Rustic Weddings Santa Cruz – how to tips and links


Don’t forget about our beautiful Santa Cruz Mountains when planning your awesome wedding.


Lots of brides and grooms want a natural setting for their wedding ceremony and what is more natural and earthy than our beautiful Santa Cruz Mountain oaks and redwood trees? Having a wedding ceremony surrounded by our towering forces of nature will inspire a feeling of being connected to the ancient vibrations; while touching sacred ground, your souls will join and all will be right on earth!
Ok well, there is a lot wrong on earth these days but for YOUR wedding day, let’s hold on to the romance, right? So how can you get married in the redwoods?

StaMrk 207

 Santa Cruz has many options to choose from to create the wedding of your  dreams while being surrounded by trees and nature. Options include having  your informal ceremony directly in the trees and then go elsewhere for your  reception OR choose one of our delightful County parks to host your wedding  and reception OR have your ceremony and celebration at one of several lush  private estates nestled in our beautiful Santa Cruz mountains.




  • Small intimate wedding celebrations can easily be created without too much hassle. Simply get your permit, go to your favorite redwood State Park, have your ceremony and then go elsewhere for your reception. Larger groups of course require more planning and a larger budget.
  • The light in and near the woods is quite different than the light in an open space or at the beach. It can often be far warmer (color temperature of the light) and your best time for flattering photos may actually be in early afternoon rather than later in the afternoon. For example, within the redwoods, the early to midafternoon light is best! That’s because the bright light on the overhead redwood tree canopy will cast a warm, flattering, soft glow over your ceremony; later in the afternoon, the overhead light will be more angled and not as bright.. Of course the further you move out from under the trees, the more the midday light will be brighter (and less flattering).
  • Rustic, barn and country style weddings are in vogue right now. There are lots of tips for this type of wedding to be found on Pinterest and Etsy as well as in your favorite bridal magazine.
  • Don’t forget to seek out the expertise of our local Party Rental companies. They can be valuable assets when planning your earthy, mountain ceremony – Alexis Party Rental and A Festive Affair are available to help with your chairs, wedding alter or arch, decorations and ideas.
  • When planning your colors, your wedding flowers (along with your bridesmaid dresses) can provide the accents of vivid color that are a MUST for contrasting with all the surrounding greenery. To help create these color accents, Boulder Creek Flowers is a great choice. Their highly experienced wedding coordinators and floral designers will help select unique arrangements that reflect your style and theme for your special day. Also, consider the amazing The Flower Ladies, they grow many of their own flowers and are a great choice for local wedding color.
  • And of course, web resources such as Video Wedding Guide are also great sources to help find photographers and caterers, many of which can offer valuable tips and info to make all your wedding day planning easier.


Small Intimate, do it Yourself

Reserve one (1) hour time in one of our 2 local redwood State parks, pay for your $125 permit, then on your special day – drive to the State park, bring in your flowers, acoustic music, photographer and guests, have your ceremony, take your photos, gather everything and everyone up, drive away and go to a local restaurant for your reception. Henry Cowell has a lovely area off of the main Redwood Loop which provides an intimate open space under the trees for your group of 30 or less. Big Basin has a similar space at their Campfire Center. Contact Judy at or call 831 335-3455; ask her about a ‘Small Wedding Expedite’ permit at either Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park or Big Basin Redwoods State Park.


County Parks

Ben Lomond

Ben Lomond has two wonderful County Parks which are available to host your wedding day events.

Quail Hollow Ranch is the more rustic of the two and features a charming ranch house, amazing oak trees and wooded hillsides surrounding.

For larger groups, consider Highlands Park House. This beautiful park setting features a private bridal lawn, a charming arbor, brick walkway and gorgeous Northern California foliage.


Aptos also has two County Parks which are available to host your ceremony and celebration.

A favorite wedding venue,  Aptos Village Park is 10.3 acres of beautiful lush scenery including a spacious lawn surrounded by redwoods along the creek.

Another historic site which has been meticulously restored to resonate with old-fashioned California warmth and country charm is Valencia Hall. This rural Aptos site features an orchard and towering redwoods border the facility, providing a sense of privacy and seclusion on this special day.



Private Estates

Nestled in the trees just past the town of Boulder Creek is The Rivers Duck, a private rustic estate featuring 2 koi ponds and a delightful gazebo for your ceremony.  Surrounded by redwoods, this amazing park like setting can be dressed up or down to create just the ambiance you envision.

Or, get married at a family estate in Ben Lomond! Bell Hallow is a historic family estate that is perfect for your elegant celebration.

The private property includes a two-bedroom cottage, pool, dining court, bandstand, bar, majestic redwood groves, and woodland gardens.

Happy Wedding Planning!

Contact Us

  • Contact:
  • Phone:
  • Fax:
  • Email:
  • Address:
  • Visit online: