As owner of The White Dress Bridal Salon, Marlis Porter has built her career helping other brides attain the wedding of their dreams. After meeting her very own “prince,” John Fyke, the time came for Marlis to put her professional expertise to the ultimate test by planning a fairy tale scene of her very own, with a Cinderella-themed fall wedding at the swank Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara, California.

The reception, which was based on shades of terracotta, absolutely glowed in amber colored lighting and flickering candlelight. With such a stunning canvas to start with, Bacara was magically transformed, as if straight from the pages of Cinderella. Marlis and John embellished the lush site with such whimsical creations as candleholders and centerpieces made of white pumpkins and filled with tawny fall colors. In fact, white pumpkins were everywhere, thanks to several of the bride’s very close friends who made sure that her fantasy was fulfilled. Marlis admits that though she believed she could manage the entire wedding on her own, she realized that the great number of details involved in carrying out the Cinderella themed reception would require some help. When the wedding was approaching and there was a shortage of pumpkins, Marlis’ dear friends rose to the occasion and gathered all of the many candles, vases, and pumpkins needed to create the look, even rushing out at the very last minute to gather more and more pumpkins!

With the perk of having hundreds of top designer gowns to choose from, Marlis lived out every little girl’s dream, by selecting not just one but three incredible couture gowns to wear for her wedding celebration: one dress for the rehearsal dinner at Bacara’s Miro Cellar, an elegant formal gown for the ceremony, and yet another amazing creation for the reception.

Marlis and John were married on Bacara’s Presidential Lawn, in an early evening ceremony witnessed by 170 guests. True to the day’s theme, the service was heartfelt and filled with deeply sentimental moments. Marlis was escorted down the aisle by her mother, and a great deal of reverance was paid to the passing of her beloved father. In fact, as the reverend said “We hope that Marlis’ father is here with us today, a train was heard in the distance, and it loudly sounded its horn. At that moment, it was clear to everyone that her dad really was there in spirit. For his part, John added quite a memorable moment to the event when his hand-written vows, entitled “The Girl Who Won My Heart” received a standing ovation!

The formal reception was held in The Rotunda Room and featured a seated dinner followed by an evening of dancing and fun. The menu included filet mignon, fresh Bacara-grown vegetables, and the unbelievably charming wedding cake, which was a vine-covered carrot cake perfectly befitting the magical theme.

At the end of the magnificent event, guests took home wedding favors of scented candles by Illume, bearing different words, such as Love, Desire, Thankfulness and Protection. The thoughtful mementos symbolized the sanctity of marriage and helped preserve the spirit of a day spent in a real life fairy tale.