A romantic and whimsical Redwood wedding
Kaver and Sam’s intimate forest wedding in Santa Cruz highlighted the beauty of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. This romantic wedding was filled with whimsical and personal touches that created a magical atmosphere for their ceremony.
Kaver and Sam met at a mutual friend’s wedding in 2016, and sparks flew instantly. However, the timing wasn’t right, as Kaver was about to move to Spain to teach English. The two relied on technology to build a long distance relationship. After a summer in Texas together, they finally closed the 5,000 mile gap between them.
Surrounded by natural beauty, Kaver and Sam celebrated their next chapter alongside their favorite people.
Morning preparation in Santa Cruz
I started the morning with Sam and his family, at their charming AirBnb in downtown Santa Cruz. It was a beautiful, craftsman style home complete with mid-century furnishings, funky wallpaper, and a view of the ocean. His dad helped him into his dark purple Indochino suit and suspenders, then his mom stepped in to pin his boutonniere.
Afterward, I made my way over to Kaver. She got ready with her family at a separate AirBnB closer to the redwoods in Felton. Her mom helped her into her romantic and ethereal Willowby by Watters gown. After she was dressed, Kaver shared an emotional first look with her dad and gifted their long time family friend, Mary Jo, a special corsage.
Intimate First Look in Henry Cowell Redwoods
Kaver and I drove together to meet Sam at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. I walked ahead of her and set Sam up in a private area near their ceremony grove. The moment Sam turned to see Kaver, his face lit up with complete joy. All of their eager anticipation suddenly dissipated as soon as they embraced.
While their families set up chairs for the ceremony, we took a walk around the grove together for some extra portrait time.
Intimate Forest Wedding in Santa Cruz
When it was time for the ceremony, we were graced with beautiful, warm light that poured through the trees. Alexis Party Rental set up a few rows of crossback wood chairs for their guests, decorated with handmade floral hoops. The forest backdrop didn’t need much else.
Kaver and her dad hid behind a redwood tree while everyone took their seats. As the two walked down the aisle, Sam couldn’t help but smile. His love for her was (and is) so tangible.
To add more depth to their ceremony, Kaver and Sam exchange personal vows while their long-time family friend, Mary Jo, officiated for them. Once it was official, everyone was giddy, embracing the newlyweds and each other. Kaver and Sam opened a celebratory bottle of champagne and passed it around.
Whimsical Forest Wedding Portraits
After finishing family photos, all of their guests headed to Casa Nostra to set up for dinner. The three of us wandered deeper into the forest to take advantage of the magical golden hour light.
We walked to a few of my favorite hidden gems in Henry Cowell Redwoods, and I captured them in their sweetest candid moments. We kicked up some dust in just the right places for some extra photographic magic.
When we finally made our way to the parking lot, we discovered their families decked out their getaway car with a cute banner and cans tied to the bumper. (Note: we removed the cans before leaving the parking lot- please respect the wildlife and other visitors of the park)!
Intimate Wedding Dinner at Casa Nostra
Kaver and Sam rented the Casa Nostra Ristorante redwood circle patio in Ben Lomond for their reception. The space, surrounded by redwood trees and dressed in string lights, set the perfect intimate atmosphere for their dinner. As a DIY project for the day, Kaver strung gold paper straws together in geometric shapes to hang from the ceiling.
Music from their personal Spotify playlist filled the air as everyone shared a delicious, family-style Italian meal together. As a surprise for their parents, Kaver and Sam invited them all to join in on their first dance.
After speeches, the group continued to smile and laugh together on the dance floor, marking the sweetest ending to this intimate forest wedding in Santa Cruz.
Their Vendor Team
Accommodations/Getting Ready: Airbnb // Dessert: Ben Lomond Baking Company (La Placa Family Bakery) // Invites: Zola // Florist: UCSC Farm and Garden // Make Up: Faust Salon // Photography: Paige Nelson Photography // Rentals: Alexis Party Rental // Restaurant: Ristorante Casa Nostra // Suit: Indochino // Dress: Willowby by Watters
If you enjoyed this intimate forest wedding in Santa Cruz, I recommend checking out Hannah and Rocky’s Intimate Wedding at Henry Cowell Redwoods.