Autumn and Drew wanted an intimate, outdoor wedding and that’s exactly what they got when they married in the forest surrounded by nine of their closest family and friends.
The couple, who met at a BBQ through mutual friends, married in a summer ceremony at Wa Ka Luu Hep Yoo Campground in Dorrington, about two hours east of Sacramento. Autumn chose the venue while she and Drew were camping with friends.
On the wedding day, the entire party met at the campsite and walked through the woods one by one to the river. The best man officiated the ceremony.
“I shied away from tradition,” says Autumn, who didn’t walk down an aisle, wear a veil or carry flowers. “I did stick with a white wedding dress, but I made sure it was short,” she says. “What’s an elopement dress that you can’t run away in?”
When Drew saw his bride, he felt, “Lucky to be with this person for the rest of my life.”
Autumn felt “exhausted and happy” and was “ready to melt into his arms and take a nap.”
Music, including their record player and records, played an important part of the day. Drew says that one of his favorite parts of the day was “my dad playing a Gordon Lightfoot song from my childhood and singing for us at the campfire.”
One drawback of a woodsy wedding: mosquitos! The maid of honor had 40 bites the next day! Another challenge was not having electricity. “Luckily, we were able to find a portable battery for the record player and we brought plenty of lanterns and firewood for after dark,” says Autumn.
The reception, held at a campsite between the trailer and the ceremony, gave “the feeling of an upscale dinner party in the middle of the forest,” says Autumn, explaining they carted in all the necessary supplies including wine glasses, silverware, candlesticks and plates.
Drew, a chef, planned the menu in advance. He fileted and roasted a chateaubriand, which he cut into steaks at the campsite. Dessert? Pies from at a local fruit stand.
The couple, who had dated five years before getting married, took photos all over their outdoorsy venue including by the river and in a native bark teepee. A sentimental and fun photo for Autumn—the pic she took “riding” a teal propane tank while wearing her wedding dress. The tank reminded her of one she used to “ride” as a kid at her grandparent’s country house.
The whole celebration was a family affair. “We could never have had such an intimate and remote wedding without the help and support of every single one,” says Autumn.
Following the wedding, the newlyweds spent two weeks camping along Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway, “relaxing by lakes, taking in the scenery and cooking over open flame.”
Romance continues at the couple’s “little house with a big yard,” says Autumn. “We’ve setup a fire ring with log tables and Adirondack chairs to keep the honeymoon going!”