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 Big Sur elopement photographer and a local who spends countless weekends 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!
What’s the weather like in Big Sur, you might ask? Completely unpredictable and all the more magical because of it. We started their day on the coast, soaking in the warm sunlight as artists set up their easels to paint the vibrant blues and greens of the famous Big Sur coastline. As we headed down to Wind & Sea, the fog rolled over the mountains and gave them a misty ceremony overlooking the ocean, almost as if they were floating in a cloud. And of course just as I was driving home, the road back up Highway 1 went from warm, golden rays peeking through the trees to a low hanging cloud drifting over the cliffs. So if there’s one thing to know about Big Sur, it’s that you can never predict the weather, peak season or not! It’s all a part of the adventure. Check out the rest of L + D's intimate wedding at Wind & Sea below!
J + M originally planned to elope in Big Sur, but after talking with their family, they decided to have an intimate wedding. So they kept some of the parts of their elopement that they loved while still getting to celebrate with their loved ones - they started their day in the redwoods with just the two of them, met up with their family for a beautiful ceremony and incredible 7-course meal, and watched the sunset peak over the clouds as they ran around with their toes in the sand and her dress soaked in the ocean. It was the perfect blend of moments spent intimately with each other and with the small group of people they chose to spend their day with. Check out the rest of J+M's intimate wedding at Loma Vista Gardens on the coast of Big Sur, California!
3 years ago, I first started chatting with A + V as they started planning their enchanted redwoods forest wedding. These two had met in high school when a fateful meeting due to an art project turned into love at first sight. Over the years, these two grew together and grew apart before finally finding love again at the right place and the right time. He proposed at the door of her house where they had met all those years ago, and they were excited to start planning their wedding at The Mountain Terrace, a redwoods venue not far from where they grew up. Then COVID hit, forcing them - like many others couples - to change plans. Finally they got to share in a beautiful evening on September 5, 2021, with a day that felt just as magical as the day they met. It was an evening full of happy tears, karaoke songs, and the best late night snacks. Congratulations A + V!!
When their ceremony site Pfeiffer Beach closed just 2 days before these two’s elopement, I made it my mission to show them all the best hidden gems of Big Sur. So instead we ventured out and found the perfect rock formation with a little archway that felt like it was meant to be. They said their vows with the ocean waves crashing around them, their toes in the sand and dress flowing in the water. After the ceremony, I took them to explore a sea cave and they were just ecstatic, sharing a childlike wonder at the beauty around them. Love it when the best moments are the ones we never plan for!
A + G met across the world in Okinawa, Japan, where they both were stationed. Though at first they were just friends, they went on a weekend trip to the island of Nago where everything changed. As timing would have it, he was moving to California just 3 weeks later. But that didn't stop them from continuing to build a relationship that was stronger than the miles and time zones that separated them. A knew that she would be heading from Japan back to the US for a short time in July, so they decided to elope at the majestic San Francisco City Hall during her short time here. Though she would have to return to Japan soon after their wedding date, they got to celebrate a special day with each other, saying their vows privately and running along the beach, where she lost her veil to the wind but couldn't keep the smile off her face. Check out the rest of A + G's San Francisco City Hall Elopement!
When A + T started looking at venues, they knew they wanted to get married in the redwoods. It was more than just a beautiful backdrop that reflected their love of the outdoors and hiking in the redwoods, it was a way to honor A's grandfather whose birthday was on the same day as their wedding. A remembered looking at her grandparents' wedding photos, and living through them as a way to celebrate their lives and the love story they shared. So when they found Deer Park Villa, it became the perfect place to celebrate their own love story amongst the redwoods.
One of the most memorable moments was getting to watch A surprise her soon-to-be-husband with a song - he had not known that she had been diligently practicing the song "I Lava You" on the ukelele to play for him before their first look. They shared an intimate moment saying their vows to each other before the ceremony, saving the words that meant the most to them for just the two of them before their guests arrived. Check out the rest of A + T's Deer Park Villa wedding below!
Music was no doubt, an important part of N + A’s story, both professional musicians who shared their passion through recording YouTube videos at every national park they visited on a cross country road trip, or writing songs for N’s band Sweet Hayah. When we started planning their elopement, I asked if they would be playing any songs on their wedding day. They said they hadn’t thought about it, but it quickly became the cornerstone of one of the most beautiful memories of their wedding day. When we looked at venues, I knew one might just be the perfect one for them - Henry Miller Library, a place nestled in the Big Sur redwoods that regularly hosted musicians and bands. Their wedding day came, and they played their hearts out, singing the words to a song they had played at a recent friend’s wedding. This was a song that N had actually written with A in mind, though he had not known it at the time. In that moment, it felt like it was just them, and it was pure magic. Congratulations N + H!
What does a bride do when a bird poops on her dress within seconds of starting the first look? Laugh it off and say “Well if that’s the worst thing that could happen, then we’re golden.” Moments like the groom cleaning off her train are what marriage is all about - they didn't miss a beat and spent the day picnicking on the beach and adventuring on the coast. And no, I didn’t have to Photoshop it out of any other photos either - it might’ve been noticeable in person but blemishes like getting the dress dirty often don’t show up in photos! Check out the rest of P + T's elopement in the redwoods and on the coast of Big Sur!
Your elopement is a chance to celebrate your way! If you've ever wondered what an 8 hour elopement day could look like with no guests, these two made the most out of their wedding day. J rocked all 3 dresses, complete with a boa made of flowers. They spent their day doing the things they loved - picnicking on the coast, playing a classic card game she had taught him (of course she won), and singing and dancing to the tune of their favorite songs. It's the ways that couples personalize their day that make it so memorable - not even the epic views of Big Sur could top the incredible energy and love I got to witness as they twirled and danced the night away under the headlights of the rad vintage car they rented. Check out the rest of J + G's Big Sur elopement below!