Cecilia and Craig’s California Redwood Forest Wedding

It was Cecilia’s dream to get married amongst the redwoods, so when she and fiancé Craig discovered Jedediah State Park (home to some of the biggest and oldest redwood trees in the world) during a trip to the Pacific Northwest, they knew they’d found their perfect wedding location. Despite the pouring rain, the couple were determined to exchange their vows outside beneath the trees and were blessed when the skies cleared just minutes  before their ceremony, allowing them to have the private and secluded ceremony they had been hoping for. Now that’s what we call serendipity!

A huge thank you to Dennis of Viera Photographics for being equally undeterred by the rain and capturing the couple so perfectly amidst the majestic redwood trees, and for generously sharing those photos with us today.

Oregon treehouse wedding

Cecilia, 27 & Craig, 31

Crescent City, CA

Wedding Date: September 20, 2013 (We chose the date because it’s my parents’ wedding anniversary)

Number of Guests: 9+ a Chihuahua

Wedding Cost: $12,000 including flights and hotels (treehouses, that is)

Wedding Ceremony Location: Stout Grove, Jedediah State Park, Crescent City, CA

Wedding Reception Location: Out N About Treehouses/Lily Pad, Cave Junction, OR

Oregon wilderness wedding rings on wet wood man holding large coin bride's train on the ground bride portrait bride portrait in the forest bride and groom in the forest

Why did you have an intimate wedding?

We are both pretty introverted and wanted to make sure that we were free to be ourselves and enjoy the day. I think I would have felt self-conscious having so many people watching us do this very intimate, personal, important thing. And I was worried about Craig not being the Craig I know on our wedding day. He’s super silly around me, but that goes away around people he doesn’t know well. For the same reasons, we decided to have Craig’s stepfather officiate the ceremony so that we weren’t standing up there with a person we didn’t know well. He did a great job.

white shingled house blue umbrella on wet porch groom getting ready groom portrait

What are some of the challenges that you faced planning an intimate wedding?

Most of the challenges we faced had to do with planning a destination wedding in a rather remote area. I had my heart set on Viera Photographics so I was really lucky that they were willing to travel all the way up to the California/Oregon border, and then also travel an hour between the ceremony and reception locations.

Since it is such a remote area, it took me a long time to find a caterer. And a lot of caterers had minimums of 50 guests. Eventually, I found a personal chef who also catered events.

I also really only had one florist to choose from, but they got my bouquet just right.

chihuahua looking up at bride getting ready bride getting ready bride wearing running shoes bride in the car

Why did you chose the Redwoods?

I had a dream of getting married in the redwoods so when Craig and I took a vacation to the Pacific Northwest, we decided to take the opportunity to scope out the redwoods for possible wedding locations. Neither of us had ever seen them before. We drove South from Portland, so Jedediah State Park was our first sight of the redwoods. It houses some of the oldest and biggest Redwoods in the world so it was definitely an appropriate first experience of redwoods. As I had expected, the redwoods were truly magical. There is a profound silence that I have never heard before and the sheer size of the trees is completely humbling. There is also something symbolic about getting married underneath trees that are thousands of years old. It is basically Nature’s own version of a temple and the most spiritual place I can imagine, and, therefore, the perfect place for exchanging our eternal vows.

bride and groom walking in the woods bride and groom walking in the woods tall forest trees bride and groom in front of massive fallen tree bride and groom in forest bride and groom kissing in the forest bride and groom portrait in the woods

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?

By keeping it to immediate family only, we really eliminated any difficult decisions.

groomsmen portrait with umbrellas in the forest bride and maid of honour in the woods with umbrellas bride in the woods with umbrella

Did you have any ‘issues’ with the small guest list from friends and family? If so, how did you address them?

I think some people were disappointed that they weren’t going to be at our wedding, but I had a bridal shower where I was able to celebrate with friends and family, and Craig had a bachelor party/trip with his friends.

Redwoods State Park sign bride walking with her parents to ceremony site in the forest groomwaiting for his bride in the redwoods Redwoods State Park wedding ceremony

What were the highlights of the ceremony?

We had been looking at the weather forecast the week leading up to the big day and it looked rainy. I was still hoping the forecast would change so we held out until the night before to buy any umbrellas. Sure enough, the day of our wedding, it rained. Actually, it POURED. In fact, our photographer was delayed momentarily when a tree fell over in the road. Ironically, we had picked September to get married because it was supposed to be the month with the best weather in the area – summers can be really foggy.

We had come all the way from Denver to get married in the redwoods so there was no way we were going to get married indoors. We had spent the day before picking out the perfect spot in the woods where we would have the ceremony. It was off the path enough that we would have some privacy, but it meant a bit of hiking. When we woke up to the rain, we decided we would have to abandon that plan and go with a spot that was easier to get to.

We discussed a new spot that we thought we remembered, and then crossed our fingers that we were thinking of the same place. It was the prettiest location we had seen and sort of had a natural aisle to walk up. We had initially decided against it because there was a lot of foot traffic nearby and we wanted some privacy.  Since it was pouring, however, we decided that getting to the location quickly trumped privacy.

We arrived to find the grove completely vacant so we ended up getting the best location along with complete privacy. Stout Grove is the most popular grove in the park so it was unreal having it entirely to ourselves.

And then minutes before the ceremony, the rain stopped! We were able to have the ceremony without umbrellas, which was really quite a miracle given how hard it had been raining all day.

Redwoods State Park wedding ceremony tearful groom during ceremony Redwoods State Park wedding ceremony father of the bride holding chihuahua during ceremony officiant flipping coin bride and groom first kiss Redwoods State Park wedding ceremony

What were the highlights of the reception?

The rain had really delayed things so we ended up being a full hour late to our reception (which was really just a dinner). I called our caterer to let her know and she was so understanding. I am forever grateful for her reaction because I was already quite stressed about it. She was so gracious.

Anyway, we arrived at the Treehouse resort and made it over to the Lily Pad, which is a private treehouse a mile away from the main resort. We had kept the location of the reception secret from our family, so it was a lot of fun to pull up to the treehouses and see their reactions.

Our caterer and her daughter had decorated an outdoor picnic area for us. I had given her a few photos for inspiration, and she completely blew me away. It was the most beautiful thing to see and it felt so special to be surprised. On top of that, our dinner was one of the best meals we’ve ever had.

father of the bride pouring champagne in the woods champagne toast in the woods bride and groom portrait under umbrella in the woods

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?

I think we were able to enjoy ourselves a lot more. We didn’t have to spread ourselves thin talking with hundreds of guests like we’ve seen at some weddings. It felt much more like our day instead of putting on a show for guests.

It also allowed us to spend a lot less money and afford a lot more. We spent a lot less than the average wedding, but were able to afford top-notch photographers and filet mignon for dinner. And it was a vacation for our whole family.

out'n'about treehouse sign treehouse wedding reception set-up candlelit table setting hanging floral centerpiece chalkboard wedding sign treehouse wedding reception

What advice do you have for couples who are considering an intimate wedding?

If you are like us and think you would enjoy yourselves more with a smaller guest list, go for it. It’s such an important and personal day and I think couples deserve to have a wedding that they can actually enjoy. For some couples that means a huge party with tons of friends and dancing. For us, it meant just our immediate family, ancient trees, and a magical dinner. Oh, and a rainstorm apparently.

treehouse wedding reception


Wedding Dress: Little White Dress (Denver, CO).

Groom’s Clothes: Express

Photography: Viera Photographics – Dennis was amazing. Not only are our photographs beautiful, but Dennis himself really added a lot to our day. He was, after all, 1 of 12 humans present! He was so positive and even made me feel better about the rain. I think he said something like, “OK. Let’s do this!” He also loaded up his own car when we ran out room in our rental cars and helped us transport things from the ceremony to the reception.

Catering: Judy Hardy, Rogue Valley Personal Chef – I can’t say enough wonderful things about Judy and her daughter.

Flowers: Redwood Gardens Florist

Accommodations: Out N’ About Treehouse Resort – Our family stayed here in four different treehouse on the property. They also have ziplines and horseback riding.

Reception Venue: The Lily Pad – This treehouse is located on Sandy Lily’s personal property. We were able to return for our 1-year wedding anniversary as well. Sandy is straight out of the pages of a novel. She has a long braid that reaches down her back and a gentle dog that is part wolf. A very magical place.

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Lauren and Jon’s Tennessee Lake House Wedding

Being a second wedding for both Lauren and Jon, the couple wanted to make their special day different from their more traditional first weddings. They did so by exchanging their written vows in an intimate ceremony by the lake at sunset as their immediate families looked on, and followed it with an outdoor celebration of dinner, dancing, and marshmallow toasting.

In the words of the bride: “Our wedding day was our perfect day! We wanted to have a very intimate day focused on each other and our families, so we chose to have a backyard wedding with only our parents, siblings, and nieces and nephews. It was the perfect setting, and a day filled with love, laughter and great food!”

A huge thanks to Jenna Henderson for sharing their beautiful second wedding with us!

nashville wedding

Lauren, 30 & Jon, 32

Mount Juliet, TN

Wedding Date: October 18, 2014

Number of Guests: 10 adults, 8 kids

Wedding Cost: ~$10,000 – 15,000 including lodging for our families

Wedding Ceremony Location: Backyard of lake house

Wedding Reception Location: Patio of lake house

gerbera daisy wedding bouquet groom's boutonniere nashville intimate wedding nashville intimate wedding baby wedding guest flower girls hugging

Why did you have an intimate wedding?

As a second wedding for both of us, we really wanted to focus the day on each other and our families. We wanted to make the wedding very distinct from our first weddings (which were the more traditional route), and be really special. We also wanted to have a really nice setting and food, and didn’t want to spend an outrageous amount of money (which is inevitable if you have a large party!).

bride touching groom's face nashville wedding nashville wedding first look session small wedding in nashville nashville wedding

What are some of the challenges that you faced planning an intimate wedding?

The most difficult part was finding a venue! Most venues are not set up for an intimate gathering, and even if they can accommodate it, they charge really expensive rates for such a small gathering! We were fortunate that we were able to find a beautiful home to rent and the owner allowed us to have the wedding in the backyard.

nashville wedding bride and groom portrait nashville wedding

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?

No, that’s why we kept it to immediate family only – parents, siblings, and nieces and nephews. We know that if we extended beyond that to close friends and family we’d have to triple the size – and risk more feelings being hurt by not having other friends and family invited. When we said it was immediate family, everyone understood and accepted that.

nashville lakeside wedding nashville wedding

Did you have any ‘issues’ with the small guest list from friends and family? If so, how did you address them?

Not really – everyone understood, though we did feel bad sometimes telling people. We actually had a dinner party/reception with our families and a party with our friends at a later date, so we did get to celebrate with everyone even though they were not there for the actual ceremony.

nashville wedding nashville wedding nashville wedding lakeside wedding ceremony

What were the highlights of the ceremony?

Sharing our own vows with each other for the first time during the ceremony. Writing our own vows was certainly a challenge, but it made the day so much more intimate and special. It’s also something we will cherish forever.

nashville wedding nashville wedding nashville wedding

What were the highlights of the reception?

Our nieces and nephews dancing! They were so cute and fun. They are seriously great dancers!

outdoor tables set up for reception dinner nashville intimate wedding outdoor wedding table setting intimate wedding nashville nashville intimate wedding backyard wedding reception wedding drink dispensers tub filled with ice and drinks mason jar cups guest holding wedding menu

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?

Getting able to spend time with both sides of our family together. In a traditional setting, there’s not really the opportunity for your parents to spend a lot of time with your new in-laws because everyone’s busy mingling with their own families. In this setting, everyone was able to truly enjoy each other’s company and get to know one another – which is important to us because our families live in different states.

Also, I think not being stressed out about accommodating a large number of guests. When it’s just family, you can be flexible and adjust on the fly, and nothing is an issue. For example, on the afternoon of our wedding, we decided we wanted to have the ceremony about 15-20 minutes earlier than scheduled to catch the optimal sunset time and we were able to make the change no problem!

outdoor reception dinner bride and groom at reception dinner guitarist performing at wedding bride and groom first dance wedding guests around bonfire bride and groom toasting marshmallows bride and groom kissing by bonfire

What advice do you have for couples who are considering an intimate wedding?

Don’t worry about what everyone else will think. At the end of the day, it’s your day, and you should celebrate the way in which you feel most comfortable. Get a great photographer (or videographer) so you can share those great moments with everyone else after the wedding. Also, having a reception/party for others was a great way to keep the intimate setting but still be able to involve and celebrate with others.

nashville lakeside wedding


Photographer: Jenna Henderson

Venue: Private home, Old Hickory Lake, Nashville, TN

Catering: Chef & I

Florist: Belles Fleurs 

Rentals: Southern Events 

Hair & Makeup: Rachel Cothron

Minister: Brandon Rich

Ceremony Musician: Chris Marks

Reception Musician: Brandon Stiles

Dress: Winnie Couture

Suit: Ted Baker

Sash: Etsy


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Find your Style with Wedding Paper Divas

A wedding represents the joining of two lives, and with that often comes the joining of two distinct – sometimes conflicting – styles. The planning process, however, is a great time for you to discover you own unique style that represents you perfectly as a couple, and we think the best place to start is with your wedding invitations.

wedding paper divas invitation suite

Wedding Paper Divas makes it easy for you to find and define your wedding style by offering hundreds of different designs to choose from – from traditional to modern, and everything in between – and the ability to customize your invitation suite just the way you want it.

wedding paper divas invitation suite

Getting started is easy. All you have to do is find an invitation design that you like, then click the VIEW SUITE link to see all your options. By selecting a suite, all your stationery – from your save-the-dates to your thank you cards – will have a central theme, and you’ll save money by purchasing everything you need at once. Once you’ve made your selection there are a number of add-ons available, such as belly bands and envelope liners, to help you create the perfect stationery package.

wedding paper divas invitation suite

In addition to all their great add-ons, Wedding Paper Divas also offers premium printing options, including letterpress and thermography, to help further customize the look of your stationery. Letterpress printing, with its impressed lettering and design, will add a timeless and luxurious look and feel to your invitations, while thermography printing will make your design jump off the page with its raised effect – either way, your invitations will look like a million bucks, but at a fraction of the cost. We call that a win-win!

wedding paper divas invitation suite

To get started on your suite, click here, and find your wedding style!

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7 Awesome Ideas for Group Shots

Wedding group shots are quite often hit and miss. It can be a nightmare to coordinate everyone, as well as trying to avoid it looking too cheesy. For a smaller gathering, you can work with your photographer to capture these beautiful moments with your loved ones in an artistic way. Whether you’re looking for shot ideas for your wedding party or your entire guest list, we’ve picked out seven ideas to inspire you.

1. The ‘All-In’ Portrait

If you are having a small wedding, get your photographer to take a shot of everyone on your guest list. It will be a wonderful keepsake in the years to come.

wedding guests

2. The Seated Shot 

Chairs, benches – even a dock, can make for a great photo composition.

wedding bridemaids photo

3. The Huddle

What better way to display your affection for your bridesmaids (or your family), than with a group hug?

huddle bridesmaids

4. Back to the Camera

Sometimes all it takes to add some interest to a photograph is to switch up the angle. This shot shows off the back of the dresses, and of course celebrates your friendship.

back wedding bridesmaids

5. Casual Poses

Forget trying to arrange your guests in a stiff format of height order or color coordination. This is such a simple idea that looks great. Use the different elements around you to create different layers of height in your image.


6. Behind The Scenes

We all know that the best images usually come from your photographer snapping away whilst you’re getting on with the day. Getting dressed with your friends is a classic image, especially for those who are really not in favor of posing.


7. Waist Up 

Share the love, with this cute shot. From the waist up, all eyes are on the couple and the scenery in the background is really at its best.


Photo one: rocknrollbride.com; Photo two: Frosted Petticoat; Photo three:Belle the Magazine; Photo four: Lindsay Madden; Photo five: jamespaulcorreia.com; Photo six: stylemepretty.com; Photo seven: davidrobertson.com.au

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Montego Bay’s Hidden Gem, Round Hill Hotel and Villas

Are you looking for breathtaking views, a romantic setting, as well as unparalleled service and accommodation for your dream destination wedding? Then look no further than Round Hill Hotel and Villas in Jamaica. Located in beautiful Montego Bay – with easy air access from major international cities, Round Hill is a hidden gem of a venue with spectacular views of the Caribbean Sea and the tropical rainforest.

Round Hill Resort

If an intimate atmosphere and dedicated service is what you’re after, Round Hill offers assured exclusivity that your wedding is the only for the weekend. Their on-site planners and hospital staff are there to provide stress-free planning and personalized service, making sure your every need is attended to during your stay.

bride portait at Round Hill Resort

The resort can accommodate anywhere from 2 up to 150 guests and offers a variety of venues for you to say I do – from golden sand beaches on the Caribbean Sea to the Hanover Terrace with its stunning views of the rainforest.

Round Hill Resort

Whether you choose one of the resort’s luxurious private villas with a swimming pool and dedicated staff or a Ralph Lauren inspired Oceanfront Hotel Room that opens to the Caribbean Sea or the Infinity Pool, your stay at Round Hill Hotel and Villas is one you won’t soon forget!

round hill pool round hill wedding

To learn more about what the resort has to offer – including an award winning chef and culinary team, exceptional services and wedding packages, and value added benefits available only to wedding couples – check out the Round Hill Hotel and Villas Website and their Facebook page.


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Photo Five: James Christianson

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