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The Best Big Sur Elopement Guide

Old Coast Highway Bixby Bridge Big Sur California

As a gift from me to you, I want your Big Sur elopement to be as smooth a transition as possible into this new chapter of your love story. I’ve compiled all my know-how from being a local Big Sur photographer into this handy dandy master list so that you can dress your best and stress less with your loved ones! Start scrolling to take in the Big Sur Elopement Guide!

Everything from my top twenty-five places to consider for your elopement, to planning tips, and vendor recommendations (after all, we have to have cake, right?) will be included in this guide a few scrolls down. Oh, and don’t let things like the weather or time of year scare you off. Neither of those things should keep you from beautiful Big Sur. When I make your timeline, we’ll adjust it based on location for events- first looks, ceremony, portraits- everything! And make it unique to you to your special day. We’ll make it one for the ages!

Eloping in Big Sur is a wonderful dream to make a reality all year round, that’s my AGS local Big Sur elopement photographer promise! I offer 2, 3, 4, and 5-hour sessions for these lovely occasions. Without further ado, let’s dive right into things, shall we?

Starting from north to south along the lovely California coastline, here are twenty-four elopement options for you and your lover to consider, prices will vary, but worth looking into and all broken down into sections for your easy reading convenience!

I’ve photographed gorgeous elopements at most of these locations, and some are on my bucket list! Soooo let’s make them happen! Start exploring The Big Sur Elopement Guide!

big sur elopement guide for couples

Section 1 – Elopement Options in Big Sur, CA

  1. Garrapata State Park – This state park is a gorgeous blend of Redwoods and blue beaches. You won’t have to choose between the two if you want your photo sessions to have both!
  2. Rocky Point Restaurant – Ten miles south of Carmel and right at the beginning of Big Sur, Rocky Point Restaurant has panoramic views of the ocean and lots of rocky trails. Perfect for if you want to work up an appetite before an awesome dinner, or if you want to work said awesome dinner off!
  3. Endless Ocean Estate – A cozy and grassy lawn that overlooks the Point Sur Lighthouse. The water makes for a perfect backdrop to your ceremony and really gives it an airy, outdoor feel. This is a private location, connect with me to find more info!
  4. Andrew Molera State Park – I love the flowers along the trails here! Summer fog burns away come midday but said fog can add a breathtaking magical touch to your photos if that’s what you’re looking for.
  5. Big Sur River Inn – There are good bones and history in this place, plus the stone fireplace and riverside deck make things feel so intimate and private.
  6. Big Sur campground and cabins – The rivers and streams on site make for fun photos playing in the water together! Add a woodsy element to your elopement at Big Sur Campground and Cabins! 
  7. Riverside campground and cabins – I think it would be dreamy to have pictures floating down the river with your lover in an inner-tube. I can make it happen! And the majestic redwoods all around can’t be beaten for that enchanted forest look in your elopement!
  8. Glen Oaks – I love their slogan for weddings: “we’ll provide the canvas, you create the masterpiece”. We sure will create a masterpiece of your big day here with the redwoods towering over us and the gorgeous forest light.
Henrey Miller library Wedding by Big Sur Photographer AGS Photo Art

Section 2 – Elopement Options in Big Sur, CA

  1. The Grange – The Grange reminds me of Laura Ingalls Wilders’ books with its red cabin and forest charms. This is great for nature-lovers, I think the walkway would look so precious lined with flowers! 
  2. Fernwood Campground and Resort If you’re looking to combine glamping with your elopement, the light seeping through the trees here make for great photo taking. They have cute cabins, Adventure Tents, and an amazing field to play in!
  3. Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park – Nicknamed “Mini Yosemite”, this state’s park Warden’s Path and River Path also allow your puppy to come along for the ride and be part of your special day! Wouldn’t that just be the best? I love rocky cliffs and rolling waves here!
  4. Pfeiffer Beach – I adore and look forward to every occasion I get to photograph couples here! The rocks on the shoreline are perfect stands for portraits too, Pfeiffer Beach is one of the most popular beaches for good reason. Purple Sands, The Key-hole and cliffs to explore, by far one of my favorites!
  5. Big Sur Bakery – This bakery is beyond precious! You’ll find them listed in my recommended vendors for cakes too! Their aesthetic makes you feel right at home, it’s a wonderful fit for a cozy and intimate elopement.
  6. Loma Vista Gardens – Romantic and sentimental, Loma Vista Gardens is a classic with its hanging lights and succulents of every kind. The floral greenery will really make your elopement look lush and lovely!
  7. Ventana Big Sur – This venue’s floor to ceiling glass windows let so much light in, and the views are spectacular as well. Ventana gives you the best of both when it comes to cozy indoor spaces and wide-open nature.
  8. Post Ranch Inn – Its spot on the cliffs overlooking the water makes it ideal for sunset shoots! That and the wood details all over add sleekness to your elopement!
PCH elopement guide for couples in Northern California

Section 3 – Elopement Options in Big Sur, CA

  1. Henry Miller Library – Wouldn’t it be so romantic to say you had your elopement at a library? There’s something so starry-eyed and thoughtful about it! I love how homey this venue feels with its bridges and trees, great for portrait shots!
  2. Deetjens Big Sur Inn – One of the oldest hotels in Big Sur, Deetjens has such rustic and rich history to it. The fallen trees in the background of photos make the magic of eloping all the more real. Like a fairytale come to life in the woods!
  3. Partington Cove – Cliff lined views of Big Sur within a cove. Secluded bay with endless ocean views, a quick hike down to the rocky bed. Great place to elope!
  4. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park – Who doesn’t want an 80-foot waterfall in their elopement photos? The forest and coast combo are great storytelling devices for photos.
  5. Wind and Sea Estate – Nothing says Big Sur like the wind and sea, so the Wind and Sea Estate is very appropriately named! Even as a local Big Sur photographer, the panoramic Pacific Ocean views take my breath away every time!
  6. Lucia Lodge – Another spot with timeless history, Lucia Lodge is great for elopements right on the shoreline. It has a vivid, almost tropical feel to it that I just love and it compliments the cliffs and vistas so well!
  7. Limekiln State Park – I can’t say it enough but state parks are incredible elopement locations because of their woodsy and beachy qualities. Limekiln also has a charmingly old-fashioned style lighthouse that I adore photographing.
  8. Big Sur Stone House – See the line where the sky meets the sea? Moana reference aside, this Big Sur Stone House is perfect for those of you seeking a private elopement. 
Coastline view of Big Sur

Guide for Planning in Big Sur

Now that you’ve got more than a handful of Big Sur elopement locations and options to consider in this Big Sur Elopement Guide, let’s talk about planning tips and tricks. What are you going to wear on your wedding day? What are you going to wear when it’s not your wedding day and you’re hitting up the trails and beaches? How in the WORLD are we going to prep with no signal? What are other miscellaneous but essential things to bring? Lots of questions, but don’t worry: Amandarose has answers!

Guide on where to Elope in Big Sur with AGS Photo Art

Wedding Attire & Travel Attire

When it comes to wedding attire for Her, it’s important to keep in mind the time you’ll spend traveling from location to location if your Big Sur elopement is going to be spread out across different areas. If you’re going to be walking a lot, being in the car a lot, running in the sand a lot… your heels might not be your best friend the whole time. Consider having alternative shoes that are comfortable, heck, wear your hiking boots or your favorite pair of sneakers- they can be covered by your dress, no one will ever know or embrace it and love on those hiking boots!

Ventana Wedding with AGS Photo Art

As far as travel attire when it’s NOT the big day and you’re just exploring what Big Sur has to offer you- and it has a lot– I would advise layering up. You’ll want your long sleeves but you’ll also want your floppy hat and sunglasses. It’s warm by the rivers and in town, but it can get chilly at the beach and on the trails so remember to pack accordingly.

Big Sur’s glorious coastal forests and magical charm are admittedly, less kind to WiFi and cellular data. However, as long as you plan ahead, that’s the problem solved! Once you’ve scouted out the places you want to go beforehand, download the map and directions so you can access them whenever. This goes for everything from hiking trails to private wedding estates. If you’re a little more old-fashioned, a printed map or even written directions will do you wonders!

Big Sur Weddings where to Elope

Miscellaneous Essentials You’ll Want in Big Sur

Now for miscellaneous essentials, I first and foremost want to say: binoculars. I always ALWAYS forget my binoculars for whale and bird watching along the beach. Learn from my mistakes! Bring binoculars!

You’ll also want to have a blanket. It’s perfect for staying cozy and cute walking down the coast since it can be windy and cold. The sand can also be a little rocky, so a blanket will be your best friend in every circumstance!

Oh, and you won’t want to forget waterproof boots and a change of clothes either because you may have to walk through water to get to some places, especially when out on the trails.

It’s also always better to play it safe and be able to counteract any bug bites or poison oak incidents so finally, I encourage you to keep a first aid kit handy in the car. 

Where to get married in Big Sur, California
Glen Oaks wedding Big Sur California by film photographer AGS Photo Art

Recommended Vendors for Big Sur Elopements

Okay! Now that we’ve talked location and luggage, for this Big Sur Elopement Guide onto the vendors. Although your intimate Big Sur elopement may be small in size, these lovely humans and their businesses that I’m recommending have big hearts! They’re your wedding officiants, your hair and makeup hands, your florists, and of course, your cake! Take a peek at why these vendors are apart of the Big Sur Elopement Guide.

big sur elopement guide for couples Glen Oaks wedding

Officiants:

  1. Brian Borgia – https://www.montereybayweddingofficiants.com/  
  2. Ken Robbins – https://carmelweddingceremonies.com/
  3. Naomi Rose – https://www.santacruzofficiant.com/

Flowers:

  1. Kate Healey – http://www.bigsurflowers.com/
  2. Christine Cater – https://www.barefootfloral.com/
  3. Fionna Floral – https://www.fionnafloral.com/

Hair & Makeup:

  1. The Hair + Makeup Company – http://thehairandmakeupcompany.com/
  2. Makeup by Katerina Michelle – https://www.playswellwithbrushes.com/
  3. Beauty by M (Madison)  – https://www.beauty-by-m.com/

Cake: the tastiest time of day!

  1. Big Sur Bakery – https://www.bigsurbakery.com/
  2. Layers – https://layerscake.com/
  3. Sweet Rebas – https://sweetrebas.com/

Photographers:

  1. Me! AGS Photo Art – www.agsphotoart.com

I hope this Big Sur Elopement guide found you well and leaves you with a more stable foundation to build your Big Sur elopement on! Want to talk more? I can be your boots on the ground. I would be delighted to help you out in every way I know how to contact me here and let’s get started!

big sur elopement guide for couples
Big Sur Coastline Wedding
  1. Alexis says:

    These are beautiful locations. Are you taking clients for this upcoming fall?

  2. So helpful and through!! Love all the advice and info you provided!!

  3. Kaitlin says:

    Great guide thanks for sharing!

  4. Shannon says:

    All such great advice! Thanks for sharing!

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