One Couple's Enchanting Wedding in a Redwood Grove

Rachel Balunsat Photography

When Cat Dao and James Huang started planning their wedding, they focused on finding venues that fit their natural and enchanting vision. So when they saw the Mather Redwood Grove at UC Berkeley's Botanical Garden, they knew they didn't have to look any further. "We loved the idea of being outdoors and surrounded by nature," says Cat.

The couple kept it simple for their October 12th, 2014 California wedding, using soft pastels and greenery to dress up the celebration but otherwise letting nature speak for itself. Keep reading to see the details, photographed by Rachel Balunsat Photography.

Rachel Balunsat Photography
Rachel Balunsat Photography

Cat's gown, a flowing a-line by Jenny Packham, featured a lace back and cap sleeves. She paired it with side-swept hair and flat Ancient Greek sandals, and carried a bouquet of roses, hypericum berries, and greenery.

Rachel Balunsat Photography
Rachel Balunsat Photography

The ceremony took place on a mound surrounded by towering redwood trees and amphitheater seating. The couple wrote their own vows, and also had a foot-washing ceremony to symbolize always being of service to one another. "I felt so ethereal walking through the trees," Cat says.

James matched the venue in a dark olive green bespoke suit and a plaid bow tie.

Rachel Balunsat Photography

Two flower girls wore vintage lace dresses, and the third wore an Amazon find. All their outfits were topped with flower crowns (and adorable smiles!).

Rachel Balunsat Photography
Rachel Balunsat Photography

The open-air reception took place at Wildwood Acres Resort. Tables were topped with bark-wrapped vases full of roses, as well as jars of jam.

Rachel Balunsat Photography

James and Cat dined on tri-tip steak and garlic salmon at a sweetheart farm table.

Rachel Balunsat Photography
Rachel Balunsat Photography
Rachel Balunsat Photography

For dessert, guests had a choice between carrot cake, pistachio-pear cake, pear-rose crème pie, pecan pie, almond teacakes, and lemon bars. All the sweets were displayed on logs of different heights and decorated with fresh roses.

Rachel Balunsat Photography

"We had the best band ever," says Cat of the John Brothers Piano Company. She encourages brides to stay away from Pinterest and bring their own ideas to life (with some help, of course!). "None of this would have come together without our day-of coordinator, Monica Gon, or the help of our friends and family."

Click here to see their video, by Morocco Lee Weddings.

Wedding Team

Ceremony Venue: Stephen J. Mather Redwood Grove and Amphitheatre at the University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley

Reception Venue: Wildwood Acres Resort

Day-of Coordinator: Monica Gon

Bride's Wedding Dress: Jenny Packham

Shoes: Ancient Greek Sandals

Jewelry: Becky Kelso

Hair: Clifford Style

Groom's Attire: Taylor

Groomsmen's Attire: Uniqlo

Florist: Solidified Elements

Invitations: Minted

Music: The John Brothers Piano Company

Catering: Wildwood Acres Resort

Cake: Sweet Adeline Bake Shop, Crixa Cakes

Rentals: Shelter Co.

Photo Booth: Photo-matica

Videography: Morocco Lee Weddings

Photography: Rachel Balunsat Photography

Related Stories