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Seaside California Elopement at Garrapata State Park

California Elopement at Garrapata State Park

For any photographer, being surrounded by nature, and documenting two people madly in love with each other is an amazing feeling. Zoe Steindl took the time to tell us first hand about her experience during this secluded wedding ceremony. She had the honor of being both the officiant and photographer of Madison and Kanyon’s intimate seaside elopement in California.

“I’m picky about who I [officiate] for because it’s hard to juggle both leading the ceremony while snapping photos; but they just wanted something simple and to exchange personal vows, which I thought was perfect and immediately agreed to!” [Zoe, The Photographer]

Garrapata State Park is a gorgeous place to elope in California and has two miles of beachfront. Located on Highway 1, it is 6.7 miles south of Carmel and 18 miles north of Big Sur on the Monterey coast. This park is an oasis away from it all.

Photography by Zoe Steindl

Recalling the Most Memorable Moments of the Day:

When it comes to intimate weddings, all photographers remember their bride and groom by a key detail from that day. For Zoe, it was Madison’s train on her Harriett Falvey dress. Her 12-foot train flowed behind her like a white cloud over the water as Kanyon lead her down the coastal trail in his J. Crew suit. The way the wind picked up her train allowed Zoe to capture the moment forever.

Zoe’s photography at this California state park of this intimate wedding is one of the reasons why she loves being a photographer. She expressed how she can easily connect with her clients who elope, and she loves being taken to places like the one Madison and Kanyon selected.

This session took her to an isolated venue filled with beautiful skies, blue waters, and greenery. A perfect setting for a photographer to get lost in his or her work. “They will have these [photos] forever and every time I send a gallery off that is top of mind.”

When a Couple Decides to Elope:

As Zoe captured the moment when the two became husband and wife, she reflects with us on how incredible it is to witness such an intimate moment when a couple decides to elope and book her as their photographer.

“I think my couples are so brave for choosing to elope. They literally say, ‘no I don’t want to do what everyone else is doing’, and do it their own freakin’ way. It’s inspiring, and I love each and every one of them for it.”

Zoe’s Photography Advice to Other Wedding Photographers:

Even though Zoe has only been taking intimate elopements pictures for 3 years, she believes all photographers should not be afraid to take risks to help grow their business, “take nonwork trips on your own to learn more about the location, invest in your business, go out of your way to make other genuine connections in the industry. Most importantly, take the time to build those relationships with your couples. They appreciate you so much more when they know your story, who you are, and where you came from,” she says.

Favorite Moments During This Elopement

“The evening was so carefree and they thoroughly just enjoyed being there with each other watching the fog slowly roll in as the sun started to set,” Zoe recalls.

Once the ceremony and vows were exchanged between Madison and Kanyon, Zoe took some adventurous portraits of the two before calling it a day.

This elopement shows us, couples and photographers alike, how important it is to take the time and enjoy the moment with that special person you have decided to spend the rest of your life with.

Have you considered eloping? If so, where and why?

Here are two more examples of an intimate wedding in California and elopement in Garrapatta Park we have featured.


Florals | Autumn Reid

Dress | Harriett Falvey

Suit | J. Crew

Jewelry | Anthropologie

Thank you to Zoe Steindl for sharing this session, and congratulations to Madison + Kanyon Tapp!

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