This Couple Wed Under Towering Redwoods at Santa Lucia Preserve in Carmel Valley, California
Tory and Noah selected the iconic Santa Lucia Preserve in Carmel Valley, California, for their wedding and even said "I do" surrounded by towering redwoods before celebrating with a reception packed with boho earthy tones. "The central goal of our wedding was to celebrate our love with family and friends in a way that felt intimate, joyful, and grounded in our personalities," explains Noah. "We were excited to get married at Santa Lucia Preserve because its beautiful landscape, incredible redwood grove, and spacious yet intimate barn fit perfectly with our aesthetic, which was heavily rooted in earth tones."
When it came to decorating their California wedding, Tory and Noah focused on decisions that complemented, rather than competed with, the venue's natural beauty. "We held our ceremony in a redwood grove that was pretty magnificent already, so we did not need to decorate too much because it already felt so special," shares Tory. "One fun thing we decided to do was to have a few unique and quirky sofas, loungers, and armchairs mixed in randomly throughout the ceremony seating. This decision was an homage to our small marriage ceremony that we had exactly one year before; Like many other couples over the past few years, we had to delay our wedding from the original date due to COVID. At the time, we were lucky enough to still be able to get married in a very small ceremony in my parents’ backyard, with just our immediate families. On that day, we pulled whatever sofas and armchairs we could find from around their house, and set them up in the backyard for the makeshift ceremony. We loved having this seating echoed at our larger wedding." Noah adds that "because the natural setting of our wedding was so gorgeous, we wanted the reception in the barn to mirror that with a ton of plants and flowers. Our floral designer blew us away with the arrangements and installation hanging over the dancefloor that fit exactly what we wanted: lush, abundant, and over-the-top, but in a natural and organic feeling way. The bridal bouquets followed that same aesthetic as well. Tory loves orange and wanted something earthy and bright to match the bridesmaid dresses."
In addition to planning a visually stunning wedding, Tory and Noah went about wedding planning thoughtfully and prioritized the guest experience. Notably, they gifted attendees not one, but two wedding favors. "We wrote handwritten cards to each guest at our wedding," recalls Tory. "Though it was time-consuming (we definitely got some hand cramps), it was so worth it to reflect on how grateful we are to have these individuals in our lives and to reflect on our favorite memories. Many guests mentioned how much this detail made them feel seen and included. One of our groomsmen is also an incredible potter and crafted small ramekins for us to distribute to our guests as favors."
Despite all the pomp and circumstance of the day, Tory notes that a quiet moment alone with Noah was one of her faovvite parts of the wedding. "We decided that after we walked out of the ceremony, we would pause and take 10 minutes to be alone," shares Tory. "I am so glad we did so that we could let the adrenaline drop and just check in with each other. Taking pictures at sunset also allowed us to pause and take a moment to try and savor the day." She goes on to share that another special moment from the wedding day was actually born out of a happy mishap. "One of the best parts of the evening came toward the end. Everything went so smoothly, until around 10 pm our band played their final song. We realized it was only 10 pm and that we actually had one more hour. The band realized the mistake, apologized, and played the most high-energy joyful 'encore' hour. Our crowd surged with the excitement of getting an extra hour of dancing and we got to let loose with all our favorite people in one place. It was the best “mistake” we could have asked for."
Looking back on the couple's romantic wedding at Santa Lucia Preserve in Carmel Valley, California, Noah encourages current to-be-weds in the throes of planning to "just remember that this day is about you, your love, and your community that is there to celebrate with you. Don’t worry about planning anything you aren’t excited about just because you feel like it’s 'the way it’s supposed to be.' Traditions can be really special and meaningful, but try to hold traditions up to the light and make your own choices. And get a great wedding planner and support team—ours allowed us to be present on the day of—which was our top priority."