Romantic California Wedding in the Redwoods

Quite often, our breath gets taken away by some aspect (or two) of a wedding. A captivating photo, a brilliant wedding dress, or even a delectable wedding cake that looks like it belongs at the Louvre rather than a wedding reception. This time around, thanks to the magnificent eyes and lens of Bethany Carlson, it's an entire wedding venue. It still is just mind-blowing that trees like this exist, and it's the backyard of many of our readers. If you're lucky enough to head to the Sequoia Retreat Center in California, please do and soak in the majesty of the tall and old Redwoods.

Before you do that, get your fill of Marissa and Connor's wedding as a precursor. This Louisiana guy and California girl met through the vastness of the wide world of dating apps and they haven't looked back since. Mango Muse Events and Bonny Doon Garden Company had their talents entwined throughout, but really, with a location like this, all you need to do is add a dash of your own magic and let the rest come together beautifully. And it certainly did.

How did you meet?

Connor and I met online through the app OK Cupid. He sent me a message Saturday night, and I happened to be visiting family nearby to where he lived so we met Sunday morning for coffee at an iconic Seattle coffeehouse (Starbucks). We've been together ever since!

What is your proposal story?

Connor took me to Point Lobos on the coast of California to celebrate our two year dating anniversary. He told me to dress up for dinner and that he wanted to take me for a walk on a paved path beforehand. Turns out it wasn't paved, but it was beautiful and the rain and clouds parted just at the time he insisted we had to go. He took me to a beautiful overlook and got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.

He had so much emotion in his voice, he could barely get the words out. Following this special moment, photographers who had been following us took some photos of us while I tried to wrap my head around what was going on. The best part was the rainbow behind us, he couldn't have planned it any better. Now whenever my engagement ring catches the light and reflects a rainbow, it feels like a bit of our engagement day is still with me.

Tell us a little a bit about your wedding.

We love trees and mountains so we chose to get married in the Santa Cruz mountains surrounded by Redwoods. We wanted our guests to be awed by the natural beauty, delighted by the food and drinks and to have an awesome time dancing to our band. With the help of our amazing planner Jamie (Mango Muse Events) we accentuated the beautiful spot with lots of naturally beautiful things.

What were your favorite parts of the day?

I loved seeing Connor's face during our first look. Even though he sees me every day and always tells me I'm beautiful, he was full of emotion (again) when he saw me in my wedding dress.

I loved watching our “flower kiddos” weave their way down the aisle. It's my favorite video clip, I watch it over and over. They were just so cute!

Dancing like crazy to our amazing band and packing up desserts to take home and eat over the next week was an awesome way to end the night.

Do you have any advice for couples planning their weddings now?

At the end of the day, to us it was about our closest community witnessing and supporting an amazing start to our married life. So we really focused on our ceremony, what marriage meant to us and the life we wanted together and I would encourage others to focus on these aspects as well. The party was secondary but focused on the experience we wanted for our guests who were traveling a long way to be with us.

Photography: Bethany Carlson | Venue: Sequoia Retreat Center | Floral: Bonny Doon Garden Company | Wedding Planning: Mango Muse Events | Stationery: Minted | Rentals: Alexis Party Rentals | Rentals: AM Party Rentals | Hair: Katie Keller | Makeup: Christopher Turgeman Tolentino | Transportation: SubShuttle | Band: John Brothers Band | Guitarist: David O'Connor | DJ: Sound in Motion Entertainment | Officiant: Inner Light Ceremonies | Photo Booth: Giggle and Riot | Videography: David McGladdery | Signage: Marry Me Paper Boutique | Groom's Attire: Banana Republic | Bride's Shoes: Ed by Ellen DeGeneres | Bridesmaid Dresses: Weddington Way | Headpiece: Bonny Doon Garden Company | Wedding Dress: Maggie Sottero | Submitted via: Matchology