Having a one-day wedding wasn’t something Ashley or Oliva wanted. So instead, they threw a four-day long ‘summer camp’ style wedding day amongst the Northern California redwoods.
In our first year together, Liv knew she was in this for life. She procured a ring from a kind-of-mom in my life and asked if I would marry her. I told her, yes, but I am SO not ready, let me ask you one day when I AM.
Four years later, I was!
I planned an elaborate adventure day for us out in Marin, with nature and some curious places off Atlas Obscura, which ended with a romantic Tarot spread with rose petals, candles, and the ring in the middle.
The year before this second proposal, we had broken up for 6-8 months. I had struggled with a drinking problem, (childhood trauma catching up with me), and put Liv through quite some hell. Ironically, the break-up came once I committed to sobriety, so in my heartbreak, I took off to SE Asia to be somewhere Buddhist and deepen my path of recovery through meditation and solo travel. I ended up in Nepal, and a day after my arrival I was caught in a catastrophic earthquake. I returned home the next month having broken my nine months of sobriety, having left before I felt I’d done enough service in the aftermath, and with a touch of PTSD.
Thankfully, Liv and I reconnected (at a festival, where we had no idea the other was until we ran into each other), and struck up our relationship again within a couple of months. So, by the time of my earnest proposal, my heart was in it, but I was still pretty emotionally fucked up and had trouble connecting to my life. We stayed together, but had some rocky times.
Flash forward to 2018. I returned to Nepal for the third anniversary of the earthquake, and finally got the closure I’d been needing. While alone again for a few weeks, all I could think about was my love and want to commit so fully to our life together, finally. She joined me, and on our subsequent bus rides through Nepal and India, we talked about really making it happen. Our last couple of days there, we got tattoos and diamond rings that matched each other’s (didn’t even plan that), and returned home, loving each other, stoked, and finally planning our dream wedding!
PLANNING THE WEDDING
We absolutely love the redwoods – there’s something so special & magical about being with those giant trees – and we camp & travel often, so we wanted our wedding to be an adventure! Ash never went to summer camp as a kid, so we decided what better way to celebrate our love & our community than by a giant camping trip together over a few days!
We found the wonderful folks at Camp Harmon and simply fell in love with the people, the place, everything! We adore the fact that the camp’s main purpose is to provide an accessible camp experience for ALL campers!
While we were playing at a summer camp, we also wanted an ethereal vibe – light & airy, classy yet whimsical & playful. We wanted reverence & beauty for the ceremony, but then to dance all night!
Most of our wedding was DIY! We rented a few key pieces like some furniture & tableware – but all the decor was DIY, the favors were DIY, some of the lighting was DIY…!! (Liv even tried to build 25 farm tables by hand, alone, until Ash & Liv’s mom talked her out of it after table #4!).
We planned this event for over a year, though, which helped us get everything together before the big day, & we had wonderful family & friends who helped us put it all together once we got to camp!
THE WEDDING DAY
We laugh about our wedding being a 4-day festival in the forest, but it really was! Our close friends & family arrived Thursday & other guests began arriving Friday. We used those days to set up the space & enjoy our time together. Then, the ceremony was Saturday afternoon & afterward, we danced/partied the night away!
The ceremony was beautiful – light & ethereal, under the redwoods in the late summer afternoon sun. We joyfully danced the line between reverence & play – having our “Bride Tribe” walk in to Lizzo’s “Good as Hell” to really set the energy & pump us up. But we also had a smudging ceremony as all of our “Bride Tribe” walked on stage, and we walked in together, from opposite sides of the ceremony/chapel deck, to an almost hauntingly beautiful, slower song by Oh Wonder: “Technicolour Beat.”
The mood was a definite joy but also one of reverence.
We participated in a cacao ceremony with our officiant, trying to utilize rituals we had all been a part of before, that had been intentional & spiritual experiences for us before, and that felt meaningful & like a strong foundation with which to start this new chapter.
The after-party involved a kick-ass cocktail hour with camp activities, games, & the cutest mobile cocktail bar trailer! Then a stunning long-table dinner with the most beautiful, heartfelt, & humorous toasts/speeches was enjoyed before dancing the night away on the ceremony/chapel deck, outside under the stars & the redwoods.
After hours involved, a silent disco & late-night cuddle dome hang in the middle of the woods. Sunday morning, we all had brunch & packed everything up again together.
It was actually all very sweet & magical.
Marriage, to us, means committing to doing this life with each other. It’s being there for one another through all of life’s experiences – both the sweet moments & the challenging trials. It’s saying, “I’m here for you. You have a home in me.” It’s creating a life together, a home, a family (even if that’s just us & our cats). It’s making each other & our relationship a priority. It’s knowing you’re not alone; that someone has your best interest in mind. That you are loved. That you are safe. That someone cares for you when everything else is uncertain.
Photographer Tiffany Michele Photography
Bar Service A Lil Somethin’ Sweet
Bridal Boutique Garnet & Grace
Cake A Lil Somethin’ Sweet
Catering Tammie’s Sweet Kitchen
Celebrant Jennifer Kang (friend of the brides)
Desserts Tammie’s Sweet Kitchen
Day-of-Coordination Danzante Events
Engagement Rings Shree Balaji Diamond
Furniture Hire View Point Events, AM Party Rentals, Stuart Event Rentals
Gown Designer Allure Bridals
Makeup Kimberly Simon
Robes To Happily Ever After
Venue Camp Harmon
Wedding Rings Chelsea Oz Jewelry