February 8, 2020

California Elopement Photographer | What Is An Elopement? Is It For You?


Back in the day, elopements used to be a secretive thing that was embarrassing and looked down upon in society. Today, it has evolved beyond that to become something beautiful.

As a California elopement photographer, I have to opportunity to photograph many elopements because the state is SO beautiful, but I’m always up for an adventure!

It is an alternative way for couples to get married in a manner authentic, unique, and true to them. An elopement is less of putting a show on for your friends and family. It turns the focus back to the heart of it all, the start of a new chapter in your lives together! It’s an experience dedicated solely to the two of you. What a perfect way for you to start off your marriage life that’s personal and meaningful. How amazing is that!?

Venice Gondala Ride - California Elopement Photographer - Venice Elopement

Society ties us down and says we need to follow a certain curriculum, but there’s more that people can do. A mind stretched by new experiences cannot return to its old dimensions.

Thailand Elopement - California Elopement Photographer

Elopements can be anything the couples want.

Cannon Beach Oregon - Cannon Beach Elopement - California Elopement Photographer

It can be as adventurous as going on an early morning hike up a mountain to say your vows privately at sunrise with just the two. Or it can be as elegant as a small city wedding surrounded by your closest family and friends. There are no restrictions or expectations for elopements, which is why it is so amazing!

Venice Italy Elopement - California Elopement Photographer - Venice Italy Photographer

An example of an adventurous nature elopement, that is close to home as a California elopement photographer: California’s Yosemite is always a stunner. Taft Point is amazing for sunset elopements while Glacier Point is perfect for sunrise elopements to avoid crowds.

Cori Story Photography - Yosemite National Park

The two of you frolicking through the fields and meadows early in the morning. Just the two of you exploring the national park before saying your vows at a place you decide is perfect.

Yosemite Elopement - Yosemite Wedding Photographer

If you’re from California but want to adventurously elope out of state, Washington and Oregon state are just a plane ride away. The PNW is home to some of the most majestic nature views from lush national forests (Olympic National Park) to majestic mountains (Mt. Rainier) to stunning coasts (Cannon Beach or Ruby Beach).

Ruby Beach Elopement - Ruby Beach Seattle Washington - California Elopement Photographer

No matter what, you will find a location that has your heart singing while you take in all the wild beauty as you get married to the love of your life.

Palos Verdes Elopement - California Elopement Photographer


It can be an elegant city elopement for the refined couple. For example, taking sunrise photos at Sutro Baths to soak in the light. Then you can get married legally at the beautiful San Francisco City Hall with an intimate circle of friends and family. Finally, you are whisked off to the peaceful Muir Woods for a quiet celebration.

Venice Elopement - International Photographer
City Elopement - Venice Italy Elopement - Italy Wedding Photographer

The point is, an elopement can be anything you want!

That’s right, elopements don’t just have to be the two of you. And you don’t have to hike up a mountain to prove your love and be deemed worthy of marriage.

Cannon Beach Elopement - Cannon Beach Oregon - California Elopement Photographer

If having your closest people around you on your wedding day is important, don’t worry, it’s totally okay to have some people join you for the ride. They can either be there for the entire ceremony part or if you want a special private time with just the two of you. Or you can rendezvous with your friends and family at a chosen destination after you’ve said your sacred vows to celebrate together.

Your elopement can be anywhere in the world.

It can be a place that is already special to you two or someplace totally new to become your special place. It can be as chill or as adventurous as you want it to be. You don’t have to be an avid hiker to elope (thank goodness, this California elopement photographer is not!). I love a good leisurely stroll through a nature-y peaceful place.

Zion National Park, especially during their fall colors, is a GORGEOUS site for an elopement. There’s actually tons of level trails you can walk through that are awe-inspiring and heartaching-ly beautiful. When you come to a place that seems like a good spot, you can whip out your vow books and tie the knot wherever you feel like it. I mean, how cool is that!?

Malibu Wedding - California Elopement Photographer

Don’t want to lose out on the gorgeous wedding details?

Elopements can be just as romantic as weddings. You can have all the pretty wedding details you want for your elopement if that’s important to you. I love elopements where the bride has beautiful details and accessories for the day. It really makes everything more romantic. Gorgeous lush florals and a dreamy flow-y dress. Veils for epic photos showcasing the movement of the wind, a romantic tablescape to dine on.

You can check out this California elopement inspiration! It took place in Palos Verdes and you can see how little details play a part in wedding photos. If you’re planning to have your elopement in the afternoon, you might get lucky enough to have a glorious sunset sky for your day.

California Photographer - Palos Verdes Beach Wedding

So why should you choose an elopement for your wedding?

Many couples are opting to elope to avoid all the stress associated with weddings. Some of which include family peer pressure or societal expectations to put on a big show. Others may include traditions that are meaningless to the wedding couple (garter toss anyone?), bridesmaid drama, etc.

Bali Elopement - Bali Beach Session - Elopement Photographer

Some couples who choose to elope are introverted and private. Maybe you dislike having a million eyes on you as you say their most heartfelt vows and promises to your future spouse. If you want a “just us” experience, then elopements are for you.

California Wedding and Elopement Photographer - Cori Story Photography - Why You Should Elope

Oh, the possibilities are endless!

Your elopement day is more than just an all day photoshoot. You get to do all the things you want to do besides the ceremony part.

You can go snorkeling with sea turtles in Bali or release sky lanterns in Thailand. Maybe you want to chase after waterfalls in Hawaii. How about making s’mores and hot chocolate at night in Yosemite before doing a first dance by starlight underneath the Milky Way?

You can visit an art museum in Paris, or go wine-tasting and cheese-tasting in the vineyards of Italy. Care to ride a gondola in Venice, or maybe explore the ruins of a castle in Germany instead? Why not plant a tree in Australia or go paddle boarding in New Zealand? Or you can always see the sun rise on the PNW coast. The possibilities are endless.

Bali Elopement - Bali Photographer - California Wedding Photographer

If you need help coming up with places to elope at or coming up with a personalized fun travel itinerary, I’m always bursting with ideas. I may be a California elopement photographer, but I’m always up for travel! So reach out to me so we can start planning your unique day!

I’m here to encourage you! If traditional weddings doesn’t sound like the dream wedding you’ve wanted, then think about an elopement. If the idea of eloping on a cliffside with just you and your lover (and a few carefully chosen people) gets your heart racing in excitement, then elopements will probably be the best decision! I mean, this is how you are to start your new chapter in life. Why not make it unique to you!?

It’s possible to have the wedding of your dreams, even if that dream looks a little different from what other people imagine.

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