Big Sur has quickly become a go-to spot for lovers looking for a more intimate setting for their wedding day. After a huge pivot during the wedding industry, elopements have become widely popular.
A quick note– Big Sur is *technically* a State Park. For this guide, we opted to stay in Monterey and drive in to the Big Sur area each day. This was best for this Big Sur Elopement because with our couple and their families, they wanted easy access and the convenience of a “town”. Big Sur can be pretty adventurous (if you want it to be!), but if you’re looking for the most convenience, like access to your florist, or local restaurants and bars, I’d recommend staying in or near Monterey!
For this location, we weren’t actually able to shoot at, but heard lots of locals raving about this spot. Known for its scenic trails and ocean overlooks, it was a bit rough due to the recent weather, and was closed during our visit.
2. China Lookout
So this spot was a little tricky to find, but Google Earth worked wonders! It’s technically marked as “Shoal Cavern” but China Lookout is one of many small trails at this spot that all lead out to the cliff’s edge!
3. Arguably my favorite spot of the day, Bixby Creek Bridge! First off, cue the “Big Little Lies” theme song, because this spot is iconic! This place is pretty popular, and can be packed with tourists during the day. Our best bet was heading from China Lookout, all the way south, and then circling back to this spot at sunset, for fewer tourists, and one of the best sunsets I’ve ever seen!
4. The next spot– Pfeiffer Beach! This is about 45 minutes south of Bixby Creek Bridge, and will have you taking a VERY windy road to the beach’s entrance. You’ll want cash on you (our fee was $12) to pay the entrance to the beach. Word of caution: be SUPER careful navigating the road in and out. It’s one lane, so any time we came across a car coming the opposite direction, one of us had to pull aside to let the other through, and it could be a little sketchy sometime! I’d recommend driving a crossover or SUV for this.
5. Redwood Deck! This spot is in the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park so you’ll want to make sure you have your park entrance and any permits necessary for getting married and shooting here! There are also a ton of cabins nearby, so if you’re looking for a more immersive experience amongst the redwoods, check out Glen Oaks Big Sur— their stays are definitely the best here and my personal recommendation!
There are a few other tips I wanted to throw out there for those considering this incredible location for their big day.
If you’re planning your Big Sur elopement, first off– get excited! As someone who has traveled the world capturing weddings, it’s one of the most breathtaking places I’ve seen. Next, I definitely recommend bringing along a photographer AND videographer to capture your experience. Having photo, but especially video to be able to relive and share this special day with your friends and family for years to come will be a priceless memory, and become a family heirloom!
Enjoy this teaser film I created for this awesome couple who eloped in Big Sur in October 2021!