Inside a Magical DIY Woodland Wedding

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Inside a Magical DIY Woodland Wedding
Wed 18-05-2016

A very creative bride and groom's woodland themed wedding is going viral.

The bride and groom got 200 of their friends and family together in the woods of Mendocino, California for a 4 day festival of friendship, love and nature. 

Melissa Castaneda and Benjamin Turner’s Mendocino Woodlands wedding was like a mini forest festival. 

Bride Melissa Castaneda and groom Benjamin Turner tied the knot in June 2015 in a multi-day affair that included a meet-and-greet dance, a wedding ceremony and a maypole ceremony. The pair rented out a secluded camping area for the event so that their guests could stay on-site.

The bride said her wedding aesthetic was a hodgepodge in the best possible way, “like a scrap quilt with so many different pieces coming together to make magic.”

Castaneda’s favorite thing about the wedding was getting so many loved ones in the same place at the same time. 


In total, the couple spent roughly $20,000 on the wedding, thanks to a whole lot of DIY projects, recycling and contributions from their friends and family. 

“Our goal was to buy nothing new, except food and flowers, of course,” Castaneda said.


The bride and groom asked each guest to pitch in for their stay at the venue to defray some of the expense. The chef and cooking team were volunteers and all of the meals — other than the wedding dinner and brunch — were potluck style. Luckily, many of the couple’s friends are professional event producers for arts and music festivals, so they were able to borrow lighting and sound equipment from them. 

The wedding day schedule consisted of the ceremony, dinner, toasts and lots and lots of dancing. 

The bride’s twin sister created the headdresses for the bridesmaids. 


In keeping with the spirit of the wedding, even Castaneda’s exquisite wedding dress was recycled. The bride’s best friend found the coral-colored gown in a dumpster outside of the bridal shop where she worked. Castaneda, a dancer who also designs costumes, added her own unique touches and details to really make the dress her own.