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Jem & PeterSummer Camp Wedding at Leonard Lake ReserveRedwood Valley, CA

Jem and Peter’s summer camp wedding at Leonard Lake Reserve is one for the books. The Reserve encompasses a whopping 4,000 acres of land and boasts the largest lake in Mendocino County. Ancient redwood groves and fir trees surround the property, providing shelter to several species of wildlife. Jem and Peter’s 60 guests enjoyed exclusive access to all of the outdoor goodness for the entire weekend.

Their wedding day was so authentic to their relationship. Low key and no frills. They wanted the scenery at Leonard Lake to be the statement of their “decor” and for their family and friends to have a helping hand in putting on the event.

During our stay, we had several encounters with the local wildlife. A rattlesnake lunged for our ankles on a hike, a fox snatched the campfire marshmallows, and Peter’s dad unintentionally baited a small mouth bass with his nipple. And let’s not forget about the daily mosquito spray down parties. This was definitely a weekend to remember.

SUMMER CAMP SHENANIGANS

In true summer camp fashion, we were all assigned cabins to share. Jem and Peter opted for more privacy in one of the tents down by the lake. Andrew and I settled into the living room of the big Knoll House, featuring epic diamond windows.

Most of the guests arrived Friday evening to settle in and enjoy lakeside activities. We joined everyone for a welcome BBQ and sangria at the picnic tables. That night, we roasted marshmallows over the campfire and laid back to enjoy the stars. We crashed early, exhausted after a long day of travel, but it’s rumored there were quite a few late night skinny dippers.

In the morning, we took the canoe out before camp woke up. The water was still and beautiful, with only the ripples of our boat disturbing it. As the sun rose, more guests ventured down to the dock to enjoy the lake before the wedding festivities began.

Everyone had something to accomplish that afternoon. Peter’s aunts baked fresh fruit pies for dessert in lieu of cake. Two ladies took a canoe out to clip water lilies, as a team in the kitchen built artisan charcuterie boards for lunch. Meanwhile, Jem foraged fern leaves to spruce up the picnic tables and family members pieced together flowers for bouquets.

WEDDING DAY FESTIVITIES

Jem was ready for the day quickly and effortlessly. She dawned a delicate tiara from a past trip to Thailand and a whimsical blush dress that billowed out with every step. Peter wore a complimentary red suit with the coolest feather bowtie. Peter swung her round and round when he saw her for the first time. Together they looked flawless.

The two exchanged vows under a canopy of trees near the lake, with Peter’s step father officiating the ceremony. Afterward, Christy, took us up the hill for portraits in the Cathedral redwood grove. Jem slipped into her second dress while guests enjoyed cocktails under the market lights. Her mother found the dress at a small boutique on her way to the opera with her dad. After toasts, we snuck down to the dock to soak up the last of the light for portraits.

Three dance songs were scribbled on a napkin, but Spotify was the DJ for the evening. Everyone danced under the stars in complete merriment through the night…followed by more skinny dipping.

As a closing thought, all I can think to say is: Peter and Jem, you are truly better together. Congrats to you and thanks for the memories!

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If you love this wedding, I also recommend checking out Jem and Peter’s Sutro Baths engagement or Hannah and Rocky’s intimate redwood wedding.

Decor: Party Tents & Event Rentals // Desserts: Judy Somerby and Annabelle Bentley (Groom’s aunts) // Florist: Lynn Ponton (family friend) // Groom’s Attire: Beckett & Robb (suit); Paul Smith Designs (shirt) // Groom’s Bowtie: Brackish Bowties // Invitations: ForeverFiances // Officiant: Byron Thompson (Groom’s step-father) //  Photography: Paige Nelson // Wedding Bands: D&H Jewelers; Engagement Ring: Etsy // Site Coordination: Christy (Leonard Lake Reserve) // Shoes: DBDK Fashion (Bride); Cole Haan (Groom) // Wedding Dress Boutique: Lovely Bride // Wedding Dress Designer: Lea in Blush by Leanne Marshall // Wedding Favors: Copper Mule Mugs; RP & Associates // Venue: Leonard Lake Reserve

  • Becky said:

    Paige! Are you kidding me!?!?! This wedding! These photos! You are so talented. You photographed this perfectly! Oh, and those lily pads...something so beautiful about them <3

    • Thank you so much Becky! It was such a beautiful day and atmosphere. I was a little obsessed with the lily pads too!

  • angela said:

    spectacular work! I love the richness of your images.

  • Scott Nelson said:

    Nice work Paige....beautiful !