Wedding Dress Piano Notes With Letters
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EXCLUSIVE: ‘Love Is Blind’ Star Jessica Batten’s Romantic Elopement in Santa Barbara “It really was love at first sight.”
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To find love without ever seeing another person. However, when she later met podiatrist Ben McGrath – whom she would go on to marry – it was love at first sight. “It all started initially with a Netflix reality television appearance and an Instagram DM. We met for the first time in Venice the night before L.A. shut down for COVID. It really was love at first sight — funny enough,” says Jessica.
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. “We decided to meet up the next day for a bike ride. After 15 miles, we realized something special was happening. We got to know each other over the next couple of weeks through phone calls and FaceTime.”
The couple grew closer over the next year and by September 2021, Jessica and Ben decided to make it official. “Ben rented out a vineyard for a surprise engagement and evening party with friends. She was tied to a grapevine with a big surprise in hand,” the couple recalls. “Jess didn’t know!”
Originally, the couple had planned to have a big wedding celebration with friends and family, but they needed to make a pivot. “Our planning process was based on a lot of personal factors. Bless our wedding planners for sticking with us,” express Jessica and Ben. “We both went through COVID after our engagement and we had to settle shortly after that. It unexpectedly pushed us out of the planning process. Once we started diving into the beginning of the year, we realized there were more complications than we had planned.”
“Between COVID and family health and logistics with travel, we find ourselves between a rock and a hard place trying to plan a wedding in 2022,” they continue. “We tried to make it all work. We considered pushing our date out or moving the location to Chicago. Ultimately, we decided we needed more time to pull off the big celebration our family and friends deserved. The time we sought in terms of family planning, we We came to the conclusion that in 2022 we will run away and make big plans to celebrate on the streets.”
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Jessica and Ben tapped the team at Crowned Events to host both their elopement and planned wedding in August 2024. “When we got to planning our elopement, we knew we’d be able to focus on our purpose of getting married and that’s fine. That’s what we did,” the couple shares. “We had everything completely wrapped up and the wedding planners were so dialed in that we were just focused on our special day. We felt so present and relaxed, able to enjoy every moment.”
As for their wedding location, the couple decided to have the two couples tie the knot at the Santa Barbara Courthouse as guests. “We also had the opportunity to stay at a private residence in Montecito which became our post-ceremony dinner and our week-long stay,” says the newlyweds. “We fell in love with the home’s Spanish architecture and antiques. The peace and privacy was perfect for our intimate event. The villa’s vibrant landscape and lush gardens made for a stunning backdrop for our first look and to spend our first days together. Husband and wife.”
“My planners made it easy to choose vendors because they completely got the vision (and made it even more dreamy). They have extensive knowledge of wedding planning in Southern California, from Santa Barbara to San Diego,” notes the couple. “We ended up using vendors everywhere in between. We did! I stood in amazement and saw it all come alive!”
Ahead, see all the details of Jessica and Ben’s romantic ceremony and reception in Santa Barbara, California, planned by Crowned Events and photographed by Alex W Photography.
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Jessica spent the morning freshened up and ready for the big day. After prepping her skin — a “curly eye patch for the win” — the bridal team gave her a natural beauty look. “My HMU dream team has been with me for quite some time, so they had strong opinions about keeping my look simple as opposed to my statement dress and they were spot on,” she shares. “The test was important because I decided to go natural instead of the bold photoshoot-ready look we had originally planned.” She wore a nude lip for the ceremony, while Jessica wore a coral shade for the reception. “It’s a classic staple in my makeup drawer that’s only worn on special occasions when I’m feeling spicy.”
As for her hair, the bride’s stylist convinced her to wear it in a low bun. “At first, she pulled the hair back but it reminded me too much of my Love Is Blind bridal look, so I asked for a side part that was more ‘me’ and I’m glad we went with that,” says Jessica. . “I also wanted a flower in my hair to add that Spanish flair.”
While Jessica got ready with her friends, the groom sat at the other end of the house. “The first night apart was very important to Ben. The way the villa worked was Jess was in the lavish master suite and Ben was on the lawn opposite the pool in the villa’s casita,” the couple explained.
“It felt very cinematic, each going to their own corner of the estate and walking around alone. We filmed a video of us leaning out the window to say goodnight to each other. It allowed us to focus and present to the next day. Focus on our vows, and our lives. Totally relax on the most beautiful day ever! It enabled both of us dolls to finally see each other for what seemed like an eternity and a great build up to the moment!”
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Jessica donned a figure-hugging lace number with an overskirt from Reem Accra’s Spring 2023 collection. “I didn’t plan the lace dress. I actually talked about it,” says The. “But Rem’s lace is different, very modern lace and silhouette, and the appliqués were so dreamy. I loved the versatility of the removable overskirt. I can wear the top for a first look, and for a very casual (and comfortable!) court look.
The bride continues, “I was blown away by the combination of traditional and modern in this dress. Plus, my 6-year-old future bonus daughter’s eyes got so big and her jaw dropped. I went back to get the dress after a while!”
Jessica spritzed Gucci Flora Gorgeous Gardenia as a finishing touch to her look. “Once I smelled the clean gardenia-based fragrance, I knew it had to be for my wedding. I’m saving it and won’t wear it again to remember our special day,” she comments.
Ben kept his wedding day light and neutral to fit the modern palette of the day. He wore a tan Italian suit, white tie and Ferragamo loafers. The groom also wore Jessica’s father’s watch, which the bride and her father had given him that morning.
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The couple wanted just the two of them to have a special moment together before saying their “I do’s” so they opted for a first look. “I knew I didn’t want to tap Ben on the shoulder. It just didn’t feel like us,” Jessica explains. So, they found a solution in their beautiful reception venue. “Our photographer Alex had the perfect idea that Ben would walk through this gorgeous standalone door at the back of the property and enter the courtyard to see Jess for the first time,” share the bride and groom. “It was a great idea and made for a dramatic moment.”
The couple continues, “Ben knew Jess was there when she yelled, ‘Marco.’ He opened the door wearing a ‘Polo’ and immediately cried. He looked so handsome, the scenery was beautiful, and Matthews was playing surround sound (as planned) while Dave’s song ‘#34’ was being watched from the patio by his friends. Jess told him he couldn’t turn her around because of the fullness of the overskirt of the dress. He drowned him. In our eyes, it couldn’t have happened. More of a complete picture.”
On the day of the wedding, our planners found a private corner in the courtyard, completely surrounded by palm trees—the perfect site to share our vows.
The couple soon made their way to walk down the aisle at the Santa Barbara Courthouse. “A classic landmark in our favorite city; the city we fell in love with,” notes the pair. “When we started planning our escape, court became an obvious choice. We had only one date available.