Whitney Hardin & Tim Lopez

August 21, 2004 /// Santa Barbara, CA /// Photographed by Stephanie Hogue

Muy Romantico

When thirteen-year old Whitney Hardin mustered up her courage and introduced herself to sixteen-year old Tim Lopez at a concert in 1997, she possessed a young teen’s hope that the handsome older guy might someday become her boyfriend. Seven years later, in a room he covered with flowers at the Bacara Resort and Spa, Tim became much more than that when he asked Whitney to be his wife.

Planning her wedding was especially convenient for Whitney, since both she and her mother-in-law, Colette Lopez, are coordinators with La Fete Weddings. Guided by her firsthand knowledge of their work, Whitney chose vendors based as much upon their energy and creativity as their services and reputations. There were still surprises during the planning stages, even for a seasoned professional. Whitney and Tim found that designing their wedding was a unique and wonderful way to grow even closer as a couple and that the process was rendered all the more satisfying because they were making decisions as a team. They also saw this new closeness extend to their families and friends.

Whitney is a staunch advocate of early preparation and planning, which allowed her and Tim the time to relax and revel in their pre-wedding parties. Even on her wedding day, Whitney was ready half an hour early, although she admits she had plenty of help from her eleven bridesmaids.

The Hilltop Farm was chosen as their event location to take advantage of its views of the Santa Barbara landscape, encompassing both the mountains and the Pacific Ocean. They incorporated into their color scheme bright pinks and oranges, the colors of a coastal sunset, along with verdant green and chocolate brown. The use of fresh citrus fruits such as limes and blood oranges brought similar natural and local tones to the floral arrangements.

Since Whitney and Tim both grew up in Santa Barbara and have much affection for their hometown, they let the city’s distinctive Spanish overtones suffuse their wedding details. Funky vintage postcards depicting historical sites and events like the Courthouse, El Paseo, Fiesta, and Old Spanish Days were utilized as invitations, escort cards and table numbers. Spanish guitarists provided the ceremony’s musical accompaniment and for their first dance, Whitney and Tim performed a merengue to “Beast of Burden” by the Rolling Stones. Guests partook of both a Spanish beer bar and a margarita bar. Whitney made sure to schedule her wedding just one week after her 21st birthday so she could join in, as well. The Spanish theme was carried over to the elaborate dessert bar where churros were offered alongside cotton candy, crème brulee, chocolate dipped fruit, caramel corn and rock candy.

Music is a vital component of Whitney and Tim’s life. Tim plays in a band, the Plain White Ts, and he utilized his musical skills to create a symbolic and heartfelt contribution to his wedding celebration. Completely unbeknownst to Whitney, Tim had written her a song, and instead of a traditional toast by a groom to his bride, he performed the song for her for the first time while surrounded by their family and wedding guests. It is moments like these that make a wedding truly personal and memorable, and Whitney admits everyone who witnessed it was as moved as she. It is easy in these cynical times to question happy endings. Whitney Hardin and Tim Lopez are proof positive that young love can be true love, and that what began as a teenager’s youthful aspiration of romance is now a married couple’s grown-up reality of marriage and family.

Rebekah Hirschler