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A Secret Big Sur Elopement

secret big sur elopement

Y’all remember Chris and Savannah, right? They had an epic two day adventure engagement session with me at Sequioa National Park and southern Big Sur? Well the truth is we actually had another session while we were out on the coast. We had a secret Big Sur elopement and it was totally mysterious, epic, and perfect!

big sur elopement on foggy beach

A super secret Big Sur Elopement

Chris and Savannah reached out in 2021 regarding a coastal California secret elopement and also an epic engagement session. I was able to not only get those captured but also incorporate another half-day shoot up near Big Sur. But today is all about their secret Big Sur elopement.

big sur secret elopement

Chris and Savannah wanted to keep their elopement a secret for some time. Instead of having to announce and tell everyone what they did, they’d just slip away, get married at a gorgeous spot on the beach, and disguise it as an engagement session.

We decided on San Luis Obispo and Morro Rock for their elopement spot. We chose this space, just south of Big Sur, because it didn’t require any special permitting to get married. We simply had to get the license and go to the correct location. Easy and far less bureaucracy than what a typical California wedding or elopement could entail. (To learn more about elopements and getting married in California, click here!)

morro bay elopement

So we got them all set up and they drove up from SoCal to meet me in Three Rivers just outside Sequoia National Park. We got up well before sunrise to be met with rain, of course, but that didn’t deter our gorgeous sunrise engagement session, which you can see here!

After we finished their shoot up, we all headed west and drove over to San Luis Obispo which is just a short 3 hour drive. We all checked into our hotels and planned to meet at our set time to get ready for their beachside elopement.

Unfortunately, the weather had different plans and instead of it being the golden beauty that you always seem to see in the Hollywood films, it was very foggy. Like holy cow, where are you foggy. (But also very typical of a Big Sur elopement!)

morro bay big sur beach wedding

And to be honest, it made the wedding that much more intimate and beautiful. While we were on a big beach with the potential of very little privacy, the fog allowed us to have a sort of intimate and exclusive space that only the four of us (Chris, Savannah, me, and their lovely officiant) had access to at that time.

big sur secret elopement

These two shared beautiful vows and with the tide and the gulls in the background, promised a lifetime together.

We spent the rest of the daylight hours together photographing on the beach until it got dark. We even had a local group of friends bring us a pot of florals that they were using to celebrate the summer solstice (albeit it was like barely 60 degrees and very not summery) and Savannah and Chris even had some lovely flowers for their photos during their Big Sur elopement.

But my favorite images were the last ones of the night. You’ll notice that the images get much bluer than how I typically edit and that’s because it was the blue hour–well past golden hour (even though there wasn’t much of one) the creativity truly began flowing and while they stood in the frigid ass Pacific ocean getting wet, their feet going numb, and kissing as newly married people do when you elope with me, it felt truly freeing to be there and to capture this moment.

Savannah and Chris, it was such an honor, a pleasure, and something that I will never forget in all my days. Thank you for your kindness and your trust and I hope that we get to celebrate again with one another in the coming years!

If you want to elope in Big Sur be sure to check out this blog!

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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 with their two doggies, Pika and Princess.