I’ve been part of well over one hundred weddings, but this one will be particularly memorable for three reasons: 1) Kaylee and Aaron had their DIY forest wedding in a “cathedral in the forest” with a massive rock wall as their backdrop, 2) the last time I was at a wedding in the woods, it was my own wedding so I’m ridiculously biased to the forest vibe, 3) a harvest table reception in a wooded field is second to none and I AM SO EXCITED to share with you the elegance and nostalgia of this reception.
Not only are Kaylee and Aaron adventurous troopers (have you seen their pouring rain engagement photos?), they are roam-the-world nomads who have basically been to every country you can imagine…TOGETHER! (Slight exaggeration, but they met Down Under, backpacked Europe together, explored Asia, and roadtripped across North America. And that’s just the highlights!
Watching a pair like this love marrying each other is exactly why I love being a wedding photographer. Cheesy? Yes. Eye-rolling cliche? Maybe. But absolutely true? Definitely.
Most specifically, though, I love watching a pair like this love their friends and family . . . and watching their friends and family love them! I can only begin to piece together the amount of work that went into planning and setting up a DIY forest wedding — from a handmade cupcake stand to homemade signs to a custom woodburned ring box to handtied bouquets to strung globe lights above the reception tables to homemade appetizers. DIY weddings are no small feat and doing it in a forest is even more rigorous; but everything was worthwhile when you see how fabulous it all came together.
Please notice the mirrored door on a wooded path. Kaylee walked about a kilometer through the forest (let’s call it what it is: a hike in a wedding dress!) and then hid behind this door until she made her grand entrance.
And the rock? The forest? The archway? Be still my beauty-loving heart!
Before the ceremony (I’m jumping around on the timeline because of how much I love this ceremony site and decided to show it off first!), we took bridal party photos in Sunshine Valley and at the Hope Slide Viewpoint. What these photos don’t showcase is how vicious the wind is; all you need to know is that I had mascara smudged above AND below my lashes when I got back in the car after the windy round of photos. You should also know that the bridal party didn’t seem to have similar problems, so Steph Young’s makeup artistry was wicked enduring and deserving of excessive praise. =D
(I almost traded my camera in for my cell phone so I could make a boomerang…I probably should’ve to showcase the whipping wind!)
Le swoon! How fabulous is Kaylee’s wedding dress?! (Especially in the more mild wind of the Hope Slide Viewpoint?!)
Those wispy curls are gold — figuratively and literally!
Guests walked through the forest to the reception from the ceremony and the site of these harvest tables so perfectly arranged and decorated (remember: DIY!) made the trek completely worthwhile…and my goodness as dusk settled in, those twinkle lights were magical. (Just keep scrolling. You’ll love it!)
When the first dance glow is magic.
I love the shoe game. So much.
After an emotion-full speech, Dad whisked his baby girl into the sweetest of dances and, again, the magic was real.
Of all my favorite moments of this DIY forest wedding day, the top of the list is happened while Kaylee and Aaron personally served dessert to all their guests. (One half cake line and one half receiving line, this was such a perfect way to visit with their guests AND show love to them!)
As the sun set and the firepits were lit, guests settled in for a cozy evening of friends and fun. If ever there were a more perfect way to end a wedding day, I don’t know what it would be.
If you’re eager to see EVEN MORE photos from this DIY forest wedding, check out the slideshow below! Especially note the moment that Kaylee’s veil got stuck in the bridesmaids hair…I eventually helped rescue them, but I made sure to photograph the windy fun first. 😉
So thankful for these amazing vendors who helped craft a beautiful, delicious, and memorable day for Kaylee and Aaron!
Dress: Everything but the Groom
Catering: Culinary Touch Catering
Makeup Artist: Young Makeup Artistry
Photography: Jenni Marie Photography