Aislinn and James’ Big Sur Destination Wedding Weekend

Well, I couldn’t be more excited to show you these pictures. And I don’t know about you, but it’s hard not to love EVERYTHING about this event. Aislinn and James brought their beautiful family from Georgia for a gorgeous, intimate, and fabulously low-key wedding on the coastal cliffs of Big Sur. Scroll down to see their awesome weekend, or click here to read more about their unique story.

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Story cont. below…

Yes Sur

Aislinn is a photographer herself, (and a fabulous one at that!), so when she contacted me on Instagram with a plan for an intimate destination wedding on the NorCal Coast, I jumped on the project!

The couple wanted to have a relaxed and beautiful destination wedding with their family, and choose the stunning landscape of Big Sur for the occasion. I have shot in Big Sur several times, but never documented a wedding on the actual cliffs of this iconic location!

Not only did we get to capture their stunning ceremony, but we extended the event to include a family shoot at their Ranch House rental with their kids the day before, and day-after couples shoot on the coastal cliffs the day after. A whole weekend festivities and plenty of gorgeous photo opportunities for their Big Sur destination wedding. 

Family Ties

A destination wedding takes even more planning and consideration than most. And yet, by having a small intimate gathering, you also have a little more freedom to make it uniquely yours! That was definitely the case with Aislinn and James.

Both came into their relationship with kids, so together they make up a charming, blended band of beauties. In addition to their kids, parents, siblings and close friends made the trip out to California for the occasion. I have to say that I’m not used to Georgia accents, but I did fully grasp the concept of “Southern Hospitality” by the end of the weekend. Everyone was so sweet and welcoming and clearly enjoying each other.

When describing what would likely be unique about their wedding day, Aislinn said “super chill and easy. And probably unpredictable since it’s very much unplanned. We want to maintain the integrity of the day in its intimacy and closeness without a strict schedule.” I couldn’t wait to see the weekend unfold!

How to have a killer destination wedding

Be Aislinn and James. Or if you can’t do that, be like Aislinn and James. Meaning you should do these 3 things:

  1. Focus on the parts of your wedding that are meaningful to you
  2. Enjoy it as a time together with family
  3. Relax and let go

If you have worked with me for a wedding, you’ve probably heard me say this before: keep the traditions that mean something to you, and trim the rest. There are TONS of wedding traditions – from cutting the cake, to the recent trend of creating a couple #hashtag for your social media. Even if your grandma/cousin/best friend can’t understand how you could possibly not do the bouquet toss (or whatever tradition you’re thinking of cutting), you do you! I always tell my couples that they should make their wedding day a reflection of their life together. And Aislinn and James did just that with their intimate union in Big Sur.

They were able to fully take advantage of the time away with their kids and immediate family. It was a special time away in a beautiful location. The ranch house rental they chose was not only cozy and well located, but it provided a great ‘home base’ over the weekend. They shared many meals, many moments, and many special memories together during these days.

Lastly, I was really blown away by how chilled out and relaxed everyone was. Sometimes it felt more like a family vacation punctuated by a meaningful celebration of their union, than a big fancy destination wedding. I’m pretty sure that part of that has to do with Aislinn’s laid-back attitude. But a lot is to be said for keeping things small, intimate and in line with your own dream.

Comments from the Couple

I received some wonderful texts from the Aislinn and James after delivering the photos. Here are some of my favorite reactions:

“Only the best wedding photos ever!!!!!! We’re grateful, Sebastien. Seriously. You made it so much more special. The weekend wouldn’t have been the same without you. You helped bring my dream to life. Not even kidding. Mad props to you, sir.”

Thank you so much, Aislinn, James, and family. I can’t believe what a special weekend this was, and I’m so grateful I was able to help capture it.

Location: Big Sur and Rocky Point Restaurant
Gown: Emily Riggs – Claire gown
Couture Atelier: Krustallos Couture Bridal Atelier

Sebastien Bicard is a wedding and portrait photographer based in California. He specializes in international travel and intimate weddings worldwide.