“Our story started with a life changing ‘swipe right’ on The League,” Stephanie Michelle Horner explains of how she met Charles Stephen Covington Jr. After their first date in Central Park, the cab ride home revealed that they lived a block away from each other. And after a month, she half-jokingly invited him to a wedding in Santa Barbara, not expecting him to fly across the country, but he made the trip and met her parents. “The highlight of the trip was Chase renting a yellow convertible that we drove down the Pacific Coast Highway to L.A. while blasting Taylor Swift. It wasn’t until later that Chase would admit that trip was when he started to fall in love with me,” she says. Three years of dating later, and he proposed in Lake Como after a spa day at the Grand Hotel Tremezzo.
“To be frank, Chase was not involved in any of the [wedding] planning—his only request was a band!” Stephanie jokes. Because it was the place where their love story began and she grew up there, Santa Barbara was the only location considered for the big day. After discovering that private properties for rent in the area were limited, her father suggested the new oceanfront Mirmar Beach Rosewood Hotel in Montecito that was still under construction. The hotel coordinator sent her a video of what the hotel would eventually look like—an idyllic summer retreat with East Coast meets West Coast vibes. “We were the second couple to book the hotel as a wedding venue before it was even built,” Stephanie says.
To help plan their #StephWonTheChase wedding weekend, they hired Kelly and Cassidy from Event of the Season. As for aesthetic, they let the pristinely decorated hotel and its setting, between the mountains and Pacific ocean, be the main attraction. Decor was kept minimal with lots of whites and neutrals with pops of blue, pink, and green. Guests were flying in from Peru, England, the South, and the East Coast, and the couple wanted to give them a classic Southern California wedding. “We wanted to show them the Santa Barbara that we fell in love with and where we started our love story,” Stephanie says.
When dress shopping, Stephanie was surprised by how hard it was for her to find a non-traditional-looking gown. “My muse was Carolyn Bessette,” she explains. At Vera Wang, the search ended with the help of the senior vice president of bridal, Erica Arkin, and her team. They landed on a sheath with a deep-V and removable bow on the shoulder. She completed the look with a pair of Aquazzura classic white pumps, that she found in Milan during the trip of her engagement. For beauty, the bride turned to Meghan Markle’s wedding look for inspiration—“a subtle smoky eye, dewy face with slightly pink cheeks and lips.”
Chase wore an off-white dinner jacket with black tuxedo pants from Suit Supply. His bride-to-be gifted him midnight blue Stubbs & Wootton slippers and vintage silver mother-of-pearl cufflinks, which he also donned. Bridesmaids got ready together in gifted blue and white J. Crew pajamas and changed into ink blue slip dresses by Bec + Bridge. As another thank you from Stephanie, they were also given silver Jenny Packham pearl drop earrings.
On Sunday, June 30th, everyone gathered at the blush pink, Spanish colonial-style Our Lady of Mount Carmel church for the Catholic ceremony. The ring bearers, dressed in Pepa & Co. tops and shorts, with the flower girl fulfilled their duties perfectly before the bride and her brother walked down the aisle to a slow, dreamy instrumental version of “Moon River,” which was also Chase’s grandparents’ song. Their good family friend, Father John, hosted a bilingual mass in Spanish and English and did an excellent job of commemorating the bride’s father. “My father passed away three months before our wedding, so I knew it was going to be emotional for everyone,” Stephanie says. After reading their own vows and being pronounced husband and wife, the couple exited to cheers and departed for the cocktail hour in a white Rolls-Royce Ghost.
Back at the Rosewood Miramar Beach’s great lawn overlooking the Pacific, guests were greeted with signature cocktails: “Princess Hornz Pisco” (to honor the mother-of-the-bride’s Peruvian family) and “Chuck’s Old Fashioned.” Mini tacos with tequila shots were the stars of the show before the al-fresco dinner. At their seats, guests were each given a menu with their name on it and a peony. “At the bottom of each menu was a note that said in lieu of wedding favors, we decided to donate to a cancer charity (Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation) in memory of the late Simon Horner,” Stephanie explains.
During the seated dinner reception, the bride closed out speeches, honoring her father for leading their hotel choice and thanking the Covingtons “for their delicious Southern accents, which my British side of the family found fascinating.” After cutting the honey-lavender-blueberry wedding cake, dancing moved inside the ballroom, decorated with custom Baccarat crystal chandeliers. To move more freely, Stephanie changed into a Pamella Roland white sequin mini dress with a feathered bottom and returned to the party.
The band was an absolute hit, and as proof, one groomsman split his pants late in the night. The newlyweds had their first dance to the original French version of “La Vie En Rose” by Edith Piaf—the one in Sabrina. “Audrey Hepburn was an icon of mine growing up, so you can see her inspiration came to life in our wedding,” Stephanie says.
Near the end of the night, the bride and groom, along with her Peruvian cousins, announced La Hora Loca on stage. An hour of Spanish music commenced, and Venetian-style masks were passed around. To close out the night, one of the bridesmaids, Sydney, requested “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield, and they all got in a circle, with Chase and Stephanie’s mother in the middle, and sang at the top of their lungs. “This was an encore to an Uber ride in the Hamptons the summer before, where we nearly caused our driver to go deaf with our singing,” the bride explains.
Once the reception ended, the after-party started in the Study Room, a Polo Bar-esque spot. “Chase and I plopped ourselves on the outdoor couch, dirty martinis in hand, and looked around at all our friends and family—we were actually married!”