingly enough, the bride’s uncle (who first introduced the couple!) officiated the ceremony. 

The couple filled the ceremony, including the processional and recessional, with instrumental versions of our classic rock tunes.

At cocktail hour, guests mingled near the pool and took in scenic views just before sunset. "We didn’t have to pick between mountain views or ocean views because the hotel is literally situated in the hills overlooking the Pacific," Jordyn says of the location. "We were able to utilize every aspect of the hotel from Thursday through Sunday."

At cocktail hour, the newlyweds—who pride themselves on their dance moves—posed for some frame-worthy snaps, including one with the glasses from their invitation suite.

The terrace reception also offered prime views of Santa Barbara, which is why the pair chose to go light on the design elements. “My goal was for the dĂ©cor to allow the venue’s greenery, florals, and stunning vistas to be the focal points,” adds the bride. Each table was decorated with mini “zen gardens” and dramatic black-and-white place settings. 

They did, however, accentuate the al fresco allure with a pergola covered in twinkle lights. As for dinner, Jordyn says they wanted the menu to have an authentic West Coast feel, so they served halibut, filet mignon, farm-fresh sides, and a family-style heirloom tomato carpaccio topped with California olive oil.

Guests also munched on a classic dulce de leche cake with caramel drips and hot donuts from a chef-manned station.

To cap off the wedding weekend, Jesse and Jordyn put on their dancing shoes for an ‘80s-themed, Miami Vice-inspired after-party. (Jordyn also slipped into a silver sequin Alex Perry dress!) A Prince-filled playlist kept everyone on their feet amid the checkered dance floor, indoor palm trees, and a few disco balls. Meanwhile, a food truck stopped by for some late-night bites, serving Philly cheesesteaks with rolls from the groom’s family bakery. 

All in all, Jordyn advises that couples planning stay true to their style—whatever that may be! “Use this as an opportunity to express who you are as a couple,” she says. “Ignore the trends and Instagram moments and pay attention to what resonates with you.”

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