With its towering cliff sides, sweeping ocean views, and majestic redwood trees, Big Sur is one of the best places to elope for couples who want a true adventure on their wedding day. Whether you tie the knot in a quiet forest or on a beach with waves crashing around you, or you hike to a secluded waterfall, your day should be exactly what you want – so this guide will tell you everything you need to know to elope in Big Sur!
Choosing a location is one of the best things about eloping! You get to pick from amazing landscapes and epic scenery, and find a spot that really feels like the place where you want to read your vows and marry the love of your life.
Here are a few ideas for places to elope in Big Sur, including public locations and private venue options!
If you want to get married on a cliff that overlooks the ocean, Big Sur has plenty of those! A few of the best parks for cliffside views include Garrapata State Park and Andrew Molera State Park.
For couples who want to be closer to the water, and tie the knot on a sandy beach, there are some incredible waterfront locations in Big Sur. Some of the parks have trails that you can hike to get to the beach, but there are some easily accessible ones too!
Andrew Molerra State park has a beach that requires a mile long hike, and is lesser known and often empty! Pfeiffer Beach is another great one, and there’s often purple sand on the shore from manganese and garnet deposits washing down from the cliffs. For a private location, Wind and Sea is a scenic home right next to McWay Falls, with an amazing spot to get married on a cliff.
While Big Sur is best known for its ocean views, there are also some incredible forest groves! Coastal redwoods grow through Big Sur, so for couples who want an elopement setting that feels like a woodland fairytale, there are plenty of places where you’ll find the serenity of the forest. You can see them just driving through, but some of the best places to see the redwoods are in Lime Kiln State Park and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.
Big Sur’s weather can definitely affect your elopement day – though the temperatures rarely get too cold, it certainly gets rainy! Before you set a date for your ceremony, here’s what you need to know.
Summer is ideal, weather wise. The sun is shining, there are few, if any, rainy days, and the temperatures are warm but usually not too hot by the coast, and it’s perfect for exploring and adventures. The downside is that Big Sur is busiest during this season – the amazing weather brings visitors to the trails and beaches! But, if you want to elope in Big Sur in the summer, there are a few ways to avoid crowds, like finding a lesser known place, eloping on a weekday, and planning your ceremony for sunrise or sunset.
Early fall can be an amazing time to elope in Big Sur. Summers are busy, and in September, the crowds start to disappear. September and October are typically still warm, and while rainy days get more frequent, there are still more days with good weather! November starts to cool down and rain falls more often, but this season can be amazing for a private elopement day.
Winters are rarely super cold, but they’re definitely rainy! Trails will often be muddy, and because Big Sur is pretty remote and only has one road going through it, mudslides sometimes cause closures. Winter is definitely the best time to elope if you want to avoid crowds, but bring some rain gear!
In the spring, the weather warms up and the sun comes out more, but it’s still somewhat unpredictable. This is an amazing time to see wildflowers bloom on the hillsides, to see waterfalls in full force after the months of rain, and to enjoy a few sunny days before the summer crowds!
When you tie the knot in Big Sur, you’ll need a place to stay. Find a spot that will add to the adventure!
One unique way to spend your elopement is camping. There are plenty of campsites around Big Sur, with established campgrounds in the parks. It’s also possible to find wild camping in the national forest, for couples who want a spot all to themselves. If you want something with some more amenities, you can also go glamping! One great spot with glamping tents and a luxury campground is Ventana Big Sur.
Another option for finding lodging in Big Sur is Airbnb. There, you’ll find private accommodations, which is nice because you’ll have the place to yourself! You can book a serene cabin, a forest treehouse, or a big rental home for you and a few guests!
Your love is anything but ordinary, and your wedding day shouldn’t be either! Getting married to the love of your life should be a day that you love, and if you’re dreaming of tying the knot in Big Sur, I’m here to help you make it happen. As an elopement photographer, my job is to document your day, and also to help you plan – so I’ll find the perfect place in Big Sur for your ceremony, recommend vendors and places to stay, and anything you need for your adventurous wedding day.If you want to elope in Big Sur, contact me to get started!