Surf and Turf Wedding in the Scotts Valley Redwoods

A bride and groom dance their way down a wooded fire road.

Sure, Valerie and Scott spent most of their dating relationship in their hometown of Sacramento. Though when it came time to tie the knot, they prepared a surf and turf wedding that started in the Scotts Valley redwoods and progressed to the sands of Seacliff State Beach. Talk about your love letter to wedding photographers!

My wife Erica and I always seem to make friends with our couples by the time we make it to the end of the wedding day. Though this time around, we had the privilege of becoming friends before the wedding day started.

We met first met Valerie as a bridesmaid at another wedding we’d captured and saw that she was a hoot, making the wedding day a blast for everyone.  So of course we were pleased when she reached out to let us know that she was next in line to board the marriage train with a fellow named Scott. Though she reached out first to see if they might do our pre-marital coaching with the two of them in addition to hiring us as photographers. You betcha.

In the weeks that followed, we saw just how much heart these two offered each other. Valerie is a joyful, thoughtful, and lively soul who makes life more colorful for anyone nearby. Scott is a new Navy officer who brings a blend of humor, adventure, and intentionality to the mix. Put ’em together and you get a boatload of rip-roaring road trips, faithfulness to God, unexpectedly long hiking trips and no shortage of love and laughter.

So when it came time for our own journey to the Northern California coast to photograph the wedding, we couldn’t wait to see these new friends have the time of their life…


Photo of signage for Camp Redwood Glen in Santa Cruz, CA
There we were at Valerie and Scott’s forest of choice in the Scotts Valley redwoods.


Portrait of groom dressed in his Navy whites against a forest backdrop.
A hero arose. Scott, specifically, in his Navy whites.


Portrait of Navy Serviceman on his wedding day.
See, he does have eyes!


Close up portrait of a Navy officer on his wedding day.
And here’s one of them up close!


Meanwhile, our heroine Valerie readied herself in a bridal tent, smack dab in the middle of the redwood grove.


A bridesmaid adjusts the laces on the back of a bride's wedding gown.
She got by with a little help from her friend.


A black and white photo of the bride's sister crying when she sees the bride.
Little sister got misty at the sight of Valerie.


Photograph of a bride peeking out over a shroud where she's getting ready.
Valerie snuck a peek at the gathering crowd outside the tent. Smiling eyes.


A flower girl peeks through a tent door at the bride inside.
Meanwhile, the flower girl took a sneak peek at the bride inside the tent.


A bride is preparing to walk down the aisle on her wedding day.
That smile.


A bride and groom pray with eachother before their ceremony, without looking at eachother.
Before the ceremony, before the first look, our heroes came together to pray.


Yep, this stone confirmed we had come to just the right spot in the woods.


Photograph of a loaf of bread at a wedding, where the guests will take communion.
The ceremony began with an invitation to join in communion…


A photographer prays during a wedding ceremony.
…And Valerie and Scott asked that I offer communion to the guests. For the record, I don’t always carry my camera during communion.


Guests and some of the bridal party praying during a wedding communion ceremony.
Wouldn’t you know it, they prayed along with me. Most of ’em.


A black and white photo of a boy looking past a woman's chest.
Why so serious, buddy?


A Navy Officer stands at the end of the aisle in a Redwood forest, waiting to see his bride.
There stood Scott, ready to get the show on the road.


A bride exits her tent in the woods to walk down the aisle with her father.
And then she came along.


Black and white photo of a father walking his daughter down the aisle at her wedding.
One of life’s most bittersweet walks: joyful for her, partly sad for dad.


A groom takes his first look at his bride on their wedding day.
The first look.


A sister cries as she watches her older sister walk down the wedding aisle.
Little sister’s first look.


Black and white photo of a father giving away his daughter as a bride.
“Her mother and I do.”


Guests and family look on at a couple getting married at a Redwood grove.
There in the Scotts Valley redwoods, Scott agreed to take Valerie as his bride…


Black and white photo of a groom promising to protect his bride with a sword.
…And to protect her with his life. And sword.


An officiant looks on as his niece marries her groom.
Uncle delivered the goods when it came to officiating the ceremony.


A bride kisses her groom in the redwood grove where they were married.
Kiss kiss.


Black and white of a bride and groom kissing as family members align for a family portrait.
After the ceremony ended, it was too difficult for them to wait on us to line up the family formal shots. So kiss kiss.


A large family portrait in a wedding a redwood forest.
Bring on the family!


Family portrait with the bride's family.
Valerie’s family: most likely to wear blue.


Family portrait with the groom's family.
Scott’s family: Most likely to look like Scott.


Photo of the bridal party in a coastal redwood forest.
The squad cleans up rather nicely, don’t they?


A bridal party cheers on the kissing bride and groom.


A crouching bridal party looks on the kissing bride and groom.
Valerie and Scott couldn’t get no privacy.


Detail shot of a bouquet and Navy visor hat resting on a tree stump.
Visor hat and bouquet. I’ll let you guess which is which.


Black and white photo of a bride and Navy officer.
You’d smile too if you’d married Scott. But you can’t. He’s taken.


A bride walks ahead of her groom into the woods while clutching a bouquet.
Deeper now, into the Scotts Valley redwoods.


A bride and her Navy Officer groom stand together as her veil blows in the wind.
Putting that veil to use!


A groom holds the bouquet for his bride.
Scott even carried the bouquet when it got too heavy.


Close up of a fern bouquet, held by a groom wearing his Navy white uniform.
Admit it; Scott looked good with that bouquet.


A bride holds her groom's Navy cover.
Trading accessories.


Wedding rings placed on top of a Navy hat.
But wait, what’s that on top of Scott’s hat?


Photograph of a bride looking on at her groom.
That’s when an argument broke out over whose accessory was best.


A bride and groom pretend to duel in a redwood forest.
And things just crumbled when Valerie challenged Scott to a duel with her bouquet.


A bride and groom get dramatic in a Redwood forest near Santa Cruz, CA.
But when Godzilla showed up (off camera), the two reconciled and banded together to fight their common foe.


Black and white photo of a bride and groom dressed in his Navy uniform walking down a street in the forest.
“Hey babe, that roundhouse kick really did a number on Godzilla.”


A groom holds the train of his bride's wedding gown as they walk down the road.
After a jaunty drive from the woods to the seashore, Scott and Valerie ventured to their reception at Seacliff State Beach.


A bride and groom walk into their reception at a beach in Aptos, CA.
The warm welcome.


A wedding reception under a veranda at Seaside Cliffs Beach
Bringing the party to the beach.


Pizza My Heart pizzas at a wedding reception.
Not to mention the pizza!


Wedding rings placed atop a clam shell.
Details, details.


Envelopes with a silver age Wonder Woman stamp.
Those details included all the letters that Scott and Valerie exchanged while he was away at Officer Candidate School.


A photograph of a bride and groom sharing their first dance, outdoors at a beach in Aptos, CA.
Then it was time for the first married dance…


Black and white photo of a young girl sitting on a wooden post at a wedding reception.
…And this little lady had a front row seat, I mean, post.


Photo of a bride and groom dancing at their wedding ceremony.
They were made for this, weren’t they?


Black and white photo of a Navy serviceman groom dancing with his bride.
The photo is far moodier than the dance.


Black and white photograph of a bride dancing with two of her friends and singing along to the music.
And then one of my past couples and friends burst in on the dance.


Close up photo of a nautical-themed wedding cake.
Meanwhile, Scott’s mom put the finishing touches on the cake.


A bride and groom stand by their nautical-themed wedding cake.
Voted most likely to eat the first bite of cake by their peers.


Black and white photo of a bride and groom gently feeding eachother the first slice of wedding cake.
Their peers were spot on.


A bride and groom stick out their blue tongues after tasting their wedding cake.
What their peers hadn’t predicted was the significant “blue tongue” side effect.


A bride prepares to throw her bouquet.
After cake, Valerie decided she was done with that heavy, beautiful bouquet. So she tossed it.


A bride and the friend that caught the tossed bouquet.
So she found that bouquet a great new home.


Black and white photo of a groom fetching his bride's garter.
Valerie’s garter was feeling burdensome as well so Scott stepped in to help.


Black and white photo of a Navy officer groom preparing to slingshot his bride's garter.
Taking aim…


A groom stands next to the bachelor who caught the tossed garter.
The garter didn’t actually land right on his friend’s thigh, despite what the photo implies.


black and white photograph of a flower girl at a beachfront wedding reception.
The flower girl stood off on the sidelines waiting for her day in the sun.


A bride and groom pose with bundles of letters they sent eachother while the groom was away at Navy basic training.
Valerie and Scott showed off bundles of those long-distance relationship letters.


A bride and groom lean against a railing at Seacliff State Beach.
As the sun sank low, it was time to sneak away for some photos at Seacliff State Beach.


Photo of a bride and groom in front of the pier at Seaside State Beach in Aptos, CA.
She told him to walk the pier. Not really.


A photograph of a bride and groom in front of a vibrant ocean sky in Aptos, California.
Those skies.


A natural light photo of a bride and groom walking down the beach together.
Dramatic atmosphere brought to you by NorCal’s dreamy ocean haze.


A sunset photo of a silhouetted bride and groom walking along Seacliff State Beach.
If only walking along the ocean always looked this stunning.


Black and white photograph of a bride and groom standing beneath a pier.
The image that you use in scratch-and-sniff magazine ads for French perfume.


A bride and groom pose for a bridal portrait beneath the pier at Seacliffs State Beach.
Throwing shade.


Black and white photograph of a groom kissing his bride on the side of her head.


A groom and bride hold hands as they stand watching a sunset.
Sunsets are best enjoyed together.


Sunset walk along the beach with sea haze blowing in.
They love short walks on the beach.


A bride and groom kiss eachother in the background with a fern bouquet in the foreground.
Wait. How did the bouquet get back in the shot?


SIlhouette of a bride and groom against a sunset along the beach in Northern California.


A bride and groom hold hands as they watch their friends play in the ocean.
Did I mention that the bridal party and some friends were playing out in the ocean all the while?


A bride wanders off into the waves while wearing hr wedding gown.
So Valerie ran off toward the water in hopes of getting a little wet herself.


A bride hikes up her gown as she runs through the waves.
She got more than a little wet.


A bride poses for a portrait while standing in some shallow waves.
So she decided to just make the most of it. She didn’t plan to wear the gown again any time soon.


A bridal portrait taken while the bride wears her gown at the edge of the beach.
How often do you get to wear your wedding gown in the ocean, after all?


A bride and groom play in the ocean at Seaside Cliffs State beach in Aptos, CA.
Finally, Valerie and Scott decided to ditch the wedding finery and hop in the waves themselves.


A silhouetted image of a new bride and groom walking into the ocean at Seaside Cliffs State Beach.
A wedding day that started in the woods ended in the waves. Note that the bridal veil made it into the ocean as well.


Sunset at Seacliff State Beach in Aptos, California.
The end.

Valerie and Scott, we’re so thankful to have joined in on your wedding day as photographers and friends. We look forward to seeing who you become as you build life, faith, and family together in the years ahead. If the foundation you’ve laid down is any indication, we’ve got the highest of hopes for what your marriage will become.

Watch out, world!

Stellar service provided by:

Venue: Camp Redwood Glen + Seacliff State Beach

Foodstuffs: Pizza My Heart

Dress: David’s Bridal

Florist: Bloom and Vine

Hair: Jamison Williams

Cake: Pam Reagh and Jen Enright


Want us to photograph your wedding in the Scotts Valley redwoods? At the beach? Or both? Take a look at our wedding photography packages and let’s talk!