If there was one word I could use to describe these two, it would be joy. S + K originally planned to elope in Southern California, but they stumbled photos of the dramatic coastal bluffs of Big Sur and fell in love. These two were laughing and smiling from the very beginning of the day, even when the wind forced us to move their ceremony location. I had warned them that some of the paths would be a little more challenging with a full dress, so K came fully prepared with a new use for the Bridal Buddy, an underskirt that could be used to gather up all the layers of her dress so that she could freely hike safely. They ended their elopement day with a picnic and champagne on the beach, reading letters from their loved ones and dancing with their toes in the sand as the sun set over the horizon. When I asked them what their favorite part of their day was, his was watching his beautiful bride run and chase the birds, and her favorite memory was their picnic. It's those little moments that make each elopement so uniquely special! Check out the rest of their beautiful Big Sur elopement below.
I started talking with S + J about planning their elopement back in May when COVID-19 had changed everyone's wedding plans. These two met when S had been walking his dog (what better way to get a girl's attention?!) and they found that they shared a love for the outdoors and adventure. They knew they wanted their wedding day to be intimate, with just the bride's sister officiating their ceremony. With a September date almost finalized, unfortunately they had to put their plans on hold when an unexpected injury forced them to wait a little bit longer.
A few months later, I was so excited to hear from them again - we picked up right where we left off and started planning for a November elopement! Their day started off exchanging gifts at Glen Oaks Big Sur - J surprised her husband with a sweet photo book, and S made her laugh and smile at the roll of cash he wrapped up to make up for (honestly) forgetting his wallet on their first date. Ever the talented artist, the groom also gifted her a book of his own, with journal entries and hand drawn sketches documenting their memories together. I had never heard vows as eloquently written as S's vows written in poetry form. We then continued on to adventure to the redwoods and the coast of Big Sur to enjoy the rest of the day in a way that felt so genuine to who they were. And of course, a wedding day isn't complete without food + drink! We found a little spot out on the coast for just the two of them to share a first dance and enjoy a few bites of the home-baked Norwegian cake carefully made and delivered by the bride's mom. Right before the sun went down, we even got to include a bouquet toss - so we all know who's getting married next! Check out of the rest of S + J's Big Sur elopement below!
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!
Capturing memories isn't just reserved for engagement sessions! These two just had their 5 year anniversary, and wanted to celebrate by booking a family session. Of course we had to sneak in photos of the two of them as well! Despite the rain, the kids loved running around and even got to see the chickens at the ranch. Check out the rest of their San Jose couples and family session!
Big Sur can be a bit tricky to navigate sometimes, especially as there's no cell service along Highway 1. I worked with K to help him plan his proposal on the coast of Big Sur, and he went the extra step to check out the trail beforehand. Confident that he knew where to go, I very subtly led the way for them to climb up to the hilltop where he popped the question. Though they had talked about getting married, the moment still caught her by surprise - check out the rest of their surprise Big Sur proposal below!
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!
When C + D mentioned wanting to capture their maternity session in the redwood forests of California, I had just the perfect spot for them. They were amazed at how beautiful this hidden gem was, exploring the endless paths as they danced and laughed with each other (with her black Crocs strategically hidden by her dress, a smart move for adventuring in the forest!) Check out the rest of their redwood maternity session 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!