“It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.”

–   Robert Louis Stevenson


Breathing in the air of the Santa Cruz forests is at once invigorating and calming. The spectacular redwoods reach towards the azure sky and a gentle breeze tickles their needle-like leaves as they dance merrily in the rays of sunlight. Birds sing sweet tunes and chirp rhythmically, creating an ethereal symphony of sound that spreads throughout the forest like a gentle lullaby.

It’s no wonder that our majestic redwood forests draw countless couples to say their vows among them every year. The naturally beautiful, peaceful, and enchanting setting makes for the perfect backdrop for a soulful ceremony of love that will change the spirit forever.

And while the idea of a forest wedding in Santa Cruz is certainly idyllic, it can present some challenges in the planning process. Being aware of these potential challenges in advance, however, allows you to turn them into opportunities. So how can you ensure that your forest wedding day is as seamless and stress-free as possible while being all that you envisioned and more? Knowing what to look for in a forest venue and understanding how to decorate an outdoor space is key when it comes to planning the perfect day.

What to Look for in Forest Wedding Venues, Santa Cruz

It’s easy to be enchanted by nature’s sheer beauty and perfection, but when it comes to choosing a forest wedding venue, it’s important to look at your options with a critical eye. Finding the perfect combination of beautiful and functional is necessary for a seamless and stress-free day.

Here are some important things to consider when choosing a forest wedding venue:

<> Rain plan: As much as we can hope it won’t happen, it is totally possible that you could get some drizzles on your wedding day. It’s therefore wise to choose a venue that has a backup plan for rain reduce pre-wedding stress about the weather. Whether it’s a beautiful indoor venue on-site that the ceremony could easily be moved to or a bunch of colorful umbrellas that you and your guests can use, make sure the venue has a rain plan that you are comfortable with. Remember, some spaces may have a canopy that can provide enough shelter from the rain.

<> Natural light: Choosing a venue with the right amount of natural light to suit your tastes is key to having great photos and a nice atmosphere. Be sure to ask the venue what the light is like during your wedding month and during the time of day you plan to have the ceremony. Perhaps you envision a darker forest with only a little light peeking in, or maybe you love the look of plenty of sun coming through the trees. Either way, make sure the lighting will be consistent with your vision so that your photos have the aesthetic you desire.

<> Appropriate seating for guests: The space you end up choosing should reflect roughly the number of seats you need for your guests. Having forty guests seated in a clearing that holds 250 may not be the best choice (and vice versa). That being said, some venues do a great job of adjusting the space and seating as needed, so be sure to ask them how they can make the space work for a wedding of your particular size.

<> Proximity to Reception Area and/or parking: Choosing a forest venue that is easily accessible to you and your guests is key to having a stress-free and hassle-free day. Remember that you and your guests will not be dressed for long walks (hello high heels!) so the space should have a clear path leading to it as well. Finding an all-inclusive venue with reception spaces on the same property is a great choice for forest weddings because everyone can transition from ceremony to reception with ease.

When you know what to look for in a forest wedding venue, you can make an informed decision about which venue to choose. Ideally, it should be one that combines your personal vision with these other more practical aspects that will bring your redwood wedding theme to life while still ensuring that everything runs as smoothly as possible.

Decoration Ideas for Forest Nuptials

Once you’ve settled on your venue, you can start dreaming about how to decorate the space. Luckily, forest wedding venues are already naturally beautiful, so less is more when it comes to decor.

Here are some basic decoration ideas to consider for your forest wedding:

<> A natural color palette: Let the neutral hues of the forest inspire you when it comes to choosing a color palette. Muted, cool tones tend to work better than rich, warm, primary colors. Antique burgundy, dusty rose, and cream pair well the shades found naturally in the redwood forests. Just be sure to use whatever colors you choose as little pops of color so they don’t overwhelm the natural setting.

<> An antique archway: Having a beautiful arch to stand under while exchanging your vows not only makes for pretty pictures, it makes a big forest space feel more intimate. Rustic arches made of distressed wood decorated with wildflowers look stunning against the redwoods.

<> Flower petals: Instead of having bouquets of flowers lining the aisle, consider scattering each side of the aisle with flower petals for a graceful, romantic feel. Let the flower girls work their magic! The less manicured the floral details are, the more effortless your whole aesthetic will seem.

<> Creative seating ideas: Given the rustic, natural setting, forest weddings call for something other than chairs when it comes to seating. Consider long antique looking benches or logs on either side of the aisle for guests to sit on. Or, if you don’t have too many guests, have them stand in a semi-circle facing you, your fiance, and the officiant.

Creating a wedding Pinterest board for your wedding is a great way to gather inspiration for the aesthetics of your big day. This way you can start seeing a cohesive vision come together—from forest-themed wedding favors to your woodland fairy-inspired bridesmaids dresses.

Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind when it comes to your forest wedding is that you find a venue that is willing to work with you to bring your vision to life. From handling the practical aspects of the ceremony to helping you create your desired aesthetic with decorations, an all-inclusive venue is definitely your best choice when it comes to a forest wedding in Santa Cruz. Not only will you have a planner who will walk with you on your planning journey and coordinate on the big day, you’ll be able to rest assured that your forest wedding will be seamless and stress-free. That way you can truly give the forest and your fiance the presence and mindfulness they both so deserve.

Kennolyn offers a stunning forest wedding venue in the Santa Cruz mountains. To find out more about our all-inclusive packages, contact us today.


Photo source: Unsplash user Artsy Vibes

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