If there's one thing to know about weather, it's that it can be unpredictable - especially on the coast of Big Sur. One day it can be sunny, and then next it can be completely cloudy. But even in the course of a day, you might run into a day like this. It was abnormally warm for this early spring day, and the sun shone brightly as hikers dressed in shorts and t-shirts came to explore the coast. But just as the sun was about to set, a dramatic fog cloud rolled in. It created the dreamiest atmosphere for J's proposal, as the sun mixed with the fog for a once-in-a-lifetime experience here in Big Sur. His girlfriend had a small inkling that he might be proposing soon, but it didn't take away from all the tears and emotion she felt when the moment actually happened. Check out the rest of their romantic Big Sur proposal 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!
Every year I'll get a couple of proposal inquiries that'll ask for just the 15 minutes of the proposal itself captured, which is something I don't offer as my proposal sessions are at least an hour long. The reason is this - I'm not just here to take a few photos and leave, I'm here to create an experience and document those memories. You might've heard that studies show that investing in experiences often results in greater happiness, and that's something that I believe is so important as a photographer. It's moments like watching these two have ear-to-ear grins when they call each other fiance for the first time, catching the glances when she'll stop just to stare at her engagement ring in awe, and hearing her say that her hand can't stop shaking from the excitement that are so important. Those moments are the ones I'm always looking for - not just the 15 minutes of the proposal - though those are some of my favorite moments! - but the ones that can only be found through taking the time to slow down and just enjoy the experience. Check out the rest of T + B's sweet Big Sur proposal below - bring on all the tears!
People sometimes ask, how can it be a surprise proposal if she’s all dressed up? I’m not sure about you, but I’m in PJs and leggings 95% of the time, and then dresses the remaining 5% of the time when we finally go somewhere nice just for us and not work. But even if it’s not 100% a surprise - a girl sometimes just knows - that doesn’t take away how special the actual moment can be. The exact moment it happens, all else fades away and it all sinks in. This is real. This is happening. Check out more photos from these two's romantic proposal on the coast of Big Sur for proposal ideas and inspiration!
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!
When the emotion is real, capturing each and every moment is so much more than framing a beautiful couple in front of a beautiful backdrop. It’s capturing the minute movements and expressions that fly by so quickly. B knew that A had always wanted to see this famous landmark, so I suggested they get up early before the crowds hit. We quickly identified each other as the only two cars at the pullout, and walked out to the bridge where we had arranged for him to ask me to take a selfie for him. Watching their proposal unfold was so incredibly beautiful - A couldn’t stop crying and jumping up and down in excitement. And what I loved even more about these two was that even as we continued taking engagement photos after, she couldn’t stop tearing up in between shots and smiling from ear to ear. 10/10 would wake up at 5 AM any day to capture these moments - check out the rest of their Big Sur Bixby Bridge proposal!