Rustic Woodland Wedding: Karen + James

california rustic wedding

Happy New Year everyone! And big welcome to all our newly engaged couples. :) We have so many amazing weddings already lined up to share with you all this year starting with a gorgeous woodland wedding…

Karen + James’ beautiful, rustic woodland wedding incorporated some of our favorite things here at GWS: dream catchers, king protea, airplants, chocolate cake – and the color green! Because the couple met in a beautiful redwood forest in Northern California (so romantic, right?!), the most important detail for them was to have their wedding outside, in a gorgeous, natural setting. The Hideout in Kirkwood, California fit the bill big time, but the weather in the area tends to be totally unpredictable. Luckily  Karen + James are a laid-back, go-with-the-flow kind of duo and they weren’t going to let a bout of bad weather ruin their day! When it was all said and done, it only added to the beauty + excitement of the celebration! Here’s a bit more about it all from their talented wedding planner Kate of Kate Whelan Events:

An unexpected deluge of rain hit at the tail-end of guest arrival, right as the ceremony was set to start. As I passed out umbrellas to the guests, the sudden rain storm turned to hail the size of golf balls and we quickly shuttled out guests up to the saloon for the cocktail hour while the storm passed. After we wiped everything down, we moved the guests back down to the woodside ceremony. Karen, James + their guests handled it incredibly well – later thanking me for the hailstorm show and laughing about it like it was just a part of the entertainment for the evening!

Thanks so much to Sarah Maren for the lovely photos!

california rustic wedding

getting ready

I’m super in love with Karen’s gorgeous bouquet by Flourish, which contains the perfect mix of textures + colors!

california rustic bouquet

california rustic bridesmaids

protea bouquets

california rustic

california rustic flower crown

white suit

california rustic first look

california rustic first look

california rustic

california rustic wedding party

Karen + James worked with Kate Miller Events to incorporate some of their favorite things into the design. How amazing is their ceremony backdrop, composed of handcrafted dream catchers in various sizes? So whimsical + pretty!

hanging dream catchers

dream catchers

california rustic

california rustic boutonniere

bride and groom

The morning of the wedding was beautiful and sunny, but a storm of rain, thunder, lightning, and hail let loose right as our ceremony was set to begin!

california rustic

california rustic ceremony

california rustic ceremony


california rustic ceremony

california rustic ceremony

After the ceremony, Karen + James led their guests to their reception, set under market lights, mason jars and the starry night. Tables were accented with grapewood hearts, vintage bottles + lanterns, as well as king protea, pheasant feathers and textural natural blooms. An organic faux bois chocolate cake was accented with more king protea and their cake topper – two miniature trees – reflected the couple’s love of nature. The party continued into the night with The Blank Tapes performing on the stage under the stars, with guests warming up via the many firepits or the massive hot tub built into the rockside.

california rustic reception

seating chart window

Love their pretty paper goods too, which were also crafted by Kate Miller Events!

driftwood centerpieces

table numbers

rustic tablescape


naked rustic cake

Processional: Bells of Spring Prelude in C Major – Bach

Recessional: Here There Everywhere –The Beatles

First Dance: Something in the Way She Moves – James Taylor

first dance

From the bride, Big thanks to Kate Miller Events. Kate took our vague ideas about what we wanted our wedding to be and transformed them into the most beautiful magical event. This wedding would not of happened with out her creativity, talent, and hard work!

Congrats to Karen + James on a beautiful day and best wishes from all of us at GWS! :)

photography: Sarah Maren // venue: The Hideout Kirkwood, California // event design + planning: Kate Whelan Events // floral design + hairpieces: Shannon Cosgrove-Rivas, Flourish // wedding dress: Jim Hjelm Bridal purchased and fit at Jin Wang Bridal in San Francisco // shoes: Kork Ease // bridesmaid dresses: chosen by bridemaids in various shades of green // hair + makeup: Hello Glam // groom suit: Etro // paper goods: Kate Miller Events // catering: Beth Sogaard Catering // cake: Coracao Confections // music: The Blank Tapes

This wedding features rad artists fromThe GWS Wedding Artist GalleryKate Whelan Events is a Featured Artist in the GWS Artist Guide! Find more rad artists for your day in our Gallery

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  1. LOVE the blues/greens on the bridesmaids…reminds me of different depths in a gorgeous alpine lake. And Karen’s redwood tattoo is amazing!!

  2. This was a great take on the rustic theme that has been so popular this year. Always enjoy seeing how brides take a theme or idea and make it their own.

  3. Every part of this wedding blends so well together – including her awesome tattoo!

    I love the ceremony back drop of all the dream catchers – really beautiful!

  4. Love the window table numbers! And what a perfect cake for this wedding theme!

  5. I love that the venue is covered in the same kind of tree that the bride has a tattoo of! And I agree that the cake is perfectly themed.

  6. This is beautiful! I absolutely love all the colors :)

  7. It’s my favorite venue on the planet! Love the bright pops of color here and the bride’s hair is rockin’!


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