Darcy Hite and Jeff Hopkins agree: The world stopped the moment they were introduced. They met through mutual friends, and their connection was instantaneous. Following a romantic Valentine’s Day weekend engagement, the couple went to work planning a wedding that would take place just eight months down the road.

It was the bride’s dream to marry in charming Montecito, California, so when the city’s popular Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church had a cancellation in late October the couple pounced on the opportunity. With the ceremony location solidified, the nearby Four Seasons Resort Santa Barbara was the perfect place for the chic reception that Darcy and Jeff planned from their hearts.

The pair worked together to organize the event, but they were joined every step of the way by their loving families and a circle of helpful bridesmaids. In addition to helping Darcy navigate the more lighthearted decisions, her friends and loved ones provided her with encouragement during a time Darcy had always imagined she would be sharing with her mother. Sadly, Mrs. Hite had passed away a few years before the wedding, and her absence was especially apparent during the couple’s engagement. “Planning the entire wedding without my mother was extremely difficult,” recalls the bride. “Without my father and Jeff’s parents, none of it would have been possible. They allowed us the freedom and support we needed to plan our special day,” credits Darcy.

But in keeping with what her mother would have wanted for them, Darcy and Jeff made sure the day was filled with happy details, starting with a lively color palette of turquoise, chocolate brown, and white, accented by exotic peacock feathers and ostrich plumes. On each table, calla lilies, orchids, and roses were grouped in tall vases filled with sea glass and in low boxes upholstered in brown satin and turquoise ribbon. Surrounded by hurricane and votive candles, as well as napkins fastened with brown silk and a single peacock feather, the tablescapes lent a thoroughly modern and whimsical air to the otherwise traditional ballroom.

The couple chose an equally inventive menu that featured dishes like butternut squash soup with cinnamon cream and truffle polenta inspired by the autumn season. Even the wedding cake––a five-tiered Tiffany blue and chocolate brown creation––and the custom candy bar displaying confections in vintage style French jars were perfectly harmonized with the décor. The turquoise, brown, and white M&M candies were personalized, as were the striped bags for guests to carry their treats home.

But with all the carefully coordinated details, the most impressive parts of the wedding were those that were heard, not seen. Darcy and Jeff, as well as the bride’s brother and father all took turns speaking about their deep appreciation for the day at hand, their hopes for the future, and of course, the significance of the past. “Our wedding day was dedicated in honor of my mother,” explains Darcy. “All of the speeches were so special and beautiful, and they really set the mood for the evening.”

And as Darcy and Jeff close in on their first wedding anniversary, they will have even more to celebrate: The newlyweds are expecting their first child in September.