Brittney and E.J. were introduced in 2010 at a group outing through a mutual friend that ended up being the best man and their wedding. E.J. plays professional basketball overseas and is gone for the majority of the year but the two kept in contact via email, text and Skype. "The feelings were obviously strong but we were both wary of starting a long distance relationship," said Brittney. Brittney and E.J. didn't go on their first date until almost two years after they met in the summer 2012. "I'm not exaggerating when I say that we happened to look around and noticed that everyone had already left the restaurant," recalled Brittney of their first date. "Guess we were that into each other. E.J. had to leave again shortly after that but invited me to spend New Years with him." It was on that trip that they finally made it official. "We were out in London not long after the countdown to bring in 2013 when he asked me "when are you gonna stop playing and be my lady?" The rest is history." Check out their romantic Santa Barbara wedding, beautifully captured by Brian Leahy Photography!
Bride: Brittney Mathieu, 32
Groom: E.J. Rowland, 33, Professional Basketball Player
Place of residence: Los Angeles, CA
Wedding date: July 29, 2016
Wedding location: Bacara Resort & Spa, Santa Barbara, California
Honeymoon Destination: Turks & Caicos
My initial plan was to propose earlier in the year when Britt came to spend time with me Istanbul. I didn't really have time to set things up right so I decided to wait until that summer when I got home. Everyone except Britt knew I was planning on popping the question. I got her parents blessing then went ring shopping with my sister. She ended up talking some sense into me and not letting me walk out on what ended up being "It." Fast forward to Britt and I laying on the beach in Cancun, listening to music and having a pretty heartfelt conversation. I had been back and forth on when I would pop the question and this was feeling like the perfect moment. Unfortunately, the ring was locked away in our rooms safe and I had lost an opportunity. I promised myself to be prepared from then on so I started carrying the ring around in my sock.We went out for dinner that night and our conversations seemed to present another opportunity while having drinks back at the resort so I started reaching far down the inside of my left sock. She was looking at me crazy and asking what I was doing when I came up with the ring. Britt started crying and repeatedly asking "me"? She wasn't really listening and hadn't looked at the ring so I walked around the table and basically put the ring in her face like "Look!" I then got on one knee and started rambling ... the rest is what they call history!
From the Bride:
Our rehearsal dinner was the evening before our big day. After we all came back to Bacara everyone stayed at the main bar to hangout and have cocktails. I knew wedding day would be really long so E.J. walked me to my suite and we said our goodbyes. I wiped off my makeup and got into a hot bubble bath. As a bride, you always have a million things on your mind and things to do. This was my chance to have some peace and quiet and to write my vows. I got into bed but only slept three hours. I couldn't sleep because my heart was pounding and my mind was racing. I didn't get out of bed, I just laid there with my eyes closed trying to relax. Amber and her assistant (Hair Stylist) arrived into my suite at 5:30 am and Rebekah and her assistant (makeup artist) arrived around 8 am. All of my bridesmaids had call times and knew when to come up to my suite to get hair and makeup done. My maid of honor stayed with me overnight and was by my side all day. We had breakfast, had deep convos, played some of ourfavorite 90's jams and just tried to relax. I appeared calm on the surface but was shaking from being extremely nervous. All of this went away as soon as I walked out from behind some shrubbery and saw everyone stand up. It was such a magical moment. I felt so beautiful and saw this handsome man waiting to take my hand in marriage. I couldn't believe how everything turned out and how it was exactly the way we wanted it. I couldn't have asked for more.
From the Groom:
I never felt nervous regarding my decision to marry this gorgeous woman (beautiful, both inside and out) but taking a vow of that magnitude before God and all your loved ones did get to me a bit. Luckily, everything went relatively smooth for me and I got to enjoy the moment. There's no better feeling than taking a leap of faith and embarking on a life journey with someone you truly love and care for. Let alone having everyone important to you there to witness it and cheer you on.
What makes your love special?
Groom: You hear "best friend" thrown around a lot so I'll just say that my wife is all inclusive. She has a great heart, looks amazing, laughs at my jokes, cooks nothing but elite meals, and fully supports me.
Bride: He is truly the definition of a best friend, gentleman, thoughtful, loving, and a romantic man that every little girl grows up dreaming her husband to be. I can always count on him to brighten up my day, put a smile on my face or solve any problem I have. He brings out the best in me, taught me how to be an efficient suitcase packer and helped me cut down on both my closet & life chaos. I absolutely love being his wife, chef, masseuse and cheerleader.
Your most memorable moment:
We hadn't seen each other at all that day until I started to walk down the aisle. We wanted to surprise each other so I didn't show him my dress or accessories and he hadn't revealed what he'd be wearing either. He said he had heard nothing but great things about the dress so he had to make sure he was "on my level." I wasn't worried about him not looking up to par since his fashion sense caught my eye, second only to his good looks. Stepping out with my Dad to walk down the aisle was an intense moment. The combination of seeing so many friends and family as well as the man I plan to spend the rest of my life with was extremely powerful. I could see that his "allergies were acting up" when we made eye contact. I was trying to hold it together so I had to smile and look away but that was a moment we'll never forget.
Luther Vandross - Don't you know that?
We wanted a timelessly romantic song with meaningful lyrics that represented us but could also be lively enough to have fun and dance to.
Favorite wedding detail:
This is a hard question to answer because I'm in love with so many of the details of our wedding. Me and Yoliene worked very closely to perfect what E.J. and I envisioned for our special day and seeing it all come to life was beyond amazing.
What are you most looking forward to as a married couple?
Groom: 40-50 years from now I want to be surrounded by grand and possibly great-grand kids and smile at my wife knowing that our journey was special.
Bride: Reminiscing/storytelling with our children about our adventures together.
We already have so many stories that are special to us in such a short time and look forward to telling those and more.
Advice for a Bride/Groom on their wedding day:
It's a big day but enjoy the moment and try not to get too caught up in trivial things. Kiss, laugh,and dance with your partner as much as possible.