Official wedding photo of Sean Parker and wife, Alexandra, taken amid the redwood forest. Photo courtesy of techcrunch.com.

Billionaire Sean Parker has issued a lengthy rebuttal to numerous media reports (including Woodallscm.com) that were critical of his recent wedding to wife Alexandra, which was held in a campground in California’s Big Sur region.

Parker is the executive general partner at Founders Fund. Previously he was co-founder of Napster, as well as the founding president of Facebook. He currently serves as a director of Spotify.

In the early part of his rebuttal, Parker sets the stage for how they selected their wedding venue.

“We spent the better part of two years hiking through redwood forests all over California, trying to find the perfect spot for our wedding. Finding an old-growth redwood grove suitable for a wedding is no easy task.  We enlisted the help of Save the Redwoods League, a noted conservation group, to help identify an appropriate site and also to provide advice on how to avoid harming the natural redwood habitat. With their guidance, we ultimately settled on a redwood grove within the campground of the Ventana Hotel & Spa in Big Sur, chosen largely because the site had already been developed, thereby minimizing the impact on the forest and avoiding the issue of a large number of guests trampling a “pristine” forest.

“The vision for our wedding was to integrate with nature as much as possible — to bring out the natural beauty of the site while incorporating the kinds of modern amenities that one needs at a wedding. Because we wanted to avoid any harm to the forest, we asked the league to send their Director of Science, Emily Burns, down to the site to advise our landscape architect on “best practices” for working within the forest.

“After the ceremony, many of us felt as though we never wanted to leave that forest, and indeed many guests remained there until the sun came up the next morning. We lay on the flower-strewn pathway, looking up at the redwood canopy above. The fog rolling in from the ocean enveloped us, imbuing the moment with a feeling of supernatural bliss.

The Monday after our wedding we woke up in our hotel room, newly married, and still buzzing from the most exciting day of our lives. With all the stresses and anxieties of wedding planning behind us, we were finally ready to relax, take a deep breath of ocean air, and enjoy the romance of being together in Big Sur. Many of our friends who lingered recounted their memories of the wedding, describing the event using words like “beautiful,” “tasteful,” “enchanted,” “epic,” and “a fantasy.” There was a kind of magic in the air, and most newlywed couples would have been free to bask in the afterglow of that moment.

 “Furthermore, our wedding did not take place in a park, on a nature reserve, or on any other form of protected public land. We rented our wedding site from a company operating a luxury hotel, the Ventana Inn & Spa, owned by two multi-billion-dollar private equity firms, both experienced players in California real estate. The site of the wedding was a private, for-profit, vehicular campground, largely paved over in black asphalt, full of compacted dirt, giant holes dug in the forest floor and mounds of dirt piled up around those holes.”

A bridge decorated for the Parkers’ wedding.

The full rebuttal appears at www.techcrunch.com. Click here to read the entire rebuttal.

Here is a summary of his comments:

  • The wedding site was chosen because it had been previously developed, so there was no environmental impact. The site was not public property, it was a private, for-profit, campground, which was mostly paved in asphalt and or cleared of all foliage. Development only occurred in cleared dirt and asphalt areas.
  • The natural environment was not harmed, despite widespread claims to the contrary. There was no harm done to redwood trees, other plants, or animals. There were no endangered species on or near the property.
  • We were conscientious about protecting the environment, locating the site with the help of Save the Redwoods League and soliciting advice about how to avoid harming the redwood habitat.
  • Hundreds of articles were written in the days following the wedding, yet only one reporter contacted us for comment. Most of the information contained in these articles was erroneous. No original reporting was done, no interviews were conducted, and no fact checking occurred.
  • We voluntarily agreed to cover $1 million in penalties related to the Ventana’s lack of development permits and past violations. We also volunteered to contribute $1.5 million in charitable contributions serving the coastal region of the Monterey Peninsula.