September 18, 2019

Redwoods Forest Wedding: 4 Important Tips for Planning

Don’t make these mistakes for your Redwoods Forest Wedding!

Ever since I first stepped foot amidst the giant trees and massive ferns I fell in love with how small they made me feel. That place is an incredible reminder of the age of the earth and the power of nature.

Because of this, I would say there is no better place to celebrate one of the other most powerful forces we experience in life – love.

being prepared with some information and insight can help make the experience run smooth and care-free.

Read on to learn the 4 important tips I tell couples when getting married in the Redwoods.

Couple walking through the redwoods after their wedding under the trees. They are holding hands and facing away from the camera.

1. Plan ahead for accommodations

The Redwoods are spread out along the Norther California coast amidst multiple State Parks and the National Park. Even so, there is only 1 medium sized town anywhere near all of the Redwoods (Crescent City) and it is at the northern end near Jedidiah Smith Redwoods State Park. The rest of the towns are SUPER tiny, and none of them are places with much else to do other than enjoy the natural beauty around them. This is why I suggest planning for and spending as much of your time in nature as possible. Embrace the seclusion as a part of your experience! Camping is the perfect way to have accommodations right smack-dab in the middle of all the beauty.

I Recommend camping…

The Jedidiah Smith Campground and Prairie Creek Campground are both really beautiful and have direct access to trails. Plus getting ready at your camper or in your tent would make for some super adorable video or photos. One of my past couples rented a camper van and did a road trip for their Redwoods Wedding and they had a blast. You can rent RV’s and campers on Outdoorsy, which is like airbnb but for camping!
If you’re not big on camping, or just want to be somewhere nicer for your wedding, plan ahead of time and book a nice airbnb before the good ones book up.

P.S. – you likely won’t find many places you want to eat out in these towns, especially if you’re a vegetarian and picky like me, so plan to make a lot of your own food. The best place we found to eat was at SeaQuake Brewing in Crescent City – awesome drinks and delicious food for everyone. They had the best vegan menu we have seen at a brewery yet (and I live in Asheville – Beer City USA).

The day before their Redwoods wedding, a couple explores fern canyon together, holding hands and looking up into the sky.
A scenic view of the beach at sunset with waves, cliffs, and high grasses, which is a great spot to explore during a wedding in the redwoods.

2. Experience more than just the Redwoods

There are so many beautiful spots to enjoy during your Redwoods forest wedding in order to make your wedding day experience filled to the brim with beauty.
Not only are there gorgeous beach spots everywhere nearby where you can watch the sunset, but there are also amazing turquoise rivers to swim in. You also have to stop by Fern Canyon, which is one of my personal favorite spots. Make sure to enjoy all that the area has to offer.
I love location scouting and therefore I love to help couples find all of the best spots to explore during their elopement days, as well as capturing it in the process.

A couple is having their wedding ceremony in the redwoods and is surrounded by a few family and friends who are watching.

3. Plan for a non-summer weekday & have your ceremony early or late in the day

Picking a date that isn’t in the summer when most people are traveling will help with crowd control. Also, no matter what, having your ceremony on a weekday will cut down on tourists a lot. In addition to those two factors, planning on having your ceremony earlier in the morning or later in the evening will also make it more likely that you will have the space you choose more to yourselves. Your Videographer/Photographer should be able to help you with these details of your Redwoods forest wedding. They will typically make a timeline for you so that you can avoid the heavy traffic times. In doing so, you will be able to enjoy the beauty and the silence amidst the redwoods, the only sounds being of small pine needles falling from the treetops and birds chirping away.

A couple during their wedding is stopped in the middle of the path in the redwoods and hugging each other. There is beautiful greenery all around them.

4. Get a Redwoods forest wedding permit ahead of time

In order to get married in the Redwoods, you will need to apply for and receive a permit from the National Park Service. They have a few pre-approved locations that can expedite the applications process, but you can also ask for a personalized location that they might approve. If you need accessibility for grandparents who need to sit down, The Prairie Creek Amphitheater is a lovely spot that blends in with the woods for a ceremony. You can then explore and hike around without all the family afterwards.

Sydney + Chelsea’s Redwoods Forest Wedding

watch their film below to really experience their day:

Read more about their Redwoods Forest Wedding story:

Leading up to the big day

Sydney and Chelsea are adventurers at heart and big nature lovers like I am. Therefore, their plan to have a Redwoods forest wedding right in the midst of a big celebratory road trip wasn’t a surprise to me. They rented a camper van and started the journey in their home state of Michigan. On their way to California they were sightseeing and stopping at national parks and forests along the way. The mid point was their redwoods elopement. Afterwards they drove all the way up to BANFF for a honeymoon – what an adventure!

They met up with their family and friends in Crescent City near Jedidiah Smith Redwoods State Park. This section of the park is the northern most section of protected redwood tress in California. The day before their wedding, I met Sydney and Chelsea and their family and friends in Fern Canyon. We spent a few hours exploring and hiking around. This place is truly unique and a must see if you are ever out near the redwoods. I’d even suggest visiting for your own redwoods elopement.

The Day of the Redwoods Forest Wedding

The day of their wedding we spent the morning taking it nice and slow. They took time writing down their vows in their personal booklets. This was a really sweet and sentimental time. I also love that they even spent some time together before getting ready. It was obvious they were making sure to connect and help the reality of the day sink in.

After they got together separately, they decided to have their first look underneath the Redwood trees.
I set Sydney up in the space they had chosen and left her to experience the moment in quiet. While waiting on Chelsea I noticed that she was crying in anticipation and my heart swelled. Knowing how powerful this day was for them, it was really special being a witness of it.

Chelsea’s sister officiated the ceremony, making the experience very personal and intimate. I always feel like having family members or friends officiant ceremonies are the most powerful way to do it. We spent some time after the ceremony exploring the redwood groves. Eventually we made our way back to SeaQuake Brewery for a small and simple reception. They had homemade cake, beer, and good food for everyone!

I hope when you scroll through the stills and watch their film, you are able to be transported into what that day was like. Maybe their story encourages you to love deeper and make life an adventure.

Still images pulled from their film

A bride in her wedding dress puts on her earrings in her rental house in preparation for her redwoods wedding
Sydney puts on her jacket at a rental house in preparation for her redwoods wedding.
A landscape of green mossy tree branches amidst the redwoods during a couples September wedding.
A bride waits amidst the redwood trees, looking up to take in the scenery, before the first look with her bride during their wedding.
A wedding couple sees each other for the first time on their wedding day in the redwoods.
A wedding couple hugs during their first look in the redwood trees.
A close of up of a wedding bouquet of beautiful white and burgundy flowers pops amidst the redwoods green and brown colors and the brides dress.
A close up of the wedding couples hands as they hug and dance together during their redwoods wedding.
A wedding couple walks through the paths in the redwoods looking small amidst the big ferns and trees.
A couple gets married during their ceremony beneath redwood trees with an officiant to lead the wedding.
A wedding couple looks back into the redwoods during their wedding to see the beautiful light and view.
A wedding couple has their first dance in the redwoods ferns and trees with light shining right down on them.
Looking up at redwood trees with light seeping through the leaves during a wedding in September.
A wedding couple looking at each other in front of the redwoods.
A wedding couple is walking along a fallen redwood tree. One is looking back at the other in her dress while the other is following behind in her pants and jacket outfit.
A wedding couple is embracing forehead to forehead in front of a massive redwood root wall with greenery around it.
A wedding reception after a ceremony in the redwoods at Seaquake brewing in their brew room. Less than 20 people are seated around the table chatting with brewery equipment in the background.

Making sure you prepare and plan for your Redwoods wedding is important. It’s one of the best ways to make sure you have a stress free and fully present experience on your special day. I hope these tips were helpful in getting you started in your planning process. And fingers crossed they also made you even more excited with ideas and inspiration!

I’d love to help you plan your OWN adventurous and personalized day: