Alessandra Knight was visiting a friend in San Francisco when she met Louis Breuner in February of 2018. Louis was working for KPMG International and Alessandra was at game design studio Dots in New York City at the time. (Now, she’s the CEO and cofounder of the remote-meeting startup Katch, and he leads a financial reporting team for a medical device company in Santa Barbara, where they live.)
As fate would have it, Alessandra had recently downloaded Bumble before she touched down at SFO. She hadn’t planned on meeting someone while visiting California—the stress of a long-distance relationship was not something she was looking to sign up for—but she was curious as to how the profiles of people on the West Coast might differ from those on the East. “You’d be surprised by how different they are!” she says.
While perusing the app, she noted that Louis had extended time on her profile. She thought this would be a good chance for her to practice one-liners, so the two started messaging. They ended up texting, then deciding to meet up for a quick coffee the next day. Thirty minutes turned into three hours, and they decided to stay in touch until one of them could make a trip to either coast. Shortly after, they started a long-distance relationship, which lasted until Alessandra officially moved to Santa Barbara in January of 2020.
Louis proposed to Alessandra on Christmas morning in 2019 at her family’s home after a chilly walk through her childhood neighborhood in Norwalk, Connecticut, and the two started planning their wedding for November 20, 2020. “Like many, we didn’t know what was going to happen when the pandemic hit,” Alessandra says. “We had sent out our save the dates in April 2020, thinking by November we would be okay, but we were sorely mistaken. We made the decision to postpone the wedding a year later to the day. The health and safety of our friends, family, and the vendors involved was extremely important to us, so we made the decision to require vaccines of anyone attending as well.”
Deciding where the wedding was going to take place was another challenge, especially with friends and family on both coasts. Ultimately, they chose Dos Pueblos Orchid Farm in Santa Barbara because many friends and family hadn’t yet visited, and they wanted to invite everyone to celebrate in their new hometown. They worked with Michelle Norwood to plan it all. “We were incredibly fortunate to have Michelle in our corner guiding us along the way with checklists to ensure we were staying on track,” Alessandra says. “From the beginning, we wanted everything to be natural and earthy and highlight the beauty of the venue without going overboard.”
Alessandra has always loved fashion—especially dresses—and as soon as she knew Louis was the one, she started dreaming of what she would wear if and when they got married. She wanted to wear something that felt unique but could potentially be reworn on another occasion. A close friend of hers introduced her to Sarah Abbasi, designer of the bridal brand Sahroo, and she immediately fell in love with their silhouettes.
Because of this, Alessandra never had to go to a bridal store to try on traditional gowns. Instead, she went to the Sahroo showroom with her mom one afternoon in December and tried on the entire line. “I loved everything, but the combination of the flared trousers, Victoria crop top, and Victoria caftan in ivory took the breath out of all of us,” Alessandra says. “Looking in the mirror, we all nodded our heads, and we were like, ‘This is it!’ ”
She paired the look with shoes from Schutz, heirloom pearls borrowed from her mom, diamond earrings from her grandmother-in-law, and an OM-NYC clutch gifted from a high school friend. “I did things a bit out of the ordinary,” Alessandra says. “There was no hair or makeup for the entire bridal party, but I still wanted to make the morning fun, so I organized a ‘Fun Run’ in downtown Santa Barbara for anyone who was attending the wedding. I gifted my bridesmaids Outdoor Voices running dresses so we could all wear something fun and matching. It was a great way to release some anxiety the morning of the wedding.”
On the morning of the wedding, all the girls got ready at Alessandra’s house. “Our garden was flourishing, and it was the perfect day,” she says. “We did face masks and sat outside listening to the birds, having our own little spa morning. A friend of mine in town also came by to straighten and braid my hair.” Alessandra doesn’t normally wear makeup so she opted for a very natural look. “I went with my normal routine of just olive oil,” she says.
Bridesmaids each picked a unique style to wear. “I wanted them to wear dresses they felt comfortable in and that represented them,” Alessandra says. “I shared pictures of the venue and said pick what you’d like. Some may have preferred more guidance, but they each looked beautiful, and I’m glad they wore something they loved as well.”
Louis wore a Calvin Klein tuxedo, and the groomsmen wore black suits with dark green ties that had different succulents on them. Blue Blossom, a local flower shop that specializes in dried flowers, did the bouquets and boutonnières. “I hand-picked each bouquet, and we matched them to the dresses when they arrived,” Alessandra says. “I love dried flowers, and it was a keepsake each of the bridesmaids and groomsmen got to keep.”
The ceremony started an hour before sunset and overlooked a picturesque view of the Central Coast of California with the ocean on one side and mountains on the other. Alessandra’s cousin played the saxophone while guests waited for the service to begin. “When we processed down the aisle, the saxophone mixed with the wind and sound of waves was magical, and my dad really encouraged me to pause to just take it all in,” Alessandra remembers. “I’m so grateful for that.”
“The moment was so surreal considering we had to wait two years after the engagement to get married,” Alessandra says. “I get emotional thinking about it, but we felt the gravity of the moment. We were getting the chance to take this huge step together with everyone we loved surrounding us.”
After the ceremony, the newlyweds took photos and enjoyed the sunset along the cliffs before heading into cocktail hour in the greenhouse. “Families and friends we’ve known for ages were celebrating us, and it made us so happy,” Alessandra remembers. “Some people had known each other for years and others were just meeting, but everyone was intermingling and having a wonderful time.”
The reception kicked off with father-daughter and mother-son dances in front of a large magnolia tree that was illuminated behind the dance floor. Then, Alessandra’s dad started his father-of-the-bride speech with a mindful meditation. “It’s hard to put into words what was felt, but it was a powerful moment,” Alessandra says. “We were also showered with marriage tips from friends and family.”
After the speeches, dinner was served from a wood-fired oven via Lucca’s Pizza Truck, which paired well with the down-to-earth-style of the evening. “There were multiple different wood-fire pizza options ranging from vegan and gluten free to pepperoni. Something to cater to all dietary needs,” Alessandra says. “Keeping the food simple and casual was great. There was something for everyone.”
Now, the couple just reflects on how lucky they feel to have been able to celebrate this way. “The love we felt that day and still feel is so special,” Alessandra says. “I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Now, we’re living vicariously through the pictures and the memories we have. It was such a magnificent and special day.”
Originally published in Vogue.com.