Striking Northern California Elopement in Big Sur | Nicole & Jake | Jenn Whalen

November 14, 2022

Adventure Weddings + Elopements, Big Sur

Striking Northern California Elopement in Big Sur | Nicole & Jake

One thing about me is that I’ll never say no to a Big Sur elopement! Big Sur may be one of my favorite locations to shoot a Nothern California elopement in! Elopements like this always have me in awe! What was so unique about Nicole and Jake’s elopement was that Nicole’s Mother planned most of it! I felt like this was such a special thing to share as Mother and Daughter. Rather than hiring a professional elopement or wedding planner they were able to share such a beautiful momentous day that was planned solely by her own mom! 

Nicole-and-Jake-111 Striking Northern California Elopement in Big Sur | Nicole & Jake

Not only that but, this elopement was 5 months in the making! Usually, it can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to 3 months to plan an elopement depending on how elaborate you want it to be! Nicole and Jake are expecting their first child in February so it took them some time to plan! Nicole’s mom was the one who reached out to me shortly after Nicole and Jake found out they were expecting and was ready to help plan their Northern California elopement in Big Sur, CA immediately! 

Nicole-and-Jake-111 Striking Northern California Elopement in Big Sur | Nicole & Jake

What’s so cool about photographing couples for elopements is that you meet so many couples from all over! Nicole is from southern California, and Jake and his parents came out from Virginia. This makes two couples from Virginia that I’ve photographed their elopement in Big Sur! Big Sur is truly such a big elopement location, especially for those coming from out of state! It’s a whole new and magical experience many people haven’t gotten the chance to have! 

Northern California Elopement Itinerary 

We started Nicole and Jake’s Northern California elopement day out with getting ready photos! One thing I love about Big Sur elopements is that many couples choose to stay in a cabin especially if they are making a long trek out here, Nicole and Jake stayed at Glen Oaks. Each cabin is so unique and gorgeous surrounded by towering redwoods and greenery. It truly is such a beautiful experience! Nicole got ready in the main cabin while Jake got ready in a separate little container cabin just around the corner! Each cabin came with a s’mores package too which was such a cute touch! 

Nicole-and-Jake-111 Striking Northern California Elopement in Big Sur | Nicole & Jake
Nicole-and-Jake-111 Striking Northern California Elopement in Big Sur | Nicole & Jake

Following getting ready photos was the ceremony! Nicole and Jake’s ceremony was early afternoon and instead of doing a first look, they saw each other for the first time during the elopement ceremony! First looks aren’t for everyone, especially if you are having such an intimate elopement like Nicole and Jake opted to do, it was as if they were having a first look with themselves and their parents. They had their ceremony in such a magical spot surrounded by large Redwoods not far from their cabins! It was extremely intimate with Jake’s parents on one side and Nicole’s mother and brother on the other side. 

Nicole-and-Jake-111 Striking Northern California Elopement in Big Sur | Nicole & Jake
Nicole-and-Jake-111 Striking Northern California Elopement in Big Sur | Nicole & Jake

One of the most touching moments of Nicole and Jake’s elopement was when they set out a third chair for Nicole’s late father. I loved how they did this as it meant so much to them! They hired an officiant to perform the ceremony and it was beautifully executed with Nicole and Jake both shedding tears as they shared their intimate vows. 

Nicole-and-Jake-111 Striking Northern California Elopement in Big Sur | Nicole & Jake

After the ceremony, they did their first dance and celebrated with champagne out on the lawn. As everyone was casually hanging out drinking champagne, we took family photos. By that time it was mid-afternoon and everyone was ready to take a break and eat at Big Sur Bakery! The family members enjoyed having the option to take off their formal clothes and relax by the fire (which Jake’s dad loved, he was in heaven!) while Nicole, Jake, and I headed out to take some epic pictures around Big Sur! 

Nicole-and-Jake-111 Striking Northern California Elopement in Big Sur | Nicole & Jake
Nicole-and-Jake-111 Striking Northern California Elopement in Big Sur | Nicole & Jake

Bride and Groom Portraits

We took pictures all around the cabins where you could hear the sound of the river creek in the background and on a beautiful swing bridge that you had to cross to access their cabins. We of course couldn’t miss out on taking photos of the coastal views so Nicole’s brother came with us to drive them to some special spots! We took pictures through sunset and blue hour and experienced an amazing bright red and orange sunset! Sunsets aren’t always guaranteed when eloping in Big Sur due to its unpredictable weather but if you want the chance to elope during a really vivid sunset with incredible views November and December are the times to elope! 

Nicole-and-Jake-111 Striking Northern California Elopement in Big Sur | Nicole & Jake
Nicole-and-Jake-111 Striking Northern California Elopement in Big Sur | Nicole & Jake
Nicole-and-Jake-111 Striking Northern California Elopement in Big Sur | Nicole & Jake

To conclude, Nicole and Jake’s Northern California elopement in Big Sur we headed back to the main cabin after bride and groom portraits and hung out by the campfire while the chef they hired prepared dinner. I was so surprised when I heard that the chef was preparing muscles for dinner and even more surprised when they were kind enough to ask me to join them for both dinner and cake! I love not only photographing couples in absolutely breathtaking locations but also getting to know each one of them individually and spending quality time with them and their loved ones. 

Nicole-and-Jake-111 Striking Northern California Elopement in Big Sur | Nicole & Jake
Nicole-and-Jake-111 Striking Northern California Elopement in Big Sur | Nicole & Jake

Side note; since you can make up your own rules for an elopement, I’ve noticed that eloping bride and groom love to change out of their formal attire for dinner and get as comfortable as possible. I’m pretty sure every single eloping couple has done this so far. I’m totally amused by this because back in the day, I always remembered seeing brides and grooms seated for dinner at traditional weddings and looking uncomfortable in their tight clothes. So, PSA, you can totally change out of your wedding dress and suit while you eat dinner and so can your guests!! 

Capturing Nicole and Jake’s Northern California elopement in Big Sur was one to remember! If you’re looking for a Big Sur elopement photographer contact me on my website

Need convincing Big Sur is one of the best places to elope in California? Check out Beatriz and Justin’s Intimate elopement in Big Sur

Nicole-and-Jake-111 Striking Northern California Elopement in Big Sur | Nicole & Jake

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

 The Ultimate Planning Elopement Guide & Checklist
for

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

Download your free

2023

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!