As the ceremony was nearing its conclusion in the middle of this mystical redwood forest, I knew that I wanted to capture 'the kiss' from a distance in order to show some of the context of the forest. So, I scrambled up through the gorge over slippery rocks and downed trees (with two cameras in hand!). I got to my spot just in time and turned around to see this magical scene.
The wedding ceremony site was in the middle of an incredible and massive redwood grove. As the ceremony started, I knew I needed to create a few images that showed the majesty and beauty of the entire scene.
A mystical redwood forest. Inside of a cloud. Fog and mist. A stillness nurtured everything and provided a deep sense of calm, connection, and clarity of mind. The lighting profiles were profound and ethereal.
2020 has certainly been a year of adaptation. We dodge, adjust, regroup, problem solve, make difficult decisions, and we persevere. And that's what led us to this magical place for Sage and Jonny's wedding. This wasn't their plan A, but we adjusted and persevered. And plan B turned out to be exceptional.
The ceremony (including two children and three adults plus myself) was in an ancient and brilliant redwood forest near Stinson Beach on the west side of Mt. Tam in Marin County, California. After their original wedding plans had to change due to the pandemic, I helped Sage and Jonny to find this stunning new location for their elopement.
Literally, we'd been in a severe drought here for more than a year. It hadn't rained a drop in months. And after all the pandemic adjustments and change of plans, it rained the entire day. We were literally inside of a giant cloud the whole day. Visibility was often limited to about 50ft.
For most, the rain predicament would have been insult to injury. But, for Sage and Jonny it was a gift. Through their adventurous spirits and positive attitudes, we all quickly came to realize how special and unique the fog/rain/cloudy conditions truly were.
The wedding party set up a portable table and had some drinks and food, danced, swung on a swing hanging from the tree’s branches, and played games - including potato sack races and three-legged races.
This was one of the most touching and beautiful elopements I've ever had the honor to photograph.
Redwood Forest Stinson Beach CA elopement image of The flower girl and ring bearer walking across an old mossy wooden bridge
The flower girl and ring bearer walk across an old mossy wooden bridge next to the ceremony site in a mystical redwood forest. Flynn in the middle with the bowtie is so pleased with his flower petal toss. Sage looks on from behind.
Stinson Beach, Marin County, CA elopement image of The ceremony in an ancient and brilliant redwood forest
The ceremony was in an ancient and brilliant redwood forest near Stinson Beach on the west side of Mt. Tam in Marin County, California. After a year-long drought, it rained all day on Sage and Jonny's wedding day. Here Jonny helps to carry Sage's dress along a stretch of muddy trail adjacent to the ceremony site.
Getting to the ceremony site was no easy task. We had to trek through muddy conditions, scramble over wet mossy boulders and downed trees through and across meandering creek beds. It was well worth the effort. Redwood forests have a way of filling you up with the essence and energy of life.
Redwood forest wedding image of The groom about to put the ring on the brides finger in CA
During the exchanging of the rings Jonny's five-year-old son, Flynn, offered a beautiful expression of love to his new Mom (Sage). Literally, at the moment Jonny was about to put the ring on Sage's finger, Flynn approached for a kiss and this is the moment. I love that the flower girl is peaking around Flynn's shoulder from behind and smirking. This is such a fabulous moment.
Redwood Forest Foggy Wedding photo from The reception located at about a 1.5-mile hike from the ceremony site
The "reception" was located at about a 1.5-mile hike from the ceremony site. In a misting rain, we walked, eventually emerging from the dense and glorious redwood forest. We were living inside a cloud. Literally. This magnificent Coastal Live Oak tree became our refuge. Hanging from its branches on one side was an old wooden swing. I noticed Sage, Jonny, and their five-year-old son, Flynn, playing on the swing and decided to run back up the trail a ways so that I could gain this perspective. The dense fog really adds to the mystique of this gorgeous moment.
Marin County, CA Outdoor elopement image of the first dance underneath the grandmother of Coastal Live Oak Trees
Sage and Jonny had their first dance underneath the grandmother of Coastal Live Oak Trees on a cliff's edge overlooking the Pacific Ocean. On this day we were literally inside of a misting cloud of fog, adding an ethereal element to everything. During their dance, their five-year-old son, Flynn, picked up a crooked stick that looked like a magic wand from Harry Potter. He began conducting their first dance. It was precious and hilarious. At the end, he waved his wand and said "now you kiss." And this was the moment.
Magical Fog Redwood Forest Wedding image of Toasting drinks from a portable table underneath a massive Live Oak Tree
Sage and Jonny set up a portable table underneath a massive Live Oak Tree on a cliff's edge near Stinson Beach in Marin County, CA. They had drinks and food and played games. Here they are toasting with their close friends in a lovely moment of celebration.
California Forest Elopement image of a three-legged-race during the wedding reception party
Sage and Flynn participate in a three-legged-race during the reception party.
Coastal Live Oak Tree, Stinson Beach in Marin County, CA elopement image from a potato sack race
Here, Flynn and his father, Jonny, compete together during a potato sack race.