A Local Big Sur Elopement Photographer's Guide to Eloping in Big Sur
When it comes to elopement locations in the US, Big Sur is one of the top places people come to get married. With its vast coastal views and redwood forests, it's a place full of wonder and natural beauty. As a local Big Sur elopement photographer who spends countless roadtrips exploring the endless trails in the area, I'm here to help you craft an epic day that feels genuine to your love story. Check out this guide for location recommendations, best months to elope, day-of timelines, and planning tips!
These two met at the restaurant she was working at - he was coincidentally walking in to hand her his resume! But just a few months later, he left to attend a master's program and they stayed friends. Five years later, they ended up in the same place and reconnected. With long distance on top of the pandemic, K + R took a leap of faith. They moved in together and the rest is history! For their Big Sur elopement, they got ready at a cute A-frame cabin in the redwoods. The day was so full of emotion and tears - from the letters they exchanged during first look to their personal vows during their ceremony. You could just feel the emotion through through their day. Check out the rest of their Big Sur elopement below!
Just 2.5 hours south of San Francisco, there's a magical place on the California coast where the redwoods meet the ocean and the ocean meets the mountains. The Monterey Bay has grown more and more as a destination over the years - and for good reason! People come from all over the world to see the abundant wildlife and drive down Highway 1 to see the views that California is known for. It's not a surprise that this area is also popular for weddings. Surrounded by such a diverse range of landscapes, there's wedding venues for every type of couple - redwood forests for a fairytale wedding in Big Sur, ocean-view terraces for romantic sunsets overlooking the Pacific Ocean, gardens flourishing against the Santa Lucia Mountains. And the best part is that oftentimes you don't have to choose just one! You could get ready in a redwoods cabin, say your vows in a garden, and chase the sunset on the coast all in one day if you wanted to. If that sounds like your dream wedding, out this guide on Big Sur, Carmel, and Monterey wedding venues!
Planning an elopement or intimate wedding instead? Check out the Big Sur Elopement Guide for more information specifically for wedding days with smaller guest counts.
For R + M, having an intimate destination wedding was always something they imagined. They absolutely loved roadtripping, and had spent time campervanning through Arizona, Utah, and parts of California. One challenge - many of their family members had never even set foot on a plane. But when they told their family in Texas that they wanted to get married in California, their family were on board. These two's love story that had started all the way from high school was one worth celebrating, and even worth conquering fears and trying new things. And it was truly was such a more heartfelt, joy-filled wedding. M surprised his bride with flowers and a video compilation recording of well wishes from their loved ones, which started the waterworks early in the day. He teared up as she walked down the aisle, and took a few deep breaths before saying his vows to keep it together. Their day was also filled with so many sweet details, like having their names embroidered in her veil, or even making a custom license plate for their getaway car. As we drove up the coast, we all talked about how much this day was the best of both worlds - a gathering with their favorite people while still getting time to just be with each other, taking in the incredible landscapes with no one else around. It couldn't have been a more perfect day. Check out the rest of R + M's Big Sur wedding below!
Big Sur was a special place for you two - not only had they driven down Highway for many road trips, but they even got engaged there! R proposed overlooking the cliffs at Garrapata State Park, where we also ended up taking their engagement photos. So for their wedding, they decided to get married right in the heart of Big Sur. Instead of having a wedding party, they gathered their closest loved ones to stay with them at Wind and Sea, a beautiful property overlooking the ocean that also served as their venue. Their guests got to walk around in awe of the views around them. What was even more incredible was the 5 minutes of sunset we got at the end of the day - where the incredible sun finally peaked out from the clouds and celebrated these two's wedding day with them. Check out the rest of their Big Sur wedding below!
These two absolutely loved spending time in the ocean, so Big Sur was the perfect place for them to elope! Though they were originally from the East Coast, they moved to California and fell in love with the West Coast. Their roadtrips up and down Highway 1 were some of their favorite memories together, and they had even dived the Monterey Bay! On their elopement day, they kept it simple and just took in all the beautiful wonders of the landscapes around them. Though they had been to Big Sur before, I got to show them so many new spots and hidden gems. We witnessed the most dreamy light in the redwoods, and an epic sunset over the beach. It doesn't get more beautiful than this! Check out the rest of S + W's Big Sur elopement below!
Sometimes you meet a couple and they just radiate an incredible love for each other. T + C was that kind of couple. When these two met, it wasn't love at first sight (in fact, their first date was full of anxiety!) But as they got to know each other better, they grew into perfect partners for each other. When Keith, my husband and their officiant, asked them separately what they loved about each other, they both said that they found someone who matched their ambition - not for career or prestige, but for love. And that was true throughout their entire wedding day. From the moment that they saw each other for the first time, they were immediately overwhelmed with emotion. C was full of tears as they said their vows to each other privately in a sweet moment before their ceremony. Even the way they wrote their vows said so much about their love story. It wasn't just a small booklet, but rather a journal. One that they had written in with a few entries all the way up to their wedding day, jotted down with love letters that they could read back in years to come. With just an intimate group of 20 of their friends and family present to witness their day, they got to savor all the big and small moments with their favorite people. Check out the rest of their fairytale redwoods wedding at Sparrow Valley Retreat below!
These two liked to joke that they loved to suffer through the most difficult hikes - they had even done a 100+ mile hike through Europe! As Bay Area natives, they decide to get married in Big Sur and were so excited to explore the redwoods and the coast on their wedding day. We started their day in a romantic European style inn by the sea, where they got ready and had their first look. We all then drove down the coast to Loma Vista Gardens for an intimate wedding ceremony with just a few of their family and friends. After cake cutting and lunch, we spent the rest of the day hiking and climbing up and down the coastline. Check out the rest of their Big Sur wedding below!
C originally thought about proposing in Half Moon Bay, but I showed him some photos from Big Sur and he knew it was just the perfect place! They drove up early in the morning to avoid the crowds, and even though the fog settled into the mountains in the beginning, we still got to see a magical misty morning as we climbed down the mountain. The best part - she was so surprised, and couldn’t help but tear up when he asked her to marry him. Check out the rest of C + M's foggy Big Sur proposal below!
Sometimes you get lucky and the light shines through the redwoods trees just right, forming beams of light that pierce through the trees. And sometimes you get lucky and someone just happens to light a campfire while you're eloping in the redwoods. For K + J's elopement, they knew they wanted something simple, something outdoors. This was their 13 year anniversary together, and being in the redwoods was something that was meaningful to them as Bay Area natives. On their very first date, K won a carnival game, and many coincidental moments later all which brought them to getting married in Big Sur, they got to experience one of the most magical scenes. Check out the rest of their Big Sur redwoods elopement below!