When E + J's daughter started bawling at her parents getting married, there wasn’t a single dry eye in sight. Moments like these are what makes wedding days so special, even with just 8 people to witness these two get married. Moments like the these two sharing a first look amongst the giant redwoods of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, the bride reassuring her father she wasn’t at all concerned about her dress dragging the entire forest with her, or the groom (who successfully held in the tears even through the ceremony) when his eyes started watering the moment his daughter started crying, or when the bride’s mom had to pause in between the reading, or all the sniffles I heard throughout the ceremony from their loved ones. So happy for these two who had the most beautiful day in Big Sur, celebrating their story in a place that reflected their shared love of adventure and their new family. Check out more photos from E + J's Big Sur Lodge wedding below!
Would you rather elope in: 1. Amongst the tall redwood trees 2. Overlooking the coast or 3. In a field of calla lilies? One of the best parts of Big Sur is that you can feel like you're transported to an entirely new place, even when just driving 15-30 minutes from one spot to another! E + C chose to start their day by getting ready at Glen Oaks Big Sur, where they shared a first look and said their vows in an intimate ceremony at Big Sur Grange. One of my favorite moments was just watching them have their first dance as they rested in each others' arms, feeling so content and joyful at getting to finally call each other husband and wife. After adventuring in the redwoods and climbing over logs, we spent the rest of the day checking out all the best sights of Big Sur. Having been to each of those locations countless times, I loved getting to just see their look of awe and wonder as they got to experience the magic and beauty of Big Sur. We ended right at sunset overlooking the coast. Check out the rest of E + C's Big Sur elopement below!
When A + R first started planning an intimate wedding with just immediate family, they envisioned eloping in the Big Sur redwoods. Together we went over different venue options, and they booked the beautiful Bridge House at Glen Oaks Big Sur. But as all things go in COVID times, they were forced to change their plans when Glen Oaks Big Sur couldn't accommodate groups until later that year. So we went back to the drawing board, and I helped them look through alternative options.
We finally pivoted plans to Sparrow Valley Retreat, a cabin Airbnb deep in the Santa Cruz mountains. It became the perfect setting for their wedding, allowing them to have their own private space for everything from getting ready to reception. With a handmade deck amongst the redwoods, they shared their vows in a place that felt just right and couldn't stop laughing throughout their day. The cherry on top was two wandering cats on the property, who came to say hello to them after their first look and might've knocked over a sign or two. Check out the rest of their Sparrow Valley Retreat wedding below!
A common misconception is that elopements are just long photoshoots. But an elopement is so much more than that - it's a day meant to be experienced, celebrated, and spent with the one you love. And sometimes, it's also a day with stories to tell of how everything went wrong, but somehow went right.
So what do you do when you want pizza delivered to the beach in a place with no cell service? Go the old-fashioned route of finding someone on Craigslist. When we started running a little behind, we tried to get ahold of the delivery guy but couldn't reach him. So we headed over 30 minutes late, fingers crossed that he would still be there. When we finally arrived at the meeting spot, there was no pizza and no delivery guy to be found. But then - as luck would have it - a few minutes later, someone pulled up right behind their car. Their delivery guy had arrived, and the only reason he wasn't there earlier was because he had driven around trying to find them. We then headed down to the beach where they got to pop a bottle of champagne and eat their favorite meal on their elopement day.
When we headed back to the car after sunset, I asked if they wanted a few shots in their Jeep. It was their own car, one that they had driven all the way up to Big Sur and had spent many weekends adventuring and off-roading. Though we hadn't planned for it, capturing these two at the end of the day with their arms wrapped up around each other sitting on their beloved Jeep, became some of my favorite moments. What a day - check out the rest of their Big Sur elopement below!
He took her to see where he grew up 3 years ago, and she knew immediately when she saw the giant redwoods of Northern California that she wanted to get married here. So they returned to Santa Cruz 3 years later to say their vows with just the two of them, his uncle officiating the ceremony and just me as the witness. Though it had rained - and even hailed - just the day before, we lucked out. We started the day with a tearful first look, then continued onto Henry Cowell State Park to see the famous old growth redwoods. It was a place where they had shared memories before, a place that now meant even more to them as they now explored the redwoods as husband and wife.
With 2020 throwing so many plans in the wind, J + E knew that they wanted to start growing their family. So they decided to get married with just J's immediate family to witness the day, and memories and photos to share with E's family across the sea. We tossed around different ideas like eloping on the coast of Big Sur or even using their parent's backyard, but eventually we found the perfect in-between - getting ready at home and adventuring to the coast of San Francisco for their intimate ceremony.
Many couples choose to skip getting ready when eloping, but some of those moments became the most precious as J chose to spend those moments thanking her parents with gifts and letters. There were so many tears shed as the emotions started to well up, the day that their daughter was getting married became so real. And we laughed as they all tried to tie the bow ties and put on the boutonnieres before heading out to the coast.
When E + G went on their first date, they ended the night watching the sunset at Ocean Beach. It soon became their favorite place to go, where they would run on the beach training for marathons together. 3 years later, they were back at their favorite place when G started singing her favorite song. He then surprised her with a proposal and of course she said yes!
It was no surprise that these two decided to get married in a place that meant so much to their love story. On a sunny day in February, they honored their parents with a traditional tea ceremony and said their vows in front of just family, where G surprised her with singing another verse of her favorite song and E couldn’t help but tear up. Their family joined them in the most epic impromptu dance party on the beach, and they chased the last light of sunset doing what they loved the most - running together hand in hand, barefoot in the sand.
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!
As the #1 most visited state in the United States, California is undoubtedly one of the most popular places to elope. Known for its sunny weather and diversity of landscapes, it's a place where you can go from redwoods to coast, from big city to small town all within a matter of hours. Having lived in California all my life, I've spent years exploring all the different parts of the state, from road tripping down Highway 1 to Big Sur, to camping in Yosemite in the snow, to finding hidden gems dotted throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. It's that passion and love for the outdoors that has brought me to specializing as a Northern California elopement photographer - that plus my obsessive love of planning and many Google Sheets. So if you're thinking about eloping, here's everything you need to know on where to elope and how to plan an elopement in Northern California!
San Francisco was a special place for these two - it was the city where they met, fell in love, and built their lives together. Though the pandemic forced them to change their plans multiple times, they decided that they didn't want to wait any longer. So together we put together an epic day of adventuring to all the iconic San Francisco locations for their elopement - starting at the Ferry Building, then onwards to San Francisco City Hall, then to the Marin Headlands for a beautiful beach ceremony, and finally to a view of the Golden Gate Bridge. We originally had planned to capture the reception, but the city's traffic cut our time short, turning a 15 minute drive into a 45 minute drive and forcing us to make the split second decision on what to do with our remaining time. Though the sun had already set, I persuaded them to make to our last location in front of the Golden Gate Bridge - and it was absolutely perfect getting to watch them dance to an impromptu DJ on the top of the hill as the lights lit up the sky. Check out the rest of A + R's San Francisco elopement below!