How to Have an Awesome Marin County Pop-Up Wedding on Mount Tam with A Food Truck Picnic at China Camp

A Mount Tam Wedding

When I first spoke with Malala about her plans for her 15 person wedding on Mount Tam, there was a lot of planning still to be done. She had a date and general location for the wedding. She was originally thinking about doing the ceremony at Trojan Point on Mount Tamalpais. We discussed views, sun exposure, ease of access, and permits for that site. Having shot a handful of weddings in that area, I suggested she take a look at the spot where they do the mountain play just up the road. Crushing Memorial Amphitheater seemed like it could be a fun place to have the ceremony. On a Thursday at the beginning of May, the place was likely to be vacant. Malala did some scouting and decided the amphitheater was the spot she wanted to do the ceremony.

Getting Ready at the Mountain Theater

When I arrived at the parking lot a few hundred yards from the theater, Scottie, the groom, was just arriving. Soon after a few more cars showed up. It was a casual affair with dogs and folks in comfy shoes. Since everyone had gotten their Covid vaccinations, there were hugs and smiling faces. We walked out to the amphitheater and started setting up. The original plan was to put up a flower arch and have the ceremony at the bottom of the theater. The sun was out in full force, and it seemed like folks would get toasted pretty quickly. Once Malala arrived on the scene, I suggested a shady spot under the oaks for the ceremony, and we adjusted the placement of things.

Ceremony and Portraits on Mount Tam

The ceremony was short and sweet. Family and friends from out of town and country tuned in via Zoom. Malala wore a simple, beautiful dress. My neighbor and friend, Alyson of Forage and Flowers, did her florals. After the ceremony, they popped some champagne and toasted the newlyweds. We packed up and moved to a shady spot on the way to the car for some family and friend pictures. After pictures, we drove down the hill.

Food Truck Reception and Couple Pictures at China Camp

When I arrived at the reception location in San Rafael at China Camp State Park, the food truck was serving late afternoon lunch. Malala and Scottie love Cochinita, and were stoked to have the food truck serving their killer food. After the delicious lunch, we went down to the historic area of China Camp to wandered around and take pictures. The wind was pretty wicked where the food truck was parked, but down at the lower area of China Camp, it was quiet and calm.

Toasts and Cake at Rental House in San Rafael

Once we were done doing some couple shots at the lower area at China Camp, we headed to the rental property. Guests gathered there for drinks and cake. The rental place had many bathrooms, a yacht in the back, a jacuzzi and pool, and a nearly full-sized stuffed tiger under the grand piano. It was right out of a movie set from the ’80s. The dog played in the backyard. Folks hung out and had drinks. Friends and family toasted the couple. And, they cut the cake. The evening was mellow but relaxed. We took some pictures with the stuffed tiger before I made my exit.

Here is another great wedding from Mount Tam at Trojan Point I photographed nearly 10 years ago.

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