Wanting to focus on each other and their love, Gabe and Lydia chose a romantic elopement in the Redwoods outside of Crescent City, CA – they even rode horses along the forest trails.
The Garden Proposal.
Gabriella asked Lydia to get dressed up for a work event in June 2020 in Washington, DC. On the way to the work event they walked through their favorite garden in DC, the Enid A. Haupt Garden at the Smithsonian Castle.
They sat on a bench and talked for a bit and then Gabriella got up the courage to ask Lydia to marry her. A talented photographer, Jay, waited for them in the garden and caught the special moments just before, during, and after.
Finally, they had a celebratory dinner at one of Lydia’s favorite restaurants.
The Second Proposal.
Four months later, Lydia surprised Gabriella by proposing to her over her birthday weekend at a beautiful old hotel in Airlie, Virginia. They went for a walk in a garden, and Lydia proposed under a beautiful pergola before they went to the Great Meadow Gold Cup horse races for the day.
Lydia flew in Gabriella’s sisters and had a whole surprise party waiting to congratulate them at the race tailgate.
Making the Decision to Elope.
We were concerned that a large wedding with lots of friends and family would take away from our time and focus on each other on our own wedding day.
Lydia had driven through the Redwood Forest on a trip with her father and learned about the social connections that redwood trees share with one another. To add, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park is one of the five oldest old growth forests in the country, and we knew it would be the perfect spot to begin our married life together.
Telling Loved Ones About the Elopement.
Our loved ones learned of our plans months before, and they adore the incredible photos Sam took of our epic adventure in the Pacific Northwest.
We chose to include our parents and sisters in the ceremony in the forest.
The Elopement Day.
The elopement really started the evening before when we went out to dinner with our families at Sea Quake Brewery in Crescent City. Then we all met up with Sam for photos on a beach right across the Oregon border in Brookings, OR.
The next morning started early with our wonderful hair and makeup artist, Meaghan Whelan. We had decided to keep our dresses a surprise to one another and didn’t see each other the morning of once we started getting ready.
We did a first look, where we exchanged notes to one another. And, then, head down the trail together where we met our families and had our ceremony.
Afterwards, we walked through the woods with each other soaking up the surroundings.
We had a picnic, and horseback rides through the redwoods in our dresses followed.
We ended the day up on the Cape taking in the mountainous evergreens meeting the Pacific.
It was beautiful and a great way to end the day.
We said goodbye to Sam and then went back to meet up with our families who had rented a house on the Smith River where we had vegan Thai food, champagne, and chocolate cake.
It was very intimate and memories we will have forever.
Dancing With Her Recommended Vendor
Photography by Sam Starns