8/10/21

elopements, engagements

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An Epic Big Sur Engagement

Big Sur, California is a 71 mile stretch of underdeveloped coastal highways where the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Lucia mountains collide. The epic, sprawling, and very dramatic cliffs of Big Sur are home to places like Carmel by the Sea, Pfeiffer State Park, and hundreds of acres of redwood forests. This stunning coastal stretch of land is the perfect place to host an epic Big Sur engagement!

How this engagement began!

Christina and Dustin are some of my favorite people, ever. Hands down just stunning gems of people. Why? Because they value adventure and experiences. Christina and Dustin don’t live in coastal California, or even in California for that matter. No, they live right where I do, in good ole’ Lafayette, Indiana. And while we all know there are so many amazing reasons to live here including our super beautiful community home to amazing vendors, it does lack a coastal rugged charm.

These two have been ultra-champions because after their wedding consultation, we had originally planned to photograph their engagement portraits in Hawaii. Unfortunately, with the strict restrictions for safety in place in early 2021, it wouldn’t have been possible to make it happen. Thankfully, they’re flexible people and we instead chose some place a few thousand miles closer but with rivaling beauty.

An Epic Big Sur Engagement Session!

What does an adventure engagement session in Big Sur California look like? Well, let me tell you about our day.

We began our day with brunch at Wave Street Cafe, just a block away from the beautiful blue Pacific coast. We toasted with mimosas and bloody marys and then headed down to capture a few portraits in a gorgeous plaza overlooking the ocean. Afterward, we all piled into my rental and zipped down to Carmel by the Sea for wine tastings.

big sur wine tasting
big sur adventure engagement

Cali wine tastings are no joke (in the best way) and if you’re used to sweet overpours and a lack of attention, you’re going to disappointed. California is home to some of the best wine in the world and we went in to taste some at Morgan Winery Tasting room. The service was excellent, the wine was superb, and everyone left happy.

carmel by the sea engagement


Our second stop on this epic adventure engagement in Big Sur was the beach in Carmel by the Sea. For those of you who aren’t familiar with California’s coast. It’s sometimes a fickle mistress and for our time there, was rather chilly and overcast. But it didn’t make the photos any less beautiful. The Pacific Ocean is hands down my favorite ocean because of its deep azures. The water was rather brisk and you can see on Dustin’s face that it wasn’t meant for swimming in. Thankfully, Christina and Dustin are adventure engagement champions and we had captured some amazing portraits there in her beautiful dress.

Our next stop included some sea rocks and a little hike down to them. You can see just how epic the vistas area when you’re standing out in the middle of the Pacific looking back on the Carmel highlands, which, to me, looked very much like a mix of Scotland and Hawaii. It was amazing.

big sur engagement session

The rest of our trip included random pull-offs including Bixby Bridge, one of the most photographed bridges in the United States. We even met a new friend from Indiana that LITERALLY lives in the same town that we do! What a small world!

big sur highway 1 engagement portrait

The last portion of our evening had this couple changing into all black clothes to end out their day of Big Sur engagement portraits. The look I was imagining paled in comparison to what we actually created and wowwwwwww. Just wow. These two were stunning in the sunset of the Pacific ocean light. We found a little hidden beach that we were able to maximize our time at and also play in the surf too before getting totally drenched as the sun dipped below the horizon.

We headed back up the Pacific Coastal Highway toward Monterrey and let these two adventurers get some sleep.

Thank you, Christina and Dustin for being so amazing and so down to create something just over the top epic with your Big Sur engagement.

I appreciate you both and look forward to wherever we head to next!

Check out my blog “How to Elope in Big Sur” to learn even more about it!

Also read about the best wedding airBnBs in California!

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New Adventure Productions is owned by Nate Dale, a Lafayette, Indiana wedding and elopement photographer. We travel nation and worldwide to capture beautiful and intimate weddings and elopements while providing a guidance, love, help along the way. 
He is married to the love of his life, Felicia, owner of Emerald Lotus Events, a day of wedding coordinator in Lafayette, Indiana who created the Simple Wedding Planning online wedding planning course for couples.