Jane Rudnick & Peter Leav

October 18, 2003 /// Santa Barbara, CA /// Photographed by Isabel Lawrence

Eclectic Elegance

Supporting the cliché that “opposites attract”, Jane Rudnick and Peter Leav’s relationship is a perfect blending of backgrounds with a spectacular result. Giving the couple, as well as their wedding, a unique attitude is the fact that Peter is from Long Island, New York, and Jane is a native Californian, from a Bakersfield ranching family. A whole “East Meets West” vibe became a theme of sorts for the couple as they created their wedding weekend. With guests hailing from both coasts, as well as from Spain, Denmark and England, Jane and Peter were blessed with a wonderful mix of people from all different backgrounds, which only added to celebration’s eclectic feel.

After a perfectly executed surprise marriage proposal at The Ritz- Carlton in Laguna Niguel, Jane and Peter wished to hold on to the feeling they experienced there, standing on a balcony overlooking the Pacific Ocean and dreaming of their wedding. After a perfectly executed surprise marriage proposal at The Ritz-Carlton in Laguna Niguel, Jane and Peter wished to hold on to the feeling they experienced there, standing on a balcony overlooking the Pacific Ocean and dreaming of their wedding.

The Four Seasons Biltmore in Santa Barbara proved to be their ideal site, offering an authentic California Mission-style look and spectacular coastline setting that is particularly beautiful in the fall.

Thrilled at the idea of a short engagement, Jane and Peter were able to secure a date in October, promising fabulous Indian-Summer conditions for their sunset ceremony. Since the California Coast was a first-time destination for many of the guests, the bride and groom wished to give them the fullest experience possible. The couple kicked off their wedding weekend with a true Western feel by holding the rehearsal dinner at The Carriage and Western Arts Museum in Santa Barbara. The casual fete was thrown in true southwestern style, complete with a Mariachi band during cocktails and country music courtesy of Jay Parson during dinner.

Peter and Jane exchanged vows at sunset the following evening, on the Biltmore’s La Pacifica Terrace, which was highlighted with an asymmetrically designed, peeling white American birch post Chuppah with branches of braided green curly willow topped with eucalyptus branches, white and green cymbidium orchids, white garden roses and fall toned hydrangeas. Jane carried a uniquely styled bouquet of all white phaelinopsis orchid blooms with ribbon-encased stems, and the maids of honor carried petite nosegays of concentric balls of fall toned, variegated green and rust hydrangeas with their stems wrapped in champagne colored wired satin. The couple felt that the natural beauty of Santa Barbara is so powerful that they should utilize and slightly enhance or compliment the environment rather than compete with, or overwhelm it. Thus, all of the flowers they chose were simple, in season and native to Santa Barbara. The warm, rustic elegance was accented by the use of numerous hurricane candles in varied heights to line the processional and encircle the Chuppah for the ceremony.

A four-course dinner reception followed the ceremony and was held in the ballroom adjacent to the terrace. Fitting the theme and the locale, the reception was a casually elegant feasting celebration that included the Biltmore’s regionally-inspired specialties such as Maine lobster and sweet corn soup, frisee and organic greens salad, grilled medallion or prime beef with sweet corn brioche crust, and a trio of sorbets with a berry compote. Adding a real charm to the evening was the wedding cake, which was actually a tower of white buttercream-frosted cupcakes, interlaced with orchids and arranged to form a traditional wedding cake shape. To the guests’ delight, a creative floor plan allowed them to dine either at one of three large feasting tables or at one of six rectangular tables situated in the center. This layout complemented the warm, family-oriented atmosphere and was also conducive to lively dinner conversation. Tying in with the décor of the ceremony, the dinner tables were adorned with runner treatments of eucalyptus foliage, eucalyptus seeds and seed pods, and vase collections of garden roses and hydrangeas, accented by mottled amber column candles. Hurricanes in various heights again added glowing candlelight.

The James Gang Band kept the dance floor packed until nearly midnight, when the newlyweds bade farewell to their friends and family. Jane and Peter’s wedding will surely stand out in their guest’s minds as a truly unique blend of their individual personalities as well as the spirit of their new life together. All will fondly look back upon a glorious October weekend that united two families from different Coasts.

Aimee Manis