One of the most challenging items on any wedding planning to-do list is finding the perfect venue. After a year or so of checking out ski lodges, campgrounds, and event spaces for their June 2019 wedding, Maj-Britt and Jeff felt discouraged…until the fateful day she visited her parents’ Northern California home and its surrounding redwoods.
“My mom said, ‘Come out here to the clearing—I want to show you something,'” says Maj-Britt. “When we got there, we looked around and she said, ‘What if you got married here?’ It was this aha moment. Planning a wedding wasn’t something I was super excited about, but then you start thinking about the day and what you would want. We wanted to choose our caterer, we didn’t want to have to end the party too early, we wanted people to be able to stay near the venue, and we wanted BOOZE!
“It was awesome—we could have everything we wanted. It would be more work planning and coordinating, but in the end it was obviously worth it. I never really dreamed about what my wedding would be like but, if I had, I think it would have been exactly what it was.”
When we arrived, their friend/coordinator Tara and her crew were busily transforming the grounds while our bride and groom got ready. We marveled at the many DIY touches, such as the cool Welcome sign Maj-Britt’s stepdad made, the seating chart that featured our couple’s favorite San Francisco bars, and the typewriter guestbook station (“I’ve been toting that typewriter around since college,” says Maj-Britt, “and the doilies were made by my great-grandmother”). The time-worn cake topper from her grandparents’ wedding was a lovely addition to their elegant, semi-naked, three-tier cake garnished with flowers.
Before we knew it, it was time for Maj-Britt and Jeff’s first look. Our bride was stunning in her black two-piece ensemble, which contrasted her shimmering blond hair and red lips beautifully. Our groom complemented her nicely in a similarly dark outfit accented with a snappy bowtie and vest.
The ceremony, in the clearing nestled among the redwoods, elicited much laughter and tears. Since their officiant was a Dudeist, a sprinkling of Big Lebowski references, including the drinking of White Russians, rounded out the heartfelt words. Everyone cracked up when Jeff took a moment to tip their ringbearer Tiger as he presented the silver case that was handcuffed to him.
The reception was equally emotional as family and friends shared poignant and revealing stories about the newlyweds. Says Maj-Britt, “Some favorite moments include my Uncle Robert busting out the wedding song from The Godfather. I also loved our first dance song, ‘The Killing Moon,’ by Echo and the Bunnymen. I pretty much loved all the music our DJ played!”
In addition to Uncle Robert’s impromptu serenade, Jeff’s longtime friend Erin lit up the night with her impressive fire-dancing skills. What a way to end an incredible day! Here’s how the day went down.
Bride’s dress: Shein (top), Stylish Bride Accs (skirt)
Bride’s lace-up sandals: Valentino Garavani
Bride’s rings: Ring Jewellery (engagement), My Mika Jewelry (wedding)
Groom’s outfit: Theory (shirt), Topman (pants), Anatoly & Sons (bowtie; Oakland)
Groom’s shoes: Johnston & Murphy
Groom’s ring: Fisher’s Custom Design Jewelry
Caterer: Local Harvest Catering (Scotts Valley)
Flowers: Dandelion Flowers
Cake: The Buttery (Santa Cruz)
Table/chair rentals: Alexis Party Rental (Santa Cruz)
DJ: Greg Gioia
Fire dancer: Erin Shrader