Exclusive: Marielle Scott & Ryan Bergara’s Colorful Santa Barbara Wedding
Actress Marielle Scott and host Ryan Bergara met the good ol’ fashioned way—on a dating app. “We met Wednesday, September 26, 2018 for our first date after matching on Hinge,” shares the Los Angeles-based couple. “Our first date was at the now defunct, Lono Tiki Bar on Hollywood Blvd. It was Ryan’s favorite tiki bar—he loves tiki bars—and Mari was pleasantly surprised by the chill vibes (and Ryan).”
That first date led to many more, and by April 2021, Ryan decided to make it official and propose. “We got engaged on April 25th, 2021 at Underwood Family Farms. Ryan proposed in a strawberry field with a fake strawberry ring box that he made with his dad, in order to preserve (no pun intended) the surprise until the last moment,” they recall. “Both of our immediate families were at the farm with us.”
That sweet start to their engagement tied their way into their wedding plans, with tons of pink florals, rose-colored wedding party outfits, and even strawberry escort cards. “We decided to go with colors that evoked happiness and summer,” explains Mari. “The pinks and gold brought a sense of play that is really important to Ryan and I. We both love the summer and being outside so bringing that into the vision was very important to us.”
As for the location? The California couple decided on a destination that was close to home—The Ritz Carlton Bacara in Santa Barbara. “We both love Spanish-style hotels and the beach. We just love coastal vibes, and getting married overlooking the ocean was as amazing as we’d hoped. Also, we were able to have an afterparty on-site until 1:30 AM to keep the party going!”
The creative duo tapped planner Natalie Good, owner and founder of A Good Affair, to bring their vision to life. “It was definitely an adjustment to tackle a wedding of this scale,” shares Mari. “I had never even attempted something like this, but Natalie and her team (Ellie, Maddy, and many others) made it incredibly easy and seamless. They guided me through the entire process and created a plan month to month of what we needed to accomplish as well as guided me through the entire weekend without a hitch. Natalie really is a true artist as well as the most organized person I have ever met.” She adds, “Sorry Ryan! He’s organized but AGA is another level.”
With the help of their amazing team, on July 30, 2022, Mari and Ryan had 205 guests come together in Santa Barbara for “a summer festival full of color and love and light,” they say. “And Taco Bell.” Read ahead to see the stunning wedding, planned by A Good Affair and photographed by Jana Williams Photography.
For his wedding day look, Ryan donned a white tuxedo from Indochino, a tux shirt from Zegna, and Nordstroms patent black dress shoes. “I wore a black bowtie from Top Man, which took FOREVER to tie,” says the groom. “In fact, I think I’m sweating in some of the getting ready pictures because I was getting so frustrated and none of my groomsmen could figure it out either (Youtube how-tos for the win).” He accented the look with black studs and cufflinks he found on Amazon. “I wanted to let the suit speak for itself with little hints of black in the bowtie, studs, and shoes,” he shares.
To look his best as he walked down the aisle, Ryan admits he finally made his foray into skincare. “I began using Jack Black and CeraVe as part of a skincare routine about a couple months ago, actually! Figured I should start getting into the habit of that. Before that, I literally used to put only water on my face,” he admits. “My caveman ways are a relic of the past.” The groom spritzed on a YSL cologne that Mari gave him for Christmas as his final touch. “To this day it’s the only cologne I wear, which isn’t often, so hopefully it lasts until they put me in the dirt.”
Ryan’s wedding party looked dapper (and on palette) in rose shawl collared suits from The Black Tux.
Mari shared that picking out her stunning corset gown by Galia Lahav was the “easiest decision I have ever made.” She continues, “I worked with Gabrielle, a top designer at Kinsley James Bridal Salon, who made the experience of picking my dress dream like! It was my favorite dress I have ever put on.”
For her wedding day beauty, Mari wanted to have “an elevated version of my everyday look.” She embraced her curls, and had her makeup artist focus on her eyes. To prep her skin, the bride got monthly facials at RAYA SALON in West Hollywood, and made sure to wear sunscreen daily. “It’s so important to take care of your skin and treat it with love and respect,” she adds.
The bride finished her look with diamond earrings borrowed from her mother and a Galia Lahav veil. She also donned Forever Soles heels with a charming bow finish for the ceremony.
While the bride didn’t do a first look with her groom, she did elicit a lot of excitement when her wedding party saw her gown for the first time. Pastel shades of pinks and purples took the spotlight amongst the wedding party, who wore Birdy Grey and The Black Tux.
Mari’s nephews may have been the cutest pair that made their way down the aisle as day’s flower boy and ring bearer. They each wore matching tan J.Crew suits and pink Ralph Lauren shirts.
The ceremony was set outside with a stunning view of the water. “We chose the ocean lawn at the Bacara because it was a circle and symbolized that our community is everything to us. We love our friends and family and having them in a circle seemed perfect,” explains the couple. “We wanted to work with the space and embrace the incredible location.” Florals lined the aisle and a low arrangement at the altar helped highlight the view. “The flowers were our favorite part so that was the central focus,” they share.
Ryan and the wedding party made their way down the aisle to ‘Sunflower’ by Post Malone. “When we first started dating, the song was constantly playing around us—in our cars, during the Spiderman movie, etc. So, despite not being the most romantic song, it’s basically associated with that really romantic time of falling in love in our minds,” share the couple. “We decided to have an instrumental version of it during the processional.”
The moment I saw her, I literally lost my breath and audibly gasped.
Mari made her way to her groom accompanied by her father to the song “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Kina Grannis. “Ryan mentioned one night it played in his car as he was driving over, and it was the first time he pictured me in a wedding dress,” she says. “Seeing each other for the first time at the altar was the most incredible moment of my life.” Ryan adds, “The moment I saw her, I literally lost my breath and audibly gasped. One of the most amazing moments of my life. She looked even more pretty than in my imagination.”
The ceremony began with a ring warming, where wedding bands are passed among the members of the wedding party. “Our friends have been our best friends for decades and they are part of the reason we are together and have the kind of relationship that we have. It was important to celebrate them during the ceremony and share our love with them in particular,” share the bride and groom. “They are the greatest gift to our lives, as individuals and as a couple.”
Another notable figure during the wedding was Mari’s 87-year-old Grandma Bunny, who officiated the ceremony. “Halfway through, she stopped and asked, ‘Where are the rings?’ She also didn’t realize her mic was on during the vows and kept audibly saying ‘aww,’” says Mari. “We loved it. It made the ceremony even better and more personal. She’s a gem.”
The couple also recited their own vows. “Having that personal touch was everything to us. Ryan told the story of seeing me for the first time on our first date and I shared all the little small details that have molded our relationship,” shares Mari.
After saying “I do,” the Bergaras recessed to the cheers as the original version of “Sunflower” played.
The newlyweds soon returned to the altar to take photos and celebrate with friends. “They were incredible,” the duo says of their wedding party.
“We also made a decision to give our phones to our friends which helped us stay calm and in the moment all weekend,” the couple adds.
Our wedding was just as much about our community as it was about our love story.
The reception décor was inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream with dreamy twinkle lights and touches of gold throughout the tablescapes. “We also decided to do a mix of farm tables as well as circles,” note the couple. “Our wedding was just as much about our community as it was about our love story. Every single person was equally important and that displayed in our design.”
As a nod to their engagement, “Natalie and the AGA staff made this incredible berry escort card wall for guests to take to their tables with each of their own individual strawberry boxes,” shares Mari.
While guests enjoyed cocktail hour, the couple had a private look at the reception space, which was one of their favorite moments of the day. One treat was a handmade pair of doors created by Mari’s dad. “Honestly, I am not the most crafty. But my Dad, Steve, is incredible. He built these gorgeous handmade doors for our reception with our names carved on the front, that our guests walked through to reveal the reception area, which was hidden by a circular hedge already existing at the Bacara.”
After guests took their seats, Mari and Ryan made their grand entrance through the handcrafted doors and took center stage as “May I Have This Dance” by Chance The Rapper played.
After their first turn about the dance floor, Mari danced with her dad to “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life” by Stevie Wonder, and Ryan and his mom swayed to “I’ll Be There” by The Jackson 5.
Just as the sun was about to set, Mari and Ryan stole away to snap some stunning portraits with their photographer Jana Williams.
“For the reception, both Ryan and I were gifted custom shoes from a sneaker customizer Blake Barash that’s a friend of Ryan’s. They were ‘strawberry milk and cream’ themed and featured a little strawberry emoji on the back heel,” says Mari. “Mine had ribbon laces and Ryan’s had thick rope laces.” The matching shoes were the perfect fit to take on the rest of the evening’s festivities.
As the party got going, belly dancer Cris Basimah, and a world class drummer, Gamal Gomma, came out for a special performance. “Ryan and I both come from multicultural backgrounds. Ryan is Japanese, Mexican, with a sprinkle of Filipino. I’m Egyptian and Russian with a sprinkle of fun. So choosing multicultural vendors in key positions was important to us, and they were the best,” says Mari. “Ones that come to mind are our videographers, florist, hair and makeup, DJs, belly dancer and drummer, dress designer, bridal stylist, and many more!”
Later in the night, the couple cut into a chic monochromatic red velvet cake adorned with an elegant bow.
The reception ended with the newlywed’s favorite moment of the day. “We had a last song scheduled, ‘Yellow’ by Coldplay, that we originally thought would be great for all the couples to have a nice moment to end the night,” they share. “But after dancing with each other for a little, we looked up and realized that all of our friends and family had spontaneously held hands and created a giant circle around us. We literally ended the night dancing with each other surrounded by love, and we’ll never forget it.”
After the show is the after party…and Mari and Ryan’s featured a Taco Bell truck for a late-night snack. Another fun touch? “My brother is a world class DJ and did not hold back while spinning for us at the after party,” shares the bride. “It was legendary.” Next up for the happy couple? A well-deserved trip to Bora Bora to relax and celebrate their love.