How to Plan a Forest Wedding in California

The Ultimate Guide for Planning a Forest Wedding in California
(complete with pricing, photos, and venues)

How to Plan a Forest Wedding in California

Fancy a Twilight-inspired wedding surrounded by lush green forests in one of the most iconic wedding locations on the planet? Then you are going to have to get some things done first. A forest wedding in California is not only photography heaven, it’s a tale of beauty meets elegance.

Best Places for a Forest Wedding in California

This is the fun part if you love exploring and adventure. There is a whole collection of majestic woods in California to choose from, including the famous Redwood National Forest that’s perfect for forest weddings in California. There is nothing like being dwarfed by hundreds of year old redwood trees to put in perspective how amazing nature is here!

Redwood National Park elopement girl in green jacket
Fern Canyon Redwood National Park girl in green jacket walking on a log

If a smaller elopement with easier access is desired, Muir Woods is one of the more popular locations in San Francisco for an elopement. Check out my Muir Woods wedding planning guide for a more detailed look into this popular forest wedding venue.

Other iconic forests for your forest wedding in California are Island Farm, YMCA Camp Campbell, Big Sur, Arrowhead Pine Rose, and Sequoia National Forest. You can also consider Laughing Canyon in Davenport, Camp Navarro, and Nestldown. Whichever forest venue tickles your fancy, you can expect gigantic trees, picturesque hiking trails, and daring peaks. Forests can often surprise you with an unexpected rain shower, so make plans for backup locations if it comes to that. 

Check out my blog of redwood forest wedding venues for a more detailed list.

photo of bride and groom at their wedding at the Mountain Terrace in Woodside under redwood trees taken by San Francisco wedding photographer Ian Chin Photography

Things to Consider for your Forest Wedding in California

Depending on the location, you may be limited on the type of décor you can have, more so if you choose to have your wedding in a national forest. Therefore, it’s important that you double-check what is allowed and what isn’t to avoid any inconvenience. Permits more often than not are required, and sometimes require several months to acquire. Check the location to see if there are any limitations such as open flames, fireworks, alcohol, and guest size.

You might need to make lodging arrangements that are not near the venue if the area is more isolated. If the forest is more remote, be sure to afford yourself enough time for driving, flying, and any unexpected hurdles you might encounter such as closed roads. Some venues are more accessible to others with guest size but double check this all before booking your venue.

couple touching foreheads standing in a forest of tall trees at Presidio in San Francisco

Forest Wedding Vendors

A vendor who knows the forest is invaluable for a forest wedding in California. If you stumble upon one that knows the picturesque spots and hiking gems, exotic views, and how to stay flawless through the woods, you’re lucky. Some of these include a an officiant, styling and makeup team, florist, coordinator, Cake, DJ, caterer. Etc.

For photography, please CONTACT ME to discuss your forest wedding in California since I know the best forest venues in California. Take the time to fill out and get all the required paperwork, including your marriage license, in order. They will depend on the event type and the location. Since nature has taken care of most of the décor, you can go all-in on the finer details such as photography.

Get married

Your big day is ready, and it’s time to bast in pomp and glamour with nature as the witness. Soak up in the greenery and the comfort under the massive redwood trees or get lost in the forest fragrance before heading off to the coast for a few hundred more photos. You’ve got endless options to spend the rest of your day in California.

Wine country weddings are synonymous with elegant charm, earthy aesthetic, delectable cuisine, and the sophistication that comes with having your forest wedding in California. 

ghetto muir woods web (1)


If you are thinking of a forest wedding in California you have plenty of amazing options to choose from! California is one of the best places to elope or have a large wedding and offers something for everyone. If you are thinking of having a forest wedding in California closer to San Francisco, check out the best places to elope in San Francisco to get ideas.

If you need help planning your forest wedding, please CONTACT ME to discuss your wedding day!


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