It can be easy to forget, living in Santa Barbara, just how beautiful our city is. A drive to work is still a drive to work, even when it includes cityscape views and a skyline edged with lush, green mountaintops. Unless, of course, your business is directly linked to our city’s bounty. Armando Martinez, owner of event design company Alegria by Design, finds himself in such a position. The Carpinteria native and UCSB alum began his career as an in‑house, freelance designer and visual director for The Territory Ahead. Soon the cost of living in such a beautiful city hit home for Martinez, and he realized if he wanted to stay, he had to start his own business.
Six years later, Alegria, which means happiness in Spanish, is flourishing. Martinez specializes in high‑end social and corporate party planning, bringing his personal touch to anniversaries, weddings, and museum galas. And word about Alegria is spreading quickly.
Martinez was recently featured on an episode of the Food Network’s Behind the Bash for a wedding he did at the Santa Barbara Zoo. The bride was an orthodox Jew, so Martinez teamed up with L.A.’s five‑star catering company Someone’s in the Kitchen to create an entirely kosher wedding. The results were lovely, and since the airing of the episode, the demand for Alegria events continues to grow from both locals and out‑of‑towners.
“In the next few years, I hope to keep growing, do larger events, and start tapping the celebrity market in Santa Barbara,” Martinez said. “Because I travel so much, I can only take a handful of events each year, so it’s tough choosing which ones to do. Generally, I like to take the challenging, creative events.”
For those interested in hiring Martinez, make sure to plan ahead. Wedding season is May through October, and by March, Alegria is all booked up. For an appointment, visit alegriabydesign.com, or call 884‑0450.