Sunday, May 19, 2019     Volume: 20, Issue: 11

Santa Maria Sun / Cover Story

The following article was posted on February 18th, 2019, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 19, Issue 50 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 19, Issue 50




Love at first sip

One woman serves up elegant boozy drinks at an affordable price at weddings or any event on the Central Coast


Weddings have so many details that are similar to puzzle pieces. Each play a big part in creating the picture-perfect day for a couple that’s ready to start the next chapter in their relationship.

Joslin works with the bride and groom to create signature drinks for their big day.

But ditch the flowers, cake, table settings, and seating charts. For Christina Joslin, it’s all about the booze. She’s the owner of Copper and Crystal, a bartending labor service.
The difference between her business and other bartending services is that she supplies the people, but her clients supply the booze. She said her services are more aligned with the DIY side of wedding planning.
“My clients can buy their own alcohol and make it as affordable as possible because aside from the venue, photographer, and coordinator, food and alcohol are pretty expensive,” Joslin said.
It’s a lower price point for the bride and groom because Joslin focuses on the number of guests and the kinds of cocktails the couple wants to be served. Based on those factors and, of course, the couples budget, she can make a grocery list for them to use when purchasing all the alcohol that’s needed.
In that process, Joslin works with the couple to come up with signature cocktails. She has a hidden page on her website that, after a couple contracts her, she gives them access to. It’s a list of different cocktails for them to get ideas from. But she really encourages them to come up with a twist on their favorite drink.
“We’ve done things with different flavors of Moscow mule. There’s obviously the standard mint but you can add in a raspberry or blueberry,” she said. “I always try to elevate it just a little bit.”

Copper and Crystal is unique because its goal is to serve up unique drinks at an affordable cost to the bride and groom.

Her bartending skills really come into play when she’s adding a bit of flair to make an ordinary cocktail special and personal. Joslin’s favorite cocktail is the tequila-based paloma. The drink is traditionally prepared by mixing tequila with grapefruit-flavored soda and serving it on the rocks with a lime wedge.
Joslin uses a grapefruit flavored La Croix with a small splash of grapefruit juice and a hint of lime.
A point she always likes to make when collaborating with couples on making cocktail concoctions is time.
“I think it’s important to have drinks that are fun and elevated, but I think it’s also important that they come out in a timely fashion,” she said. “I want to make sure that no one is waiting in line at a wedding, because we’ve all been there.”
The Copper and Crystal venture was something that Joslin ran with after bartending for a few of her friends’ weddings. In 2010, she was the project manager for a local solar installation company and had a side hustle as a bartender. She worked at the old Pappy McGregor’s location on Monterey Street in San Luis Obispo.

One of best parts of Joslin’s job is creating a bartending family that love to work with one other and interact with wedding attendees such as Luke Wills (pictured).

“I always had a second job; I’m kind of a workaholic,” Joslin said.
Just before Pappy McGregor’s closed their SLO location, Joslin was using her bartending skills for more than just the restaurant setting.
“The last couple of years of me being at Pappy’s, I had been asked quite a few times to bartend friends’ weddings and I realized how much fun it was,” she said.

If you’re looking for a vintage vibe for your wedding, Christina Joslin has the hookup to serve your booze from a retro vehicle.

The restaurant’s closure was the push Joslin needed to start a business she’s always wanted. Copper and Crystal began as a part-time partnership between Joslin and her friend, a fellow colleague at the solar company. But eventually Joslin realized she wanted to make this side business full-time. After an amicable split, she ventured out on her own in January 2018.
Joslin has flourished within the wedding industry, between getting her name out there and growing the number of clients she books. She not only credits her former partner, the wedding industry community, and the long hours she puts into her business, but the bartenders who have been with her from the start.
“I want my bartenders smiling, engaging in conversation, asking where attendees are from, when they got there, how they’re loving San Luis, and when the DJ or the band comes on, I want my bartenders dancing at the bar,” she said. “They’re creating an experience and a relationship, even if it’s only for one night.”
At the end of the day, Joslin is just happy she’s doing something that she loves with the people she loves. People are always happy at weddings, she said, they really are beautiful days.

Staff Writer Karen Garcia from New Times is sipping her mojito at


Goin’ to the chapel (government center?)

Local lovebirds share their experiences opting for city hall-style weddings


She wore a white dress with lace sleeves and off-white pumps. He wore a classic black tux, his hair parted and pushed to one side. Friends and family, also in their best clothes, watched and snapped photos as the nearly married couple recited their vows, hands clasped and eyes on each other.

Christine and Cody Fogh just after their wedding ceremony at the East Los Angeles Courthouse on May 10, 2002.

When they—Mario Meza and Sarahi Uribe—kissed to officially tie the knot on Feb. 7, 2019, applause, congratulations, and hugs were in order.

It was just like any other wedding ceremony, but this one was held at the Santa Barbara County Clerk-Recorder’s Office in the Betteravia Government Center.

It’s Santa Maria’s equivalent to having a wedding at city hall or the county courthouse, and it’s a cheaper, no-frills option that many local couples opt for when planning their big day. About 269 couples chose to have their weddings performed at the Betteravia Government Center in 2018, according to Deborah Sanchez, supervisor of the clerk-recorder’s Santa Maria office, and she said couples do it for a breadth of reasons.
For Mario and Sarahi, the choice was about religion. As devout Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mario said he and his now wife wanted to follow ceremonial guidelines set out by their denomination’s teachings. His experience with the county Clerk-Recorder’s Office, he said, was fantastic.

Christine (far left) and Cody (far right) and their three children pose in 2018. Cody said he and Christine are still very happily married.

At a price of $100 for a marriage license and $104 for the ceremony, the event was affordable overall. County employees helped with all the paperwork, which Mario said enabled him to focus on getting married.
“I’m nervous,” he said, just before the start of his wedding. “Nervous but happy.”
Santa Maria residents Cody and Christine Fogh had a different set of reasons when they were married at the East Los Angeles Courthouse in May 2002.
Christine was born and raised in Santa Maria, where she was living when she met Cody online. He was living in Los Angeles, he said, and after a few weeks of chatting virtually, they decided to meet halfway in Santa Barbara. It was the first time they’d met in person (now known as IRL), but Cody said that day they both “just knew.”
Two weeks later, Christine had found a job in LA and moved in with Cody.
A few months after that, Cody said one of those knowing moments happened again. They were playing Mario Kart, he said. He was Mario and she was Princess Peach.
“We looked at each other and were like, ‘Do you want to get married?’” Cody said.
They booked an appointment at the courthouse, and when the day came, they paid the fee, filled out the paperwork, got married, and went to get enchiladas and margaritas after.
“And that was basically our whole wedding day,” Cody said, laughing at the memory.
It was a quick and cheap ceremony. Cody remembers the whole thing costing about $50 at the time, which was perfect because he said they were barely scraping by in Los Angeles.
It was also just them—no friends, no family, and only a courthouse employee as a witness. Although it would have been difficult for their relatives to make it out in time for the wedding, Cody said he and Christine just didn’t think all the usual trappings of a ceremony were necessary.

“We didn’t feel we needed a big wedding to prove we love each other,” he said. “We thought our lives together over time would do that. And that’s been the case.”

Nearly 17 years and three kids later, Cody said he and Christine are still as happy as ever, and they’ve lived much of their lives like that wedding ceremony: with spontaneity and simplicity.

Several other locals shared their “city hall” wedding stories on the Sun’s Facebook page, too:

Sarahi Uribe and Mario Meza kiss after reciting their wedding vows in February 2019 at the Betteravia Government Center in Santa Maria.

John Smith said he and his wife were married at Santa Maria City Hall in 1985. They were raising five kids at the time and a conventional wedding ceremony was out of the question.
Orcutt resident Michelle Ruiz said she and her husband were married at a courthouse in Solano County because they were both on active military duty. They now have four children and “one crazy schnauzer.”
Jewels Martinez and her husband snuck off to get officially married in 2008 before their formal wedding ceremony with friends and family in 2009. They were living together at the time and wanted to be married while cohabitating. It’s been 11 years since and they’re still going strong, and they never told anyone about the pre-wedding—until now.
Whatever the reasons couples have for getting married in a county office, Chief Deputy Clerk-Recorder Melinda Greene said she’s glad they do it.
“I think their joy is infectious,” Greene said. “We are very lucky to be front row to pure joy every day, and we don’t forget that.”

Staff Writer Kasey Bubnash can be reached at



Stop and smell the succulents?

Non-traditional floral decorations are on the rise 


If you’re looking to catch the bouquet at the next Central Coast wedding you attend, don’t be surprised if instead of white and pink roses, you end up with a fist full of succulents, moss, or even artichokes.

Brides and grooms are increasingly eschewing customary floral decorations in favor of using non-traditional materials for wedding centerpieces and bouquets.

As an increasing number of brides and grooms plan weddings that are more unique and reflect their personalities, they are opting to use non-traditional materials in the floral arrangements, centerpieces, and bouquets used to decorate the venue for their special day.
“A lot of people are really trying to do something different,” said Renae Brubaker, owner of Renae’s Bouquet in Santa Ynez. “I love it. It’s really elevating the whole industry.”
Brubaker, who has has been working in the floral design industry for more than 20 years, said she works with a wide range of non-traditional materials to decorate weddings. One of the most popular non-traditional materials she uses are succulents—vibrant, thick, and fleshy plants that can withstand arid conditions and are native to the Central Coast. Succulents can be used along with other plants that don’t need soil to create beautiful “air plant” arrangements, Brubaker said.
“Especially in the summer, when it gets hot, we do a lot of air plants hanging from arches, or even in bouquets,” she said.
Wedding and event planner Jessie Chavez also said succulents, particularly succulent centerpieces, have been popular at weddings recently.
“Guests can take them home at the end. It’s a cool souvenir for them,” Chavez wrote in an email to the Sun. “They last a lot longer than taking home normal flowers from a wedding! People keep them for months!”
But succulents aren’t the only out-of-the box materials Brubaker has used to decorate a wedding. She said she has used moss, olive branches, and even vibrant colored kale plants and red cabbage.
“We did one wedding last season where we used citrus, like lemons, and kumquats,” she said.
Brubaker said that many non-traditional floral decorations complement popular wedding venues in the Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez areas, many of which are ranches and wineries with a rustic vibe. They can reflect the personality of the groom and bride as well as the season. She recalled one October wedding with a bride from Texas where the table decorations were made up of white pumpkins and antlers.
“I love branching out and using different materials,” she said. “A lot of the designs are based on the bride’s personality. If they seem like they like thinking out of the box, I’ll make some suggestions.”
Increasingly, though, Brubaker said that brides and grooms are already coming in asking for something different. Over the years, she said more and more couples are asking for personalized and unique arrangements for their weddings.
That trend isn’t confined to Santa Barbara County either. According to an annual survey from Brides magazine, more couples are eschewing long-standing wedding traditions and conventions, and instead are opting for elements that are more individualized and meaningful.
“Instead of partaking in old-fashioned traditions, the study showed that couples are introducing more customization into their big days,” the results of the 2018 study stated.

New Times Staff Writer Chris McGuinness can be reached at Kasey Bubnash contributed to this story.



Staying sentimental

Creations to celebrate your big day long after saying ‘I do’


Flowers? Check! Dress? Check! Cake? Check! Besides a venue, some invitations, and a few (OK, many) other details, I’d say we have ourselves the makings of a wedding! While the actual day-of inevitably flies by in a flash, every wedded couple wants special reminders of their bond beyond the rings. Dusting off the wedding album once a year is great, but with some clever ideas, experts who know the peaks and pitfalls, and plenty of opportunity to add your own flair, there isn’t just one right way to remember your big day.

Teresa Leigh transformed a mother-of-the-bride’s outdated gown into a chic masterpiece.

Flowers create the subtle detail and backdrop to a picture-perfect day, but what to do with something already on its way to death when you want it to last a lifetime? Pressed botanical artist Sarah Presogna offers a beautiful solution with her framed creations. She sees the beauty of the medium for many reasons, and while she doesn’t hold it above other preservations, she does favor the method.
“The advantage of pressing the blooms is that they become a two-dimensional keepsake. When bouquets are preserved in 3-D, you need shelf space to display them, they need to be dusted often, and there is not usually a way to protect them from light damage,” Presogna said. “With flat pressed flowers, they become a piece of framed art on your walls.”
Many couples choose to include a wedding photo or vows, and even private jokes get incorporated. One thing she wants all those interested in having their flowers pressed to know: Plan ahead!
“If you start looking into it after your wedding, you have very limited time to get them to the artist in the best shape. I will often get emails from brides who want to preserve their flowers but got married last week, or are just returning from their honeymoon. By then, it’s too late to press them,” Presogna said.
A little planning is well worth it for an incredible and delicate reminder of your beautiful day.
Asked what it is she loves the most about her unique line of work, Presogna said: “The thing I love more than anything is that I’m able to take these incredibly important symbols of someone’s wedding day and let them shine for a lifetime. I know the cost that goes into creating the perfect wedding, not just financially but emotionally as well. I was married myself last year, and I did not understand how much of yourself you put out there to organize a wedding until I went through the process. There are all these decisions you make from colors to dresses to decorations and then, poof, it’s all over. By saving these flowers and preserving them, you can at least hold on to one of those decisions. You get to enjoy the flowers longer than the appetizers, than the table cloths, than the DJ. And I’m honored each and every time a bride trusts me with saving one of those decisions.”

Wear it more than once

While there are plenty of options if you simply want to preserve your wedding gown as is (aka—in a fancy box in the back of your closet), there are more creative ways to reuse the dress and give it a second chance to be a star. Teresa Leigh of T.Leigh Couture recommends opting for several separates instead of one new piece.
“Out of the average dress I could get a combination of two things—a top, a skirt, shorty dressy shorts, a jacket, and a clutch—depending on how much fabric I had.”
The reasoning behind her advice is both practical and sentimental: “Wear it in separates until it wears out, making the most of what you have for yourself, re-invent it for a vow renewal for you and your honey, or pass it down to a daughter, niece, or loved one and give her the opportunity to re-invent it—before-and-after pics are wonderful!”

Ecobata owner Sarah Presogna creates one-of-a-kind artwork by combining beautifully pressed pieces from her client’s wedding bouquet and other sentiments such as photos, vows, and song lyrics. Her work is available through Etsy.

Leigh is no stranger to reinvention, tasked by an indecisive bride to revamp her mother’s straight-from-the-’80s wedding gown complete with over-the-top shoulder poof and 10-inch ruffles, she finally got to the heart of the matter—the bride really just wasn’t a dress wearer, so things she didn’t like came to mind much faster than those she did.
“I had a heart-to-heart with her, away from mom and friends and sisters,” Leigh said. “I asked, ‘What do you like clothes to feel like? What is the aesthetic you are going for? Do you like wearing things with movement or prefer the stiffness of corset?’”
Ultimately, by eliminating what the bride didn’t like, the designer was able to create a picture of what she would look like on her big day—a scoop neck, sleeveless A-line with satin detailing at the neck and waistline. Not even a hint of the ’80s was left, but the bride still got to enjoy the sentiment of wearing her mom’s dress on her big day. Whether building a dress from the top down, reinventing an heirloom, or having your gown turned into something else, Leigh reminds brides that these things take time.
“I need a month minimum to alter a dress, and at least three if I’m building a custom piece,” she said.
The sewetician travels far and wide to find the best fabrics and has swatches sent in from New York. Only the best because, after all, this is a piece meant to last a lifetime, however you decide to preserve it.

Keep that cake

The idea of cutting into the top tier of your wedding cake on the first anniversary of your vows is sentimental gold, but the practical reality of it can leave you with a stale mess of freezer-burned regret. One option? Ask your bakery of choice if they will include a miniature replica of your cake top in the bid, fresh and ready for pickup on your anniversary. Fresh cake and a year’s worth of freezer space? Yes, please!

If this isn’t an option, professional bakers recommend you make sure your cake is wrapped well in several layers of plastic wrap and aluminum foil, and stored in a tightly fitted box until the time comes to celebrate. Many catering companies and bakeries offer this as part of their services. Be sure to ask if you plan on preserving your cake for future celebration.
No matter how you decide to remember your wedding day, take the cliché but truthful advice everyone offers—enjoy every minute, it’ll be over in the blink of an eye.

Contributor Anna Starkey is all about cake. Send comments through the editor at



Weekly Poll
How should the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District improve its A-G completion rates?

Align graduation requirements with university entrance requirements.
Ensure that students and parents are well aware of A-Gs and what they are before high school.
Improve support services and summer school classes for students who fall behind.
Completion rates are fine as is. Not everyone wants to go to a four-year college!

| Poll Results