Steph & Chris's Santa Monica Beach Elopement | Jenn Whalen

March 11, 2021

Adventure Weddings + Elopements

Steph & Chris’s Santa Monica Beach Elopement

Steph and Chris were looking for an adventure wedding photographer and reached out to me for their elopement session. After a few productive phone calls, we had a plan for their day that reflected their personalities and desires for how they wanted to experience their elopement session. Steph and Chris moved from Germany to California and wanted to elope in the Venice Beach/Santa Monica Pier area. Since Santa Monica and Venice Beach are neighbors, we chose to do their elopement session in both areas. They wanted a fun, simple and light-hearted day. They were very attracted to my candid and cinematic style of photography, split day coverage, and signing as their officiant. It was such a blast spending the day with them because of their warm and welcoming personalities! Read through the rest of the blog to understand the process of how their elopement session developed.


AdventureWeddingPhotographerSantaMonicaBeach_0080 Steph & Chris's Santa Monica Beach Elopement

We started the day out by going to Steph and Chris’s Air Bnb in Venice Beach!


AdventureWeddingPhotographerSantaMonicaBeach_0080 Steph & Chris's Santa Monica Beach Elopement

Chris and Steph had one of the most simple and unique vow exchanges. They embraced while saying their vows on Santa Monica Beach. When you decide to elope, you have the freedom to throw out the rule book completely. Over the years, even elopements have held onto some standard routines, which include the couple standing facing each other X feet apart. There’s nobody saying you can’t embrace while saying your vows! Albeit, both had good memories and somehow were able to recite their vows from memory without being nervous, ha!

At this time, the city of Santa Monica does not require a permit for weddings on the beach.


AdventureWeddingPhotographerSantaMonicaBeach_0080 Steph & Chris's Santa Monica Beach Elopement


AdventureWeddingPhotographerSantaMonicaBeach_0080 Steph & Chris's Santa Monica Beach Elopement

After the ceremony in the morning and getting all the paperwork squared away, we headed over to the pier for some fun and quirky photos. Chris is so full of personality that he kept on coming up with idea after idea around the pier. He found these tropical birds, and apparently David Hasselhoff is the man in Germany, so when they saw the Lifeguard truck, he got super excited! With permission from the lifeguards, we had a bit of fun taking pictures on the truck. I always create an environment where couples open up to me and trust me and it allows me to capture emotions in an honest way. Grooms with big personalities are truly amazing to work with and Chris happens to be one of them. I had such as amazing time capturing Chris and Steph during their unique elopement adventure.


AdventureWeddingPhotographerSantaMonicaBeach_0080 Steph & Chris's Santa Monica Beach Elopement


AdventureWeddingPhotographerSantaMonicaBeach_0080 Steph & Chris's Santa Monica Beach Elopement


AdventureWeddingPhotographerSantaMonicaBeach_0080 Steph & Chris's Santa Monica Beach Elopement


AdventureWeddingPhotographerSantaMonicaBeach_0080 Steph & Chris's Santa Monica Beach Elopement

Since I do split-day coverage, after the ceremony and photos around the pier, Steph and Chris took a ride up PCH in a fun convertible they rented, had lunch at a seafood shack, and hung out alone together for a few hours. We reconvened later in the evening before sunset for some fun beach photos! I’m such a huge believer in having a break in the middle of the day to let couples chill by themselves because that way, they can truly have a “just us” elopement experience without having to compromise on quality pictures early in the day and during sunset.

Stretching before running into the ocean!


AdventureWeddingPhotographerSantaMonicaBeach_0080 Steph & Chris's Santa Monica Beach Elopement

Some couples prefer a first dance to kick off the night. Other couples prefer a first kiss in the ocean!

Chris found this giant seaweed on the beach and wrapped it around himself, ha!


AdventureWeddingPhotographerSantaMonicaBeach_0080 Steph & Chris's Santa Monica Beach Elopement


AdventureWeddingPhotographerSantaMonicaBeach_0080 Steph & Chris's Santa Monica Beach Elopement

Steph and Chris, thank you so much for trusting me to create lasting memories of your elopement!

Elopements are fun and exclusive. Let me guide you through this adventure! I would love to share my elopement guide with you. Please contact me to receive your free guide!

 The Ultimate Planning Elopement Guide & Checklist
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Feeling inspired and want to know how to plan your elopement? I've created a helpful guide and checklist to plan the elopement of your dreams in 5 easy steps.  

Elopement Guide

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2022

From hiking up mountains to running into the ocean, I’m ready to capture your big day just as you imagine it. Let me help you create an experience free of stress and full of what matters most to you. 

I’m your California wedding and elopement photographer turned adventure buddy.

Hi there, I’m Jenn!