Private California Redwoods Elopement

Michelle Larralde Photography

April 29, 2024

Shelby and Jill eloped in the California Redwoods, surrounded by nature. They said their vows privately with the trees around them before heading to the clifftops for photos and a private picnic. The day was fuss and stress-free and exactly what they wanted it to be.

“I wanted to channel my mother (both of our mothers have passed)”, Shelby told us when we asked about the inspiration for their day. “She grew up as a Cali girl, always on the beach. Jill and I have a love for the water and cliffs and people who take photos on top of them. I wanted everything to be ‘clean’, but effortless looking. Modern dress with timeless touches like gloves and pearls. Nothing too flashy. The picnic was neural colours, too.”

Their self-solemnized ceremony was an intimate affair, it was just the two of them reading vows they’d written to each other. “We didn’t want to get lost in the production of things,” they shared. “Our vows, written separately, were are basically the same (even down to the same 50 Cent song lyrics!) There wasn’t any music playing, just us two standing in the middle of the trees with two videographers, one photographer, and a couple standing on their back porch watching it from afar. It was the weirdest and coolest experience ever.”

The “reception” was equally intimate, just the of them enjoying a picnic with a view. Before their elopement, they held a ‘send off party’ with close family and friends, featuring lawn games and 2000s throwback hits, but this was just for them. They toasted their marriage with an $8 bottle of champagne.

“The one thing I wish I knew before we did this was that you can never be completely prepared”, Shelby said. “No matter how many brides you ask, how many blogs or books you read, there’s going to be something that pops up or you didn’t think of that’s out of your control. I would have hired a wedding planner. We are thankful to our videographer for taking the reins and my photographer and aunt that helped coordinate with the venue, but it shouldn’t have been thrown in their lap. Even when I arrived a couple days early, every day was a challenge or something went wrong. I’d just suggest to other couples to be overly prepared, or just accept beforehand that things are going to happen and nothing is going to be perfect!”