This non-conformist couple had the most beautiful yet unconventional wedding. Rachelle, a product researcher, and Remy, a saxophonist, planned their magical forest wedding from their home in New York. Remy grew up on a beautiful property near USSC. With plenty of space to run around and trees to climb, it sounds like the perfect childhood and now the perfect setting to bring things full circle. What stood out for me more than their modern and unconventional ideas on marriage, which definitely stands out, was their love for each other. It is clear to see that Rachelle adores Remy just the way he is and that Remy cherishes Rachelle for the amazing woman she is.
A fairy circle happens when a mother tree dies to feed the saplings around her. This results in a near-perfect circle of trees with a clearing in the middle. It doesn't get more magical than a redwood fairy circle. Lia's team did a fantastic job setting up the gorgeous copper pots with the most beautiful white and orange flowers as an alternative to the usual wedding arch and even lining the aisle with redwood leaves. It made for a beautiful and unique venue.
On the other side of the property, near another grove of redwood trees, Rachelle & Remy had their first look. I would describe Rachelle's look as bridal avant-garde. She looked radiant in her European cotton dress (which had pockets, what more could a girl want?!) and her handmade earrings. After they took it all in, we also took a few portraits under the cover of the giant redwood tree's branches in some much-needed shade. It was a good hot summer day in Santa Cruz, and up here near UCSC is as hot as it gets in this area.
I'm sure you are beginning to see the trend here. True to their individualism, Rachelle & Remy walked together into the ceremony, choosing to leave the old traditions well behind. Instead, they are showing up together to their union as equal partners. Remy's twin brother, also a talented musician, played piano for the ceremony while their sister officiated it. Being an Entomologist, she couldn't help but include a few comparisons from her favorite insect, the ant. It was the most unique but beautiful sermon I've heard. Not one that any of us there will soon forget.
Rachelle and Remy are tea lovers and found the most beautiful way to include this in their ceremony. Carefully collected Japanese yunomi tea cups were being passed out to the guests, meant to be kept as a wedding favor. While drinking the tea, friends and family were asked to think of a special memory they had with the couple. What a great gift to their guests!
It's hard to believe this is not a wedding venue in Santa Cruz but someone's backyard. It was a beautiful, magical ceremony, and I'm so happy that these two are officially Mr. & Mrs.
The reception took place outside the fairy circle. The shade of the massive redwood trees offered some relief from the hot summer sun. Friends and family had come from all over the U.S. and abroad. The afternoon was filled with good conversation and laughter. Remy's brother rewrote the lyrics to an old song the two of them wrote together as kids as a surprise for the couple on their wedding day. Unfortunately, Rachelle's best friend got covid before their wedding and couldn't be there to give her toasts, so it was read instead, and man, it was a tear-jerker!
After doing some fun group photos, (Why only do family photos, right? Take pictures with all the important people in your life! But that is for another blog post.) We snuck off for a few sunset portraits in the beautiful golden light streaming through the trees. Sunset portraits are so worth it! Plus, it gives the couple a few minutes away from everyone else to take it all in before the day is all over.
We ended the night back in the fairy circle, this time on the dancefloor. Ready for the chilly night air in her new outfit Rachell & Remy opened up the dancefloor that was soon packed. Everyone enjoyed the party, from the little kiddos to the grandmas. Is there a better way to end the night than dancing under the stars in a fairy circle? Oh and don't forget the disco ball!
“Danieka was incredible. She really listened to what we wanted. When we did our site visit with her, she was a great partner in brainstorming what shots we wanted where. Day-of she was such a joy - she was so happy for us, helped us get centered and calm before the ceremony, and was totally stealth-mode throughout the whole night - I didn't even notice her during the ceremony! And the photos <3 ... so incredibly beautiful!! She really captured all of the memories for us. I recommend her 1000%!”
—Rachelle & Remy