Fashion / Weddings

A Heavenly Summer Wedding Within the Redwood Forest of Carmel’s Santa Lucia Preserve

Sarah Elizabeth Requa and Samuel Finley Ewing IV Tied the Knot in an Intimate Pandemic-Era Ceremony

BY // 06.24.21
photography Liz Banfield

Imagine walking among towering sequoias in the Redwood Forest outside Carmel, branches forming an intricate canopy as dramatic as a gothic church. The fragrance of hundreds of plants combine to form a heavenly scent that can never be bottled. The calming silence is only occasionally interrupted by the staccato rat-a-tat of a woodpecker. Now imagine this is the backdrop of your wedding. During the chaotic year we’ll call Pandemic 2020, Sarah Elizabeth Requa and Samuel Finley Ewing IV chose this very location for their ceremony.

Sarah is from Houston, where much of her family still resides. She attended Southern Methodist University and, like many former grads, fell in love with Dallas and decided to make a home here. She also fell in love with Dallas native Finley Ewing. His charming courtship took place over the following years until June 2019, when he surprised her with an entourage of their friends, along with a gorgeous ring, and dropped down on one knee. She immediately and enthusiastically said, “Yes!” And then the wedding planning began.

Sarah and Finley strategized their dream wedding with Sara Fay Egan Events. The couple knew from the start that they wanted a destination wedding, and Carmel seemed the perfect choice. His parents had wed there; her parents have a home there and she spent many wonderful family vacations in the seaside community. Add in the fact that Finley is an avid golfer — Pebble Beach is around the corner — and the deal was sealed.

redwood forest wedding
The beautiful, intimate wedding ceremony in the Redwood Forest.

Initially envisioned with the de rigueur guest list of 250 plus and the usual assortment of gilded bells and whimsical whistles, COVID, of course, waylaid those plans. The original date was May 2, and the invitations had already been sent when the order to shelter in place came in mid-March. Sarah was actually in Mexico that fateful March 13 weekend for her bachelorette party when her beautiful wedding began to unravel in front of her eyes. The venue called to say that they did not envision being open again for business by early May. Then the start-stop, start-stop whirlwind began.

One might call the fairytale ceremony that ultimately occurred with 22 guests in the Redwood Forest in the Santa Lucia Preserve “The Cowboy and the Wood Nymph.” Finley, wearing bespoke cowboy boots with Sarah’s initials monogrammed on one and his on the other — both sporting the original wedding date — saw his bride emerge through stately redwood trees as the sun began to set and rays of light beamed through the leaves.

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Following the ceremony in the Redwood Forest, a wedding reception took place in Sarah’s family home in Carmel.

After the minister pronounced them husband and wife, the intimate group adjourned to the reception and dinner, held in the motor courtyard of Sarah’s parent’s Carmel home. The Sara Fay Egan Events team created an open-air pergola, where guests dined at long tables then danced through the night. In the center of the pergola hung 1,000 origami cranes made of Japanese paper.


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“My grandmother handmade each crane, which is a special Japanese tradition,” she says. “And I loved our linens, which had embroidered birds on branches that reminded me of the preserve. Each guest had a linen hemstitched napkin, with the ladies having a blue hydrangea and the gentlemen a cypress tree. I’m an artist, and I painted the cypress tree that appeared on many of our paper good pieces.” Another nod to the location — and a passion of Finley’s — occurred at dessert, when male guests received a small golf cake.

What does the future now hold for the couple? The Requa-Ewings have announced great news: Sarah is pregnant, and they’re now awaiting the newest member of their family.

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It’s All In the Details

Planning: Sara Fay Egan Events

Gown: Lovely by Monique Lhuillier

Wedding Gown: Casa de Novia Bridal Couture

Custom Cowboy Boots: Roma

Hair/Makeup: LB Rosser

Photographer: Liz Banfield

Videography: Beyond Films & Video Production

Florist: Fiona’s Flowers

Paper: Paradise Design Co.

Calligraphy: Laurie Harper

Catering: Santa Lucia Preserve

Wedding Cake: Edith Meyer Wedding Cakes

Rentals: Hensley Event Resources

Linens: La Tavola

Lighting: Fiesta Lighting Designs

Ceremony Music: Kelly Productions

Reception Band: Entourage by de Bois Entertainment

Classic Car: Monterey Touring Vehicles

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