How can an elopement be a full day? I had been working with these two for the past two months to plan their backyard elopement. We had an itinerary and timeline all mapped out to visit a few different spots after the ceremony, but instead they took the day to just slow down and enjoy it. They had the sweetest Jewish ceremony where I had the honor to be their sole witness, cut cake in their backyard, and played with their pups who loved all the new sights and sounds. When it came time to adventure out for their portraits, we realized we wouldn’t have time to go to 2 out of the 3 locations we had planned, so headed straight for the coast for sunset. Though we had been worried about the rainy weather forecast all last week, we lucked out and watched the most beautiful sunset, ending their night driving over Golden Gate Bridge in the raddest 1954 Chevy Bel Air. It was a full day spent well in a way that just felt like them. Check out the rest of their California coastal and backyard elopement!
How many of you are planners like me? As a planner and a bride, P was on top of it when we talked through different timelines and location options. With Big Sur hit by so many fires this year, we weren't sure if Pfeiffer Beach would be open. Luckily just just in time - a week before their elopement - the Dolan Fire was contained and we went ahead and planned to head their after their ceremony.
But as (not) the planner, A took his chance to surprise his bride with the sweetest gesture. Just as she was about to walk down the aisle, she heard music playing. He had somehow managed to livestream musicians - with the very limited Wifi out in the redwoods - for their ceremony. They shared a first dance together and all the tears on their elopement day. Check out the rest of P + A's Big Sur elopement!
Choosing to elope can be every bit as special and meaningful as choosing to have a traditional wedding. These two really took it to heart and carefully planned their day to be intentional and full of memories and moments. We started off at the Hyatt Highlands Carmel, where they got ready separately (pro tip: they have two floor suites perfect for this!) It still felt like they were in the same room even as they were a floor apart, and they got to share little moments like J passing her shoes down the staircase without peeking. They then headed to the balcony for a first look, where they took a deep breath together and just took in how much this day meant to them.
As we drove down to the coast of Big Sur, we found ourselves surrounded by the most beautiful fog. It was such a sweet ceremony with just the two of them, sharing their vows that were written on cards that even had the coastline captured on the front. And while we loved the fog, K + J got to share a quiet moment watching the sunset together as the sun broke through the clouds for just a bit. To end the day, they had a picnic on the beach, read letters written by their friends and family, and then cuddled up in blankets as we said our goodbyes. What an incredible honor it was to get to capture such an incredible day with these two!
J + P knew from the very beginning that they wanted their wedding day to be an intimate day for their new joined family - one of the most important members being J's son. Together we planned a beautiful day in the redwoods and on the coast for their Santa Cruz elopement. While we originally had planned to have their ceremony overlooking the epic cliffsides, we talked over what was most important to them and narrowed their location down to Seascape Beach Resort. Having their ceremony at an easy-to-access location meant that they could include the important Hindu tradition of walking seven steps around a fire to bless their marriage. Their ceremony was one of the most important parts of their day, and I could just feel the love pouring out as they both said vows to each other and to their son, shared gifts, and ran into the ocean hand and hand as a new family of three. Check out the rest of their Santa Cruz elopement below!
A reconnection over the Great Chicago Polar Vortex, a custom board game proposal, and a fairytale wedding planned during the pandemic later, these two are MARRIED! One of the things I loved about capturing these two was just the way they were so in sync with each other, the way they busted out dance moves when there was no music, melted in each others' arms, and just enjoyed being with each other. Their wedding was a day spent celebrating the things that made their love story so special, with intentional touches like how she had practiced a verse to read to him during their ceremony - not in English but in his native German language - or how they couldn't stop smiling when they got to see their see family and friends from all around the world over Zoom, in each of their different breakout rooms, who woke up early or stayed up late to witness these two say I do. Check out the rest of their Nestldown wedding!
When these two met in Canada at a friend's birthday party, little did they know that their paths would bring them all the way to California where they would eventually get married under the redwood trees. Work brought him to work in the San Francisco Bay Area, and love brought her to join him on a new adventure. With the pandemic making their plans to have a wedding with family across international borders impossible for 2020, they decided to tie the knot in a way that just felt right.
Eloping doesn't always mean it has to be just the two of you. K + L knew that they wanted to include their little one on one of the most important days of their lives, so they brought along two friends to help make their day happen. It was the sweetest day spent with their family, adventuring in the redwoods, playing in the river, and exploring the incredible coast of Big Sur. K would run without abandon as we went from place to place, barefoot on the sand and ombré dirt coloring her dress. For them, it was a day to feel free, to feel loved, and to feel wholly connected to things that mattered the most to them. Check out the rest of K + L's Big Sur Elopement!
When COVID forced these two to cancel their wedding in Monterey, they chose to pivot their plans and elope on the coast of Big Sur with just their parents. But it certainly didn't make it any less special - in fact, it was so incredibly sweet to witness the moments they shared together. They treasured moments like Sarah practicing her first dance with her father in the hotel living room, walks through memory lane looking at childhood photos that they gifted the parents, and all the emotion and tears that started to well up as it started to truly feel real.
I've loved getting to see the unique ways that couples choose to include their loved ones on their wedding day - and for these two, they had their parents each share stories and blessings to them during their wedding ceremony. And while we battled a bit of wind on the coast, it didn't stop them from enjoying the moments and even sharing a first dance and dances with their parents before continuing on to chase the sunset with just the two of them. Check out the rest of S + R's Big Sur elopement!
To say that this year has been a rollercoaster would be an understatement - from the first emails back in April checking in with 2020 couples on how they're doing, to walking with them through changing their wedding plans, to pivoting with every new situation, to getting them excited again about their wedding day again. But when it all finally comes together, it's so incredible to see two people get married in a way that focuses on what's most important. Getting to witness and capture W + J say their vows with the most tears I have ever seen in a ceremony, chase the sunset over the hills, and return just in time for the best surprise visit (and more tears) reminded me of how deep and meaningful these 2020 weddings can be. Check out the rest of their beautiful backyard wedding!
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! (Updated October 2020)