intimate wedding in big basin redwood state park // california elopement photography

When Seleney and Diego first reached out to me about photographing their elopement in Big Basin Redwoods State Park, I thought I might be dreaming. They explained that they had been planning a big wedding but after dating for over nine years and finally being engaged, they realized they just wanted to skip the wedding planning and be married! Seleney is a park ranger in California and had always dreamed of getting married in a forest, so their intimate wedding in the Redwoods was the obvious choice! When she mentioned that the only people joining us would be their two best friends from childhood, I must admit we got a little nervous! We wouldn't be meeting them face-to-face until their wedding day, and we'd make up 1/3 of the population! That's a lot of trust :) Thankfully (and not surprisingly) we all got along so well that Callen and I felt like part of the wedding party.  Plus, all three girls were wearing the same boots in different colors by coincidence, so I think it was meant to be ;)

Seleney and Diego picked a spot about a mile into the forest. We had the hike out there to talk and get to know each other, and I loved seeing their faces light up when we got to their little grove of trees. They set up a small tent together while Callen and I took photos of their gorgeous details - her bouquet and flower crown, corsages for the men, a bracelet for her best friend and officiant, and a hair comb for me, all made out of live succulents! She even gifted us small pots and dirt so we could re-plant them after the wedding. Her Free People dress was gorgeous, it looked like it was made specifically for a bohemian forest bride! Their first look was touching and emotional, and despite spending the day together, Diego was still blown away seeing Seleney in her dress (no surprise there!). They were so ready to be married and since it was just the six of us, they didn't have to wait on a schedule! 

We picked a spot with a big tree as their alter and they got started. They read vows to each other and we all held back tears as they proclaimed their love and commitment with the redwoods as their witness. It was extremely sweet and we felt honored to be present for something so sacred. It was definitely one of those "I can't believe this is my job" moments. Once they sealed it with a kiss, it was party time! And by party time, I mean we got to hike around the forest taking photos and popping was a blast! We splashed through mud, climbed on trees, and even found a pocket of California's best golden sunlight streaming through the forest. It was an absolute dream. They ended their wedding day back at the campsite with a campfire, boxed wine (heck yeah), and some delicious food. It was perfectly relaxed, intimate, and so incredibly sweet. Callen and I feel like we've made four new friends and are incredibly thankful to have been involved in such a special day!

Are you planning an intimate wedding or adventurous elopement? We'd love to be your photographers! You can fill out our contact form to e-mail us directly here. We can't wait to hear from you!

Bride's Dress: Free People Kristen's Limited Edition White Dress

Bride's (and officiant's and photographer's boots): Kodiak Surrey II from REI

Succulent Bouquet, Corsages, Flower Crown, and Details: Amber at The Succulent Source (on instagram)

Camper Van Rental: Lost Campers USA

Venue: Big Basin Redwoods State Park in California


The Hearnes Adventure Photography is run by Abbi and Callen Hearne, a husband & wife wedding photography team with an emphasis on adventure. They live on the road as full-time nomads in their big white van, allowing them to serve the a large portion of the western US including California, Utah, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Colorado, and Wyoming. They believe love is the greatest adventure and strive to create photos that are epic, romantic, true, and timeless.