During a weekend getaway from Los Angeles to the vineyards and tasting rooms of Santa Ynez Valley, Elizabeth and Michael discovered a piece of California history - and their future wedding venue - in the charming town of Los Olivos.
Elizabeth and Michael fell in love with Mattei's Tavern, an utterly charming and thriving restaurant as well as an iconic Santa Ynez Valley landmark. The handsome white clapboard exterior, boxed eaves, looping wisteria and pepper trees recall a time of horse drawn carriages, parlors filled with wicker chairs and generous helpings of shepherd's pie. Return trips to the Valley found them back at this corner of beloved land enjoying evenings spent "under the palms and stars."
The gabled redwood building is one of the oldest wooden structures in California and the grounds are home to venerable palm trees, majestic oak and cedar trees. An adjacent wooden water tower has stood on the property for over a century. During wedding celebrations it's strung with globe lights that stretch across the lawn like distant suns.
Swiss-Italian immigrant Felix Mattei built Mattei's Tavern in 1886 along what was once a bustling stagecoach and railway stop through San Marcos Pass. The Tavern accommodated weary travelers for decades offering respite and restoration from the discomforts of travel and later from the cacophony of city life. For generations the restaurant has served as a meeting place for locals as well as a social hub for weddings, graduation parties and intimate gatherings.
Carrying on the rich tradition of Mattei's as a cultural hearth where memories are bound up in every tile, photograph and bowl of soup, current chef-owner Maili Halme recently restored and reopened the landmark restaurant to its former glory. Elizabeth and Michael found Halme's enthusiasm and passion for Mattei’s contagious and were won over instantly by her exquisite cooking and graciousness.
Elizabeth and Michael chose Honey Paper to create their stationery because they wanted the invitation to reflect the uniqueness of the venue and the essence of Los Olivos.
We created a hand illustrated watercolor map of Los Olivos oriented to Mattei's Tavern whose corners emphasize robust palm fronds and clusters of wisteria. Elizabeth and Michael wanted their invitation to include a keepsake map so guests would arrive in the Santa Ynez Valley with a sense of its story and a ready appreciation for its natural beauty.
The invitation was flat printed on a brilliant white Crane Lettra paper so the original hand illustrated watercolors would render vibrant and crisp. The hearty palm frond motif provided continuity between the pieces both in color and story. We used a subtle mossy green for all the text which complimented the original illustration on the envelope liner. One of our favorite details is the initial monogram with mirrored feathered palm leaves and extended stem.
Well into its second century, Mattei's Tavern continues to soothe the hearts and appetites of travelers, tourists and locals. Each meal, gathering and celebration is a homage to the story of this land and a glimpse into the broader history of the settling of one of the world's last frontiers.
Mattei's Tavern is located at 2350 Railway Ave in Los Olivos, California.