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!
K + J always loved the water, so when it came time to choosing a place to elope, they looked at places like New Zealand and Norway, both known for their epic fjords. But as they were talking with their friends, they were reminded that there was a place much closer to home that encompassed everything they were looking for. Just a day's drive from their home in Southern California, they made their way up to Big Sur and immediately fell in love. It was more than just the incredible landscape - it was the vibe and energy of the place. On the day of their elopement, they got to experience so many magical wonders. With no guests but an audience of pelicans and seagulls that flew overhead and sat in the water during the ceremony, they reveled in the majestic coastal views that served as the backdrop to their wedding day. When they drove down Highway 1, they watch in awe of the cloud inversion that wrapped around the coast which made for the perfect impromptu stop. And just as the sun set below the horizon, they got to experience the warm California sun, one of the things they loved about being on the West Coast. What a magical day indeed. Check out the rest of K + J's Big Sur elopement below!
K + M originally contacted me wanting to schedule an engagement session in Big Sur, but they realized, why not elope there? These two weren't afraid to do a little climbing, and even surprised me with how agile they were in their full wedding outfits! We scaled the cliffs and watched the waves crash against the rocks - which was exactly what they had told me they wanted to see when they were planning their elopement. To add a personal touch to their day, they rented a classic Mustang, which reminded K of her mom who used to drive one back in the day. As we watched the sun set and said goodbye, one of the best things I got to hear them say was that they had so much fun, and wanted to do it more often (the adventuring, the cuddling, the romance!) That's what is so awesome about choosing to elope!
Some may say politics is a topic to avoid at weddings, but for B + S, it was an important part of their lives! These two found love while working on the same political campaign. Together they travelled across the US going from one campaign to the next before finally settling down in California and starting their own political consulting business. When the pandemic hit, they spontaneously decided to elope at a courthouse on a trip to Lake Tahoe, and grew their family with a little one. A few years later, they decided to celebrate with their family and friends. S was best friends with the owner of Loma Vista Gardens, so Big Sur had always been a special place to her. It became the perfect backdrop for their celebration with an intimate group of family and friends. One of their guests even commented that the magical garden wedding reminded them of B + S's own backyard! It was such a sweet reflection of their lives together, complete with personal touches like campaign buttons and article cutouts from their work together. Check out the rest of their Loma Vista Gardens wedding!
K + A fell in love with the Big Sur coast on their 7-year anniversary trip down Highway 1. Though these two met in school in Southern California, they both shared the same hometown in Northern California. Big Sur became the perfect halfway point for these two to get married after getting engaged in Hawaii overlooking the ocean. Check out the rest of their Hyatt Carmel Highlands wedding below!
17 years. R + P had shared more than half their life together, starting with freshman year of high school. It was a long day coming, and I could just feel how important and how momentous this day was when the tears started before the ceremony even really began. To top off the day, the sun even came out for them after it had rained all morning. We couldn’t have planned a more perfect day - check out the rest of their Big Sur elopement below!
Almost exactly one year ago, I helped J plan a surprise proposal to K on the coast of Big Sur. It was so sweet getting to return a year later and celebrate them getting married! Their elopement was a throwback to the 80's - K wore a beautiful puffy sleeved dress with pearl details, and they rented a classic car to drive down Highway 1. Their only guests were their parents, and J's dad officiated the ceremony. After a tear-filled ceremony, these two shared a first dance and popped a bottle of champagne to celebrate. We then took their car down Highway 1 to explore the coast, and caught some incredible clouds drifting in and out over the coast. The day wasn't complete without one last stop - the place where he had proposed and they got engaged. Though it was cloudy just like their proposal, the sun did peek out just a bit and painted the sky with beautiful oranges and yellows. What a perfect way to end the day! Check out the rest of J + K's Big Sur elopement below!
R + N, two Canadians who found their way to the Bay Area, knew that they wanted an intimate ceremony in their new home state of California. They were perfect opposites that balanced each other out, with R being an introverted librarian and N being an extroverted engineer. Together they loved to travel and binge watch the British baking shows, so of course some delicious donuts made it into their wedding day as the best way to end their day! They also included their sweet mini dachshund Arthur, who got to be a part of their first look in the lavender fields of Carmel Valley Ranch. The summer fog rolled in for their ceremony on their coast, but it made their day all the more magical with her veil flying in the wind. Though they had brought a picnic with them, they decided to just pop the champagne and eat donuts by their car. We chatted and laughed until it got dark before saying goodbye as friends and sending them on their way to grab s'mores back to Carmel Valley Ranch. What an incredible way to celebrate their wedding day! Check out the rest of R + N's Big Sur elopement below.
K + S worked for the same independent music magazine, but she was on the East Coast while he was on the West Coast. One fateful meeting over a delicious roast chicken dinner that S hosted led to sparks flying between these two. But the timing wasn’t right, so they kept in touch while living on opposite coasts. 5 years later, K found herself back in San Francisco again, and they fell in love on their first real date. She officially made the move to San Francisco right before the wedding, where they got to celebrate with an intimate group of family and friends. It was a day that reflected all the things they loved about each other and the community they built - from spending their day in the city where they fell in love, to riding a VW bus around, to hiring a DJ who S had met from a local bar he loved to frequent, to serving SF based Anchor Steam beer and Tartine cake. Check out the rest of K + S's garden party themed wedding at the San Francisco Botanical Garden Redwood Grove and Stable Cafe!
When P started planning his proposal, he thought about choosing an iconic spot in San Francisco where they lived. But the more he thought about it, the more he realized he wanted somewhere a bit more special. P and S had started their relationship in long distance, with one of them in San Francisco and the other in Los Angeles. They made many road trips up and down Highway 1 before eventually finding their way to the same city. The ocean was always something they loved - they spent a lot of time at the beach, just enjoying spending time with each other. So when P emailed me asking for help planning a last minute trip to Big Sur so that he could propose to her, I hopped on it right away! We secretly met at the parking turnout, and he carefully brought her down to the spot where he proposed. She was so surprised and overjoyed when he knelt down on one knee, and the sun peeked through the clouds just in time for them! After introducing myself, I took them to the beach where we chased the waves and ended the night snuggled up in the flower beds. Check out the rest of P + S's Big Sur proposal below!