Betty + Jonathan always knew they wanted to get married in a redwood forest — the small town of Ben Lomond, tucked away in California’s Santa Cruz Mountains, provided the perfect backdrop for their wooded wedding vision. With cabins nestled in little corners and narrow one-way roads, the breathtaking venue provided a bit of a logistical challenge for the planners at Art & Soul Events, but the team absolutely killed it!! Between unloading cars and running up and down hills, they succeeded in creating a romantic masterpiece of a day for Betty + Jonathan to celebrate their love.
Betty told us a few details about the day: From the moment we first set foot on the Sequoia Retreat Center, we knew it was a special place. But it was the venue’s ceremony site that won us over — it literally took our breath away. Our entire wedding was inspired by our love of nature, sprinkled with whimsical elements. We had a lot of fun with the details! We gave baby redwood trees as gifts to our guests–not only because we were married in a redwood forest, but because we loved the idea of gifting something that would grow over time. We also got to plant one of our trees onsite the day after our wedding, which was really special for us!
Nordica Photography traveled from Sweden to capture the beautiful + epic photos of the day. Let’s have a look!
Love the whimsy of Taby Eaton Calligraphy‘s work on J + B’s envelopes! (And how cute is that bear?!)
With the help of Susie Nadler of Flora Grubb, J + B had the best idea to keep their florals living on — and their home full of life!
We love plants and we really wanted to keep and re-plant much of our floral decor after the wedding. So our floral design utilized a lot of succulents (which can easily be re-planted), and air plants (which require no planting). Our florist also made it a point to use potted ferns to decorate the ceremony site, making it easy for us to take them with us. Our home is now a wonderland of air plants, succulents, and ferns from the wedding — a constant reminder of our gorgeous day!
One very special moment was just after our first look prior to the ceremony. As we stood there in the forest, just the two of us, we could hear the string quartet in the distance playing beautiful music for our guests. The sound resonated through the forest in such a dreamlike way. That moment — that feeling — will always stay with us.
But the ceremony was, hands down, our favorite part of the day! We stood in the middle of the most majestic redwood trees at that magical time of day when the light glistens so perfectly, all the while surrounded by the most important people in our lives. The joy and laughter we all shared during that time filled our hearts completely.
The bride + groom’s rings were handmade at the SN Queens studio in Los Angeles.
Processional: That's Amore and Canon in D on String Instruments
Recessional: All You Need is Love on String Instruments
First Dance: Dream a Little Dream of Me by Zee Avi
That light! Stunning!
J + B made sure there were plenty of handmade elements to the day:
The DIY project that we’re most proud of is our escort card display, with different animals representing each table. It might have been the sheer amount of time that went into it (we’ve never spent so much time making photocopies) or the logistics (all those massive wooden planks rode up in the car with us from L.A.) but the project’s end result was exactly what we wanted.
Start planning early, especially if you're incorporating a lot of DIY projects (some of those projects might take up more time than you think)! Planning early also means you're more likely to book all your first-choice vendors.
Remember: there are no rules to planning your wedding. It's your special day, so do whatever makes you two happy!
Don't skip on hiring a planner (whether it's a month-of coordinator or a full planner). We hired Art & Soul Events and it was one of the best decisions we made. Jessica, our planner, helped see to every detail in a way we couldn't have done on our own, and having her there on the day-of allowed us to focus on enjoying ourselves.
If you're contemplating whether or not to hire a videographer, contemplate no further. Just do it. You'll only have one chance to professionally capture your special day on video, so don't pass it up. But definitely do put in the time to find a videographer that you really like. On a similar note, choose a photographer whose style you're drawn to, like we did! It will make your photos all the more special.
Finally, everyone says it, but enjoy every moment of your day because it moves so, so fast. Make it a point to pause ever so often to take in your surroundings because those will be memories you treasure for a lifetime.
The family-style seating and platters of fresh fares by Sequoia Retreat Center made for an intimate (and beatiful!) reception meal.
We LOVE this idea for a guest book!!
Another unique detail was our guest sign-in book…which ended up not being a book at all– but rather, a giant print of a Sequoia tree. Our guests simply signed their names on the branches, and their signatures appeared as “foliage” on the tree.
Jasmine Rae Bakery‘s gorgeous 3-tier cake was flanked by moss, succulents, and air plants to tie into the natural elements of the day.
OB-SESSED. Such a fun + whimsical photo backdrop by Paper Moon Shoppe!
We really wanted a photo booth backdrop at our reception, and we quickly came up with the idea of a giant, smiling moon. We had initially planned to build the backdrop ourselves… but with all the other DIY projects on our plate, we decided to find an artist to make it for us. We’re so glad we did! We ended up with an incredibly dreamy moon, and everyone had loads of fun taking photos with it.
Grover Films captured the pure magic of the day…absolutely dreamy and so sweetly done.
Thanks for inviting us along + many, many congratulations to the happy couple!
photography: Nordica Photography // venue name: Sequoia Retreat Center, Ben Lomond, California, USA // planning: Art & Soul Events // florals: Susie Nadler of Flora Grubb // wedding dress: Monique Lhuillier // hairpiece: Paris by Debra Moreland // bride's shoes: Jimmy Choo // bride's ring: SN Queens // hair stylist: Jess Wilcox // makeup artist: Jess Wilcox // groom attire: Ted Baker (Suite, Tie + Vest) and Hugo Boss (Shirt) // groom's shoes: Gordon Rush // groom's ring: SN Queens // videography: Grover Films // calligraphy: Taby Eaton Calligraphy // catering: Sequoia Retreat Center // cake: Jasmine Rae Bakery // furniture rentals: Williams Party Rentals // music: Classical Revolution // officiant: Reverend Tim Mills // baby redwood seedlings: Welker's Grove Nursery // flower girl dresses : Angelika's Boutique // photo booth backdrop: Paper Moon Shoppe // chalk board art : Word for Word Chalk Art // rentals: Alexis Party Rentals // cufflinks: Hart Papery // veil: Claire Pettibone // bracelet: Paris by Debra Moreland