Big Sur Elopement and Intimate Wedding Photographer
Chances are high you’ve already heard of Big Sur. Who hasn’t dreamed of driving on Highway 1 listening to Road Trippin’ (Spotify link here), driving over iconic Bixby Bridge, dreamy Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, or simply enjoying the rugged coast? Sarah & Neil not only dreamed of it, but they made their Big Sur elopement a reality with a little planning and lots of love.
Elopement day = flexible wedding day
Sarah & Neil first connected with me thanks to a photographer friend who they originally booked (check out Will’s great work). But, as you already know, 2020 is a weird year, and changing plans has become the new norm. Couples have had to roll with the punches and restrictions; anything from changing their wedding day plans, to postponing it or turning their wedding into a micro wedding. It is confusing and tiring for both the couple and their guests, to say the least.
Sarah & Neil saw their initial plan changed too. Consequently, the circumstances forced them to reschedule their elopement, and Will, their original photographer, was not available anymore. We are a small community of photographers, and I am grateful to know someone like Will who recommended me. After briefly chatting over texts, I jumped on a call with Sarah & Neil to get to know them and reassure them that it will still be the elopement of their dreams.
As a result, we had a strong connection right from the beginning. For example, I describe myself as a non-traditional photographer for laid-back couples. And Sarah and Neil fit solidly into that description too. On their “hi”, I knew we were going to have fun together.
Big Sur, weather, and crucial locations
Many couples eloping in California think about famous locations like Yosemite, Big Sur, Mendocino, or Joshua Tree for a reason. They’re all breathtaking natural habitats filled with rugged coastlines, epic mountains, stunning deserts, or giant redwood forests.
During our first conversations, we went through all the locations I could recommend to them based on a few of their dream: a ceremony facing the ocean and some time to share their special elopement cake on the beach. I quickly built a suggested timeline with plenty of buffer time, as shooting in Big Sur means some additional driving time and some time walking around.
If you know the area as I do, it’s pretty easy. But I still remember the first few times I went there, and it was overwhelming. Natural beauty is everywhere. As a consequence, it helps to have someone who knows the location as a guide (which I’m happy to do for my couples!). Since the weather was uncertain and there was a strong wind, I decided to show up the day before to scope things out. I always like to prepare with contingency plans if needed – especially when my couples are coming from far away.
The morning after, I decided to share my ideas for a ceremony and ‘reception’ locations with David (a fantastic videographer; if you are looking for someone, check his work here). Ultimately, Sarah and Neil put their trust in me and followed my lead. The ceremony location for their Big Sur elopement was so gorgeous; it looks like a movie set. They exchanged vows with one another and it was beautiful. We managed to enjoy our time on the way, share stories, laugh, and have a nice break (with their fabulous arch) on the beach for them to enjoy their cake.
The blue hour for moody portrait
After a few hours altogether and some magical moments captured, I was waiting for one more thing: the blue hour.
Full disclosure: it got cold and quite windy. Our noses were running; we are tired and hungry. All of this makes a great mix to spark some emotions with the best light of the day. So we followed some secret paths on the coast for them to pop their champagne bottle before their last cuddles in their car’s headlights.
To sum up the day, David and I signed their wedding license as official witnesses, and it was already time to say goodbye.
In addition Neil wrote after receiving a few photos: “Man, I really don’t know how you […] did it. The mood and atmosphere of your photography is just so […] perfect. I can’t tell you how many people have told me that we have the best wedding photos they have ever seen.”
If you want more information about Big Sur elopement packages, please contact me here.
- Photo: Sebastien Bicard
- Video: Capture Color
- Rental: Kiss me in Carmel Vintage Rentals
- Flowers: Fleurs du Soleil
- Makeup: Blush Monterey