Big sur elopement portraits

The California coast is home to the beautiful Big Sur including its whimsical Redwoods.

Jessie and Matt exchanged vows overlooking the gorgeous coastline. According to Flora Gibson, the photographer, these two couldn’t keep their hands off of each other! This Big Sur elopement is the perfect inspiration to elope in the Redwoods in California.

“Jessie and Matt met during law school at William and Mary. They love dogs, they have a lab at home, and they couldn’t stop petting all the puppies they saw. They didn’t have a real chance to explore Big Sur before we met for their elopement, and I absolutely loved showing them my home! I love capturing elopements because I feel the focus can really be on the couple and what their vision is, instead of all the other noise. I hope they come back and have a beer with me for their anniversary!” [Flora Gibson]

Quick Tips to Elope in the Redwoods

Jessie and Matt got ready for their elopement in an adorable tent within the Redwoods near California’s Big Sur.
Jessie tells us some advice other couples should consider if they also want to elope in the Redwoods including focusing on your vendors, dress, and accommodation.

“We really wanted to stay in nature and enjoy all the amazing scenery that Big Sur has to offer, so Ventana’s glamping option was perfect and unique. I stalked the BHLDN wedding dress website for sales for a few months, ordered a few different wedding dress options, and tried them on at home. I highly recommend BHLDN to brides, especially those eloping, because they have affordable options for everyone.” [Jessie]

Jessie and Matt also decided to do the legal ceremony in Virginia and read their vows at Big Sur.

“We definitely recommend this to other couples! Don’t be afraid to split up the legal and personal vow ceremonies if it means you can be married by someone you both know. You also don’t have to worry about getting/filing a marriage license in a different state.” [Jessie]

Why a Big Sur Elopement?

Jessie tells us that Matt and herself were always drawn to the idea of eloping based on how personal and intimate it is. Once they became engaged, eloping became the practical choice.

“More importantly, we are both passionately opposed to the wedding industrial complex — the idea that you need to have and spend at least $40,000 on a wedding to prove your love and marry each other. We wanted our marriage to be about us and wanted our ceremony to focus on what we care most about — each other and the commitment we were making — not the bridesmaids dresses, centerpieces, or table linens.” [Jessie]

So why Big Sur and the Redwoods? Jessie tells us that Big Sur has been on their bucket list to visit for a while, and it was a no-brainer when deciding where they should elope. They both love the mountains and the beach, so California’s Big Sur was the perfect location for them.

Memorable Moments During This Elopement

While Jessie and Matt were in awe of Big Sur and it’s beauty, Flora was in awe with this couple. She tells us how amazing it was to watch them admire the coastal views before they said their vows.

“They couldn’t take their eyes or hands off of each other! They were up for anything, and I felt like they were truly enjoying the moment and awed at the locations I showed them. As a photographer who grew up here, I sometimes take these places for granted, and it’s so wonderful seeing it through someone else’s eyes again.” [Flora]

Hire a Professional Who Knows the Area for Your Elopement

Flora tells us how important it is for your vendors to know the area for your elopement. This allows for a seamless planning and elopement experience. You should also ask about back up plans as well.

“Our original beach location was closed due to an overabundance of cars in the parking lot, so I knew another beach location somewhat nearby to take them to! I usually always have 3 back up plans!” [Flora]

For this Big Sur elopement, Flora guided and planned Jessie and Matt’s special day. This couple not only fully trusted her, but they also allowed Flora to be as creative as she wanted. She tells us how the portraits she took in the Redwoods were some of her favorite she has taken.

“My sessions are largely based around light and emotion, so I often really need my couples’ trust to see a location through my eyes. When I saw the spotlight on top of the tree stump I was SO excited!” [Flora]

Are you thinking about planning to elope in the Redwoods? Do you love the idea of saying your vows with the coastal views of the Big Sur? We would love to know where you are in your elopement planning journey. Let us know in the comments below!

If you are looking for more ideas on elopements, then check out our other elopement stories


Venue | Ventana
Dress | BHLDN
Bouquet | Big Sur Flowers

Thank you to Flora Gibson Photography for sharing this session, and congratulations to Jessie and Matt!

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