What better way to experience a California wedding than under the canopy of redwood trees? Northern California is full of sequoia and redwood groves, amazing forested wedding venues that lend themselves to incredible fairytale woodland landscapes and breathtaking photos. From Mendocino County all the way down to Carmel, you'll be sure to find the forested venue of your dreams.
Deer Park Villa is no exception, and in fact, is among the most iconic examples of what a romantic redwood wedding can really be. With lights strung up in a redwood grove during a dramatic dusk ceremony, you can't really get much more dreamy than that.
A Florist In the Making
This real wedding story is near and dear to our hearts at Succulents for Hire because of our close relationship with the bride. Gina and I (Toni) went to the same grad school a few years apart, and she was one of my interns at my job in my previous life. When I decided to leave to pursue a more creative career, I hired her to take over my role. When I told her about my plans to make succulent arrangements, she said, "I'm not engaged yet, but when I get married, I want you to do my flowers."
It had never occurred to me to do weddings with succulents at that point back in 2017, but I said, "Ok, sure!" and went on my merry way. The idea banged around in my head for a while though, so I started doing a little research and began playing with the idea in earnest the following year.
I had my first wedding clients in October of 2018, and when Gina told me she was engaged, I couldn't wait to start planning flowers for her and Scott's big day. I feel incredible gratitude toward Gina for planting that first seed of this exciting business I've created and couldn't be happier for this genuinely sweet couple.
The Event Space: Deer Park Villa
Tucked away in San Francisco's North Bay in a little town called Fairfax (Marin County), this venue holds up to 650 people. There's an indoor area where most couples opt to have their dancefloor, but the redwood canopied ceremony site outside is one to behold. This wedding was in the 100-200 guest range, which felt perfect for the intimate and welcoming style of this couple's ceremony.
The typical set up at DPV is for both the ceremony and wedding reception to take place in the redwood grove, moving folks inside or onto the covered deck for cocktail hour while the staff and caterers switch the area over from ceremony to reception.
We stuck around to help with the transformation because each centerpiece required a little onsite composition and needed to be arranged just so. We went with an eclectic array of bottle clusters and gold mercury glass votives for every table. And we were thrilled to see that the arch would double as a backdrop to the sweetheart table. Guests took photos under it all night.
Welcome to This Special Day
As guests approached the wedding location, they were escorted in through a wrought iron gate flanked by two wine barrels, which were adorned with decorative glass vessels displaying draping amaranth, coral and orange roses, and greenery. Guests grabbed their programs and little vials of bubbles for the post-ceremony send-off.
The gift table featured vertical succulent garden initials, G and S, for the bride and groom. These gardens make for such a lovely personal touch, as the succulents are rooted in soil and will continue to grow and be happy hanging on their wall at home for years to come. They will serve as a reminder of their special day and grow alongside their little family.
Wedding Ceremony Decor
Deer Park Villa provides an arch for couples to use, so we decorated that onsite with a cascade of succulents, peach and coral dahlias, roses, Hypericum berries, draping amaranth, and blue eryngium. We also used a few different kinds of flowing eucalyptus greenery to frame the draping amaranth and succulent pops at the center of the composition. This look was dripping with romance and remains one of our favorite onsite pieces we've ever created.
Gina and her mom put together the aisle decor and provided the tulle fabric for draping around the arch. We flanked the aisle entrance with large wood box planters that sat atop brick columns for height. Gina's father did a beautiful job officiating the wedding, offering words of wisdom, support, and love, and cracking a few jokes too. It was clear throughout the whole day that Gina has a special bond with both of her parents.
Gold Dust and Whimsy
Our bride wanted gold everywhere. We did a pre-wedding floral consult in the Succulents for Hire garden, and we went over all the options for how we could incorporate gold into the look. We opted for gold mercury glass votives for the tables, gold ribbon on the handle of her bouquet, and even went as far as painting the tips of some of her succulents gold and frosting some of the greenery gold as well. We decorated the "&" between the vertical gardens with gold detailing too, just for fun.
The word that kept coming up over and over again throughout the consult was whimsical. The goal was for the whole design to be light and whimsical, forest nymph-inspired with some gold fairy dust and magic. This couple didn't have a wedding party, so we really wanted the bridal bouquet to take center stage with this fun, fairytale feel.
She wore an off-the-shoulder, floor-length boho-style wedding dress by Grace Loves Lace and a Grecian gold pin in her hair for a very simple down-do and natural makeup. The look allowed her true beauty to shine through, framed in gold and a muted summer palette.
This wedding day encompassed all of the feelings we were reaching for with a natural flow and movement. The amaranth fell perfectly everywhere we used it, from her bouquet to the arch decor to the smaller accents in the welcome area and on the dining tables. It was a redwood forest wedding that managed to straddle bohemian and glam in the perfect mix of rustic and shine.
Your California Redwood Wedding
Whether you're looking for a blowout bash, an intimate wedding, or an elopement, you have your pick of amazing redwood venues in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. You can go as far north as Mendocino, Sonoma, Napa, or Marin and as far south as Los Gatos, Halfmoon Bay, Big Sur, or the Santa Cruz mountains to find an array of private estates, state parks, or other public lands filled with redwood groves where you can tie the knot on your special day.
If you're planning a destination wedding, your guests will have their pick of gorgeous hotels and quaint BnBs to stay, and most venues offer multi-day packages that can accommodate rehearsal dinners and post-wedding brunches as well.
Flowers That Last Forever
Beyond their incredible beauty and versatility, succulents make the most of your wedding investment because they don't die when you cut them. This couple saved all their plants and made gorgeous planters and will enjoy them alongside their vertical letter gardens for years to come.
Whether you're planning to save by choosing just a few floral pieces or going all out for your wedding day flowers, including succulents will help you maximize your investment.
Local brides have the option of letting us take over the replanting process to create a gorgeous arrangement to enjoy long after the party is over. Or, if you're not local, we'll send care and replanting instructions with your order so that you can plant everything yourself.
If you haven't taken a look around our wedding and event floral offerings, please do that now and set up a time to chat with us and find out if your wedding date is still open on our calendar.
San Francisco Bay Area Wedding Vendors
The team who helped make this special day happen was top notch:
Venue: Deer Park Villa (@dpvweddings)
Day-of Coordinator: Marissa Poulin (@healthylivingwithadhd)
Photographer: Vivian Chen Photography (@vivianchenweddings)
Florist: Succulents for Hire (@succulentsforhire)
Hair and Makeup: Melanie Lane (@avalanehairdressing)
Catering and Rentals: Cater Marin (@catermarin)
Dress: Grace Loves Lace (@grace_loves_lace)