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Rugged natural beauty, giant majestic redwood forests, and unreal coastal views make Big Sur one of the most popular elopement locations on the west coast. If you’re looking for the truly magical experience of eloping in Big Sur, this Big Sur Elopement Guide is for you!
The first thing you’ll want to do is figure out your guest list. Unfortunately, there aren’t many venues that can accommodate larger groups in Big Sur. If you do have a larger group, you may need to reconsider Big Sur. Check out my How to Elope in California Guide for a list of other epic elopement locations.
Next, you’ll want to start by thinking about the kind of experience you want to have on your day.
Do you want to be surrounded by majestic old-growth redwoods? Have your ceremony on a dramatic cliffside overlook, or explore one of the endless hiking trails? Having the vision of your ideal day in mind will help you determine where in Big Sur to get married. (More on this below).
To legally get marry in Big Sur you need to obtain a marriage license. You can do do this at any of the clerk’s county office in the state of California. To eliminate any stress on your wedding day, I suggest you fill out the application online ahead of time. You can do that here and transfer it directly to the County Clerk’s Office. After your ceremony, you’ll need your officiant and one witness to sign it. You will both need to go to the clerk’s office to submit it. The require a valid form of identification, and a marriage license fee (this will vary by county).
Big Sur has some of the most naturally beautiful landscapes on the west coast. From the vast coastal views to redwood groves, and cliffs along the beach – Big Sur offers a variety of vibes depending on the preference for your day. Here are a few of the more popular elopement locations:
The park has some pretty amazing coastal views, trails, beaches, and easy access to beaches directly off Highway 1. You will need a permit to hold your ceremony here. I always recommend double-checking the state park website to keep up to date on any changes.
Pfeiffer Beach is an incredibly beautiful beach for elopements. The beach itself is huge, offering lots of secluded spots for an intimate ceremony. There is no permit required to elope here, which is a definite perk. There isn’t a bad time to elope here, as it’s gorgeous any time of year. Unfortunately, you aren’t able to get married there from March-October. The other downfall here is that it can get quite crowded, and fighting for a spot to park isn’t ideal on your elopement day. The park limits the number of cars that are allowed to park and travel up and down the road at any given time. The solution? Plan your elopement for a weekday! You won’t have to worry about other visitors stealing your light or fighting for parking. You can find more information on all things Pfeiffer Beach here.
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is a great option if you’re looking for ocean views or dream of a majestic redwood or waterfall elopement. Unfortunately, the park does not have beach or ocean access. A permit is required to legally marry here.
If your dream elopement day consists of clear skies and warm, dry, weather the best time to elope in Big Sur is September to November.
If you’re dreaming of a summer elopement in Big Sur, there are a few things you’ll want to know. The weather can be unpredictable. One day you might experience sunny skies, and the next, the fog may linger. Summertime in Big Sur is the most popular time to visit. This means you’ll want to plan for some extra travel time, and if you’re hoping for a bit more privacy, a weekday elopement (Monday-Thursday) will be your best bet.
If you’re looking for more privacy, consider a winter elopement. Lodging is more affordable, and there are fewer visitors. Winter in Big Sur offers a greater chance of rain. This means there are more landslides, which means more road closures. The average temperature is also cooler. With a low of around 40 degrees. On the flip side, the winter rain storms make way for clear night skies, which is perfect for stargazing adventures!
Springtime in Big Sur is pretty freaking magical. There is less of a chance of rain. The temperatures are on the rise, and the stunning wildflowers have started to bloom in the area.
The best time of day to elope in Big Sur would be around sunrise or sunset. You will have more privacy, and amazing lighting. The sunsets and sunrises in Big Sur are insane. You honestly can’t go wrong with either. Are you an early riser? Do you love the idea of starting your elopement adventure while the rest of the world is still fast asleep? If so, then consider eloping at sunrise.
Sunset elopements are rad because you have the entire day to do whatever you want. You could cruise Highway 1 along the coastline by the redwood forest for the most unreal views. Afterward, you could have an intimate ceremony on the beach just as the sunset.
Are you ready to start planning your Big Sur elopement? Let’s chat! I would love to learn about your Big Sur elopement dreams, and offer how I can help make them come true!