(The) Wedding is Coming…
Megan + Mike’s Northern California Redwood Wedding at his family home in the Anderson Valley was EPIIIIIC! This gorgeous redwood filled sprawling estate was the backdrop for a whimsical Game Of Thrones/Offbeat/Foodie/ Colorful themed wedding. With an out of this world style combo the stage was set for one hell of a #redwoodwedding!
The Groom: Mike, TV writer, producer and foodie.
Pretty freaking magical already isn’t it?
Northern California Redwood Wedding Details:
Full transparency- this one of the most logistically challenging weddings I have ever planned. Not because of the amount of detail that went into it (and there was a bunch!) but the actual location of the wedding itself. Let me explain more. The family home that had been owed for generations was gorgeous; tucked away off a small dirt road and hidden from sight. It’s is off the beaten path and miles away from the next big city. Walking onto the property was like escaping into a magical forest. No joke!
As a Southern California city girl, I was transported into the pure and unadulterated nature of Northern California. It was literally breathtaking. The sprawling lawn which would be the layout for the ceremony and reception dropped off into a creek that ran gently along side huge banks of redwood trees. The cool breeze from the water ran through the high grass-filled area with a dewy mist. It reminded me of scenes from one of my favorite childhood books, A Wrinkle In Time.
Pure Silence. Blue skies. Tall Trees. Fresh air. It was truly magical!
So where is the “logistical challenge” you ask? Although the location was stunning, it was, for all event intensive purposes, in the middle of nowhere.
Where in the heck are we?!
Here are the Northern California Redwood Wedding stats. Boonville is the small town that the property sits in. This is within the Anderson Valley of Northern California. To give you a geographic perspective, Boonville is a 2.5 hour drive (115 miles) from San Francisco and a 7.5 hour drive (490 miles) from Los Angeles. Keep in mind that is if there is NO traffic!
No traffic in LA or SF? LOL!
Both the couple and myself live in Los Angeles. This meant planning a wedding remotely from over 500 miles away! Finding all the vendors (rentals, lighting, catering, service staff, bartenders, decor delivery), planning a layout, designing and coordinating all came from my office in Los Angeles sans 2 trips up to the property in person before the big day. Safe to say, Anything But Gray Events loves a challenge! While planning a luxury, destination wedding in an area without your favorite vendors and contacts can be tricky, the incredible results speak for themselves. This Northern California Redwood Wedding was perfectly unique and lived up to all it’s hype. And in the end, I planned, I learned, I got a little muddy but I conquered NorCal!
The biggest challenges for me as the wedding planner were two fold. Finding professional and reliable vendors that would travel to this small town was the biggest hurdle. I spend many afternoons on the phone with NorCal companies in the beginning stages of planning hearing a lot of, “We don’t go that far”, “That is out of our jurisdiction” and just plain, “No way!”. One rental company in Oakland even said to me, “Boonville? Where is that?”. It took a lot of creativity (and pleading in some cases) to put together the amazing vendor team that could pulled off a colorful Game of Thrones themed wedding. I mean, California Sister Floral Design drove over 75 miles from their shop in Sebastopol to deliver the florals.
Team work makes the dream work!
The second part was translating all of the couples ideas and ideals into what could realistically take place with 150 guests in a remote location. As planners, we wear many hats don’t we? We want to make the client(s) happy while also being realistic to what is feasible given time, money, location and expectations while also setting ourselves up to succeed. Not always easy. It’s all a balancing act to find that sweet spot that can bring an event of this magnitude to life. This is where my 10 years of stage management experience really are able to shine.
It took lots of time, love, dedication, sweat and some ugly tears to pull off this #redwoodwedding. For those of you that think wedding planning is an easy, fluffy and low-key profession, think again! BUT, when you see all the hard work, months of planning and creative vision come together in a raw, blank space, it’s pretty darn rewarding too.
The ceremony decor was kept to a very minimum to highlight the natural beauty of the surrounding trees and the sound of the flowing creek below. Rustic, cross backed wood chairs nestled perfectly into the space. Simplicity was the key.
These killer Miu Miu Shoes found by the bride’s wardrobe stylist, Kimmy Erin, acted as Megan’s “something blue” plus gave this petite bride a boost!
Megan went into the custom dress shop — RMINE in Studio City — and said, “I want a dress that looks like a unicorn sneezed on it.” Rmine created this magic hand dip dyed and painted gown that paired so nicely with the textural ombre bouquet from California Sister Floral Design.
Don’t you hold your cards in a a vintage AT-AT? All the nerd-chic details were on point.
To keep with the Game of Thrones theme…
One of the speciality cocktails was the “Arya Snark,” which included a champagne gummy bear with a sword, that fizzed in a kir royal. It’s a Game of Thrones themed wedding after all. There has to be some swords.
Some guests played corn hole while others explored the property taking short, “nature walks” along the creek. As you can probably imagine, comfy shoes were encouraged!
Guests were sworn to a house upon arrival at dinner with personalized custom wine stoppers.
A quick stop in the ‘All Men Must Dine’ photo booth before heading into the reception. This interactive photo booth was created by Altar Image Photography incorporating a giant print that lives in the couple’s home.
One of my (many) favorite parts of this Northern California Redwood Wedding was the table designs. Each table was named a la Game of Thrones after something important in Megan + Mike’s lives. California Sister Floral Design helped us create complimentary floral and vegetable centerpieces that reflected each theme.
Megan starred on the show Knotslanding as an infant.
Megan’s mother lives in Maui.
She is a Trojan. He is a Bruin. We separated those tables.
Post wedding night, Megan + Mike along with their wedding party and families took all the vegetables out of the floral arrangements (asparagus, cabbage, mushrooms, radishes, onions, eggplant, artichokes ect.) and grilled them up for a delicious family dinner. Talk about repurposing!
Dinner + Dessert:
Dining is very important to this foodie couple. They chose a mixture of traditional catering passed appetizers with a Game of Thrones undertone at cocktail hour and 2 food trucks for their guest’s dining experience at the reception. Spicy Fried Chicken n’ Waffles, Mac and Cheese, Collard Greens, Sliders and Sweet Potato fries rounded out the menu. Comfort food is always a crowd pleaser!
Forking and Spooning since 2015.
‘All Men Must Dine’ menus. Are you sensing a trend here?
The driveway at the #redwoodhouse was so steep we were afraid that the food trucks would not be able to get down to the bottom of the hill where we were serving dinner safely. When I flew up to Boonville for our walk through I took a video (while driving 3 miles an hour) down the driveway then sent the video to the Me So Hungry and The Roost trucks to make sure they approved. Success! When it comes to designing and planning a private residence wedding, you need to think (and plan) for all the worst case scenarios. It’s about thinking 10 steps ahead at all times.
Smitten Ice Cream wowed adults and children alike with a liquid nitrogen ice cream bar with all the fixins’!
When in nature, eat S’mores!
Megan + Mike’s advice to couples planning a wedding,
” Hire a great wedding planner and photographer and chill the f*ck out! My first hire: Wild About You Photography. My second: Anything But Gray Events. And that kick-ass combo resulted in a near-perfect wedding.”
I mean, come on, you know it’s a kick ass wedding if at the end of the night, someone just chucks their bra on the table!
Cheers to Megan + Mike and the Northern California Redwood Wedding!
Check out more of this one of a kind Northern California Redwood Wedding featured on Offbeat Bride.
Wedding planner: Anything But Gray Events
Photographer: Wild About You Photography
Photo booth: Altar Image Photography
Venue: Redwood House in the Anderson Valley
Bride’s dress: custom-made & painted by RMINE
Wardrobe stylist: Kimmy Erin
Hair color: Sirens Salon
Hair styling & makeup: Raina Antle
Catering: Bruxo Food Truck
Chicken and Waffles: The Waffle Roost
Sliders: Me So Hungry Too
Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream: Smitten
Flowers: California Sister Floral Design
Wedding programs & stationery: Minted
DJ: DJ Crimson
Videography: Share the Road Videography
Luxury restrooms: Fancy Flush
Rentals: PTE Rentals
Cornhole boards: JTBs Woodwork