I had no idea what to expect when I was hired as Lizzy and James’s Nestldown wedding photographer. Tucked into the redwood forest at the top of the mountains straddling Santa Cruz and Los Gatos, Nestldown is nothing short of a fairy tale location. From the minute we drove onto the property, my friend and associate Lisa and I were astounded by everything this incredible property has to offer. It is lush, green and the week we were there, covered in gardens that were fully in bloom with vibrant bright colors of every kind. It was so incredibly picturesque I almost couldn’t believe that I was there. Y’all – you want a Nestldown Wedding Photographer? CALL ME. I will go back in a heartbeat. Shorter than a heartbeat.
James and Lizzy came to me by way of former clients, Victoria and Kyle. Victoria is also the wonderful wordsmith behind many of my bigger more substantial (non-real wedding) blog posts. We had an absolutely AMAZING engagement session near their home at the Pearson-Arastradero Preserve earlier this year. We captured so many amazing (and award-winning) images that I was really looking forward to their wedding session. It was a HUGE bonus and surprise to be so lucky to photograph such a gorgeous couple at such a RIDICULOUSLY gorgeous venue.
Lizzy and James met at work and they are surrounded by incredibly supportive families and friends who weren’t afraid to bring it on the dance floor, despite how warm it was in that vintage barn. There were cookies that looked their corgi, Oliver. They had a fantastic team of vendors we adored working with (the videographers were especially lovely) and the catering staff broke it down on the dancefloor with the mother of the groom. Seriously – from start to finish, it was an incredible day and I can’t wait to be a Nestldown wedding photographer again!
Venue: Nestldown | Invitations: Minted | Florist: Kat’s Flower Affair | Bakery: Sibby’s Cupcakery and Real Cooking Maggie | Catering: Greenfish Catering | DJ: Big Fun DJ | Attire: Stella York | Wedding Party: Azazie | Hair and M/U: The Glam Bar | Videographer: Ivory Sky Media | Seriously Stupendous Second Shooting: Lisa Hause Photography
Nestldown might be to must perfect wedding venue in all of Northern CA. Bold statement – I know – but honestly, this place is a fairy tale of gorgeousness in the mountains between Downtown Santa Cruz and Los Gatos. Conveniently located off Summit Rd at the top of the ridgeline, just outside the sleepy beach tourist town of Santa Cruz and Capitola, a Nestldown wedding takes place on 180 total acres, 36 of which are breathtakingly lush gardens and apple orchards. The venue has been running weddings, events and non-profit fundraisers for decades and I assure you they run an incredibly seamless enterprise. Included in the venue fee is a wealth of things you don’t often find at other venues, including in house planning and coordination, an event day team of 4 people, their expertise at planning timelines and use of the property, a 9 hour site rental, the Nestldown TRAIN (yes, there’s a train), a vintage london taxi and all your rentals! Also, with no corkage fees, they clearly get my vote.
VISIT SANTA CRUZ AND CAPITOLA
While downtown Santa Cruz and it’s boardwalk is often the main draw to for area tourism, my favorite place to stay nearby is in Capitola. The Capitola Hotel is so close to the waterfront that it should be considered waterfront and is not only exceedingly comfortable but wonderfully charming. I’ve stayed there many times and enjoyed the experience so much that I continue to return there time and time again. No visit to the area is complete without a stop at Gayle’s Bakery, whether it’s for breakfast, lunch, an afternoon snack or simply to grab a picnic lunch for the beach, Gayle’s has EVERYTHING you could possibly want and more. The ham and cheese croissant is worth the visit alone. Santa Cruz is beloved for it’s slices at Pizza My Heart. For meals in downtown Santa Cruz, head to the West End Tap and Kitchen and Firefly Coffee House for one of the best breakfast bagel sandwiches I’ve ever consumed.