There’s something about weddings and redwood trees that just *go together.* We’ve seen a number of weddings take place in Big Sur’s famous woods, and the more we think about it…the more we can’t help but notice how a redwood tree can be a metaphor for marriage: the seedling it once was had to be tended to and was exposed to the elements of life, yet with proper nourishing and rays of light, it grew and grew and grew. Today, these colossal trees are something to marvel at—but their rings are proof that they’ve endured many seasons. And now, they’re stronger than ever and can weather any storm.
It’s in these woods, surrounded by redwoods that Tina + Eric said their vows. Tina tells us a little about the inspiration behind their big day: Our planner, Diane Allen with Big Sur Weddings, suggested a visit to Big Sur as a little vacation many months before the day. We took that opportunity to visit the ceremony + reception sites, the house where we stayed, and all things Big Sur. Because of the pre-visit, we had fresh ideas for our attire, accessories, and it helped us build the vision of how we wanted things to look + feel the day of. It solidified for us who we are as a couple, and what we really wanted, and event designer Christine Cater helped make that come to fruition.
Let’s head in to the forest and discover all the magic Carol Oliva captured!
The Forest Ceremony
How gorgeous is that floral mandala + all the macramé pieces?! Christine Cater was responsible for this masterpiece!
Our beautiful ceremony inside an the redwood tree fairy circle...anchored by a floral mandala. That, and seals barking on a rocky Pacific shore while we laid back under the light of the moon, gazing at shooting stars.
The two told us their super sweet love story:
We met at work, but not in the normal way most people meet at a conference or a meeting. We worked on the same team, but Eric was located in South Jersey and Tina was located in Florida and for about a year or more we had daily interactions over the phone for work, but never met. Those workday conversations eventually turned into after work conversations as we would individually commute from our offices back to our homes…
A few years later, we had the opportunity to meet when our company flew Eric down to Orlando. We spent every possible minute together that week. The last day Eric was in the Orlando office, we said goodbye, knowing there were a few more offices around the country he needed to set up and we would eventually meet back up on the phone. We were just coworkers…friends, after all.
Tina didn’t know what flight Eric was on or exactly what his schedule was. The next day was September 11, 2001. For several frantic hours that no one should ever have to endure, Tina realized he was the one person she could not live without. It was an agonizing day waiting for cell services to work until we finally made contact with each other and knew he was alive, safe, and on the ground in California.
We realized we would do whatever it took to see each other again. So, just a few years later Tina relocated to South Jersey, and the rest is history.
How incredible is this location + that golden light?
Dinner Featuring Macramé + Magnificent Views
Talk about a SWEETHEART TABLE! From the overflowing florals to the macramé and all the delectable goodies…
A Taste of Elegance provided all the delicious bites for the two newlyweds to snack on.
A drip cake by Sweet Rebas dripping in fruits + florals. The perfect match? We certainly think so!
Sunset for the Sweethearts
Choose your vendors wisely, especially photography and video. Great people make a great event! Diane helped recommend vendors, but we also really liked our photographers and videographer as people. Could we have chosen people a little cheaper? Yes. Would our day have been the same? No. We had FUN with them! They were extra hands when we needed them, heck Carol helped me get dressed, and served as our personal cheering squad. Let's face it—you're with these people for 4+ hours on your most special day, it's important that they’re awesome.
Tina + Eric leave us with these words of advice: You can try to keep your elopement secret, but a few friends & family members are going to find out either because you’re too excited to keep it in, or you need their help. Whatever the reason—do not give in to feelings of guilt for not inviting others. You don’t owe anyone an explanation, you do not need to come up with elaborate excuses for “why” you’ve settled on just the two of you. It just IS, and it’s what you + your partner have chosen as the best for YOU. Once they see how truly happy you are, and how beautiful your photos and videos are, they get over it.
Explore more of Big Sur and see all the magic of their elopement in this video from Josh Harney Productions:
photography: Carol Oliva Photography // venue name: Glen Oaks, Big Sur, California, USA // event design: Christine Cater // planning: Big Sur Weddings // florals: Christine Cater // wedding dress: Ti Adora // wedding dress boutique: Soliloquy Bridal // bride's shoes: Badgley Mischka // bride's ring: Juno Jewerly // hair stylist: Sophia Simoneaux // makeup artist: Sophia Simoneaux // videography: Josh Harney Productions // catering: A Taste of Elegance // cake: Sweet Rebas // tabletop rentals: Chic Event Rentals // furniture rentals: Chic Event Rentals // officiant: Soaring Starkey // reception venue: Big Sur Weddings