• Mallory Regan

Shaylee + Jake | Redwood National Forest Elopement

Choosing a favorite wedding is how I imagine it would feel to choose a favorite child. I can truly say that I love all weddings equally, but some of them pull at my heartstrings in a different way. And even that doesn't mean that those weddings are better, but things about them make me smile from a deeper place in my heart. I say all of this to tell you that I cannot in good conscience say that this wedding was my favorite, but, you know...

Shaylee is a dear friend of mine from college--the kind of friend that you only see every few years and can pick up right where you left off. There's no pressure to apologize for not having called often enough, just the comfort of being around an old friend who remembers your favorite color and how you take your coffee. When she contacted me to tell me that she planned to run away with her boyfriend to get married in the Redwoods, I started shopping for plane tickets. At the very least, I knew it would be a fun adventure. I did not realize then that I would witness an understated and powerful beginning to a marriage: both physically and legally. As the only guest other than the officiant, I had the honor of signing as a witness on their marriage certificate.

I loved so many things about this day. Shaylee didn't wear a stitch of makeup, and simply washed her hair and brushed her teeth on the morning of her wedding. She changed into her dress behind a tree, leaving her athletic leggings and hiking shoes on underneath. Jake helped carry her train, her flowers, and extra jackets for everyone. He cooked us spaghetti for lunch when we took a break to dry off from the rain. Their vows were heartfelt and intimate, and all of us cried. We finished off a day of exploring and celebrating at a local bakery for wedding cupcakes, then eating way more Indian food than four people should reasonably consume.

This wedding was deeply inspiring for me. It is so powerful to strip down all of the extra details that come with more traditional weddings and celebrate in a way that was unique to Jake and Shaylee. No two weddings are alike, and there's also no such thing as "wrong" when you're planning a wedding. The most important part of any wedding is to make it YOURS.

If its a traditional Catholic ceremony, do it. If thats a big party with all of your friends, throw it. If you want to run away into the woods....well, I'd especially enjoy it. ;)