Nestled amidst lush greenery, rugged canyons and enchanting redwoods of Woodside, California, Huddart Park serves as a serene oasis just a stone’s throw away from the bustling San Francisco Peninsula. Easily accessible, the park is a mere 3.5 miles from Highway 84.
Huddart Park offers an idyllic setting for the down-to-earth wedding of your dreams. Imagine exchanging your vows amidst a serene canopy of towering trees or in a verdant (or sometimes scorched) meadow surrounded by winding trails, as nature itself embraces your special day.
Dreaming of a Bay Area redwood ceremony venue that’s not overcrowded, is affordable and naturally beautiful with little artifice? Huddart Park is well worth adding to your shortlist!
Choosing a weekday for this kind of wedding is a must! You’ll benefit from much cheaper pricing and minimums from most of your vendors. Not least photography which is an intimate wedding’s big-ticket expense. As well as much better availability – no need to book 18 months in advance! There are more benefits too – read on to find out more!
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Our couple’s wedding at the Redwood Picnic Area, Huddart Park
Let me just say that this wedding is EXACTLY our jam, and what we specialize in! We love and feel fully present for intimate weddings! This one had only 9 guests. We also dig DIY celebrations and weddings outdoors in nature. Bonus points if there are redwoods present.
Steph and Binh had the most wonderful wedding ceremony back in July 2021. They rented the area known as ‘Redwood Picnic Area’, which includes the quaint little amphitheater with the stage set for the ceremony. This is the area we’ll focus on in this article. More information about the various areas available is accessible at this link (County of San Mateo Parks Department).
Highlights of the ceremony at Huddart Park:
- The two sides of the family meeting for the first time
- The beautiful details – dried florals, rings and personalized ring box
- The couple’s expressive faces while they said their vows
- How the parents in the front row were completely engrossed in the vows
- The unrushed romantic session and proximity of all our photo backdrops, meaning we got so much into our time!
- Candid moments captured throughout. Everyone was in the moment at this wedding, largely ignoring the two photographers which is exactly what we want for everyone on their wedding day. No, you don’t need to stop and pose whenever you see a photographer!
- The overall intentionality that’s intrinsic to a tiny wedding like this. There’s nothing at all that’s just done ‘for the sake of it’ or ‘because it’s the done thing’. The couple only added to their blank canvas of a day what was important to them.
About Huddart Park for weddings
The Redwood Picnic Area was just perfect for this couple’s small family-only group. The charming space is roughly 55′ x 50′ in size, with a unique blend of wood chips and dirt that make up its surface.
There’s a gentle 2% slope, and the area is mostly shaded, thanks to the beautiful coastal redwoods, madrones, and surrounding brush.
Summer days are pleasantly warm, with temperatures ranging from 70°F to 90°F, just like it was on this late July wedding day.
The area felt private and tucked away, yet was only a few steps from its own parking area. The gravel lot is shared among all park visitors, so it’s based on a first-come, first-served arrangement. Definitely a reason to go for a weekday rather than a weekend! The lot was all ours and there were no random bystanders in the photos!
Here’s more info about the Redwood Picnic Area of Huddart Park
|Seated capacity||150 people|
|Drive to location||Yes|
|BBQ size||36 inches x 28 inches|
|Water available||Yes, 1 faucet; 1 fountain|
|Distance to water||20 feet|
|Distance to parking||160 feet|
|Distance to restrooms||345 feet|
|Distance to trash area||100 feet|
|Accessible for disabilities||No|
Planning your intimate wedding at Huddart Park
One of the best things about having an intimate wedding, micro-wedding or minimony is that you don’t have to plump for a weekend because that’s the only time enough people could make it. If it’s just parents and siblings, it’s not such a big ask to take off work earlier on a Friday or use up a day of leave.
As well as choosing a weekday for convenience, pricing and privacy, it’s important to choose the right time of day for the beautiful lighting you see in these photos. Photography is all about light. There is only one way of getting soft, warm, flattering light that instantly elevates your shots. That is to choose your event’s timing based on the position of the sun in the sky. A shaded location also helps hugely.
We began our photography at 4:30pm and stayed on site at Huddart Park until about 6:50pm. The sunset time on this day was 8:24pm. Anytime within that ~2-hour period before sunset is going to give you that kind of perfect, glowing light. It’s important to do the family/romantic photos after the ceremony to optimize for portraits.
What makes for a successful wedding at Huddart Park
Also note that at this particular location, the sunset appears much earlier than the posted time – which is actually the sunset time at sea level.
At many locations in the Bay Area where the horizon line is covered by buildings, trees, hills, etc the time the sun is at that ‘higher’ horizon is much earlier. Here, the sun disappeared behind the crest of hills and trees significantly earlier. Fortunately, the bride had researched this beforehand, as well as having knowledge of the park from past experience.
Even for this small celebration, we had two photographers – myself (Zoe) as the lead, along with a second photographer.
This ensured we were able to get twice the variety of shots behind the scenes, particularly of the ceremony. We were only at the park for a little over 2 hours. Therefore it pays to ensure you’re getting as much as possible out of the time we have. What you see here is a small sampling of the hundreds of final photos we obtained.
In short: planning is what makes for a great wedding day here! Steph had meticulous attention to detail, even scouting the site several times to take videos that she shared with everyone. This way, there was no confusion about where to go.
She also provided these photo schematics showing where you enter, turn and pay the (at the time) $6 parking fee!
How to use your wedding space at Huddart Park
A quick Google search reveals lots of inventive ways couples have used this park for their unique celebrations. Or of course, put your own unique spin on things.
You can have your whole day here including your reception! There are so many incredible caterers in the Bay Area! It would certainly be a more complex event, but certainly doable with the right vendor team.
If you’re planning larger/ longer celebrations than just the couple of hours we were there for solely the ceremony, a wedding planner would be recommended to set up decorations and help corral people. As this wedding essentially had minimal decorations and no reception event on site, the few setup tasks we had were completed by the couple and their close family.
For this wedding, the couple chose to go to Steph’s parents’ house in nearby Portola Valley for a backyard reception event with takeout. That also worked out really well. With a small group, it’s easy to have everyone head on to the next spot. That could be you or your family’s backyard or favorite restaurant. And don’t forget to get a few photos from that event too!
Similar wedding venues
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Photos from Huddart Park wedding
About Zoe Larkin Photography
Looking for a San Francisco peninsula wedding photographer? You can learn more about my services at the links below:
Hoping I’ll be back at Huddart Park soon, shooting your lovely wedding!