Big Sur Wedding – Pfeiffer Beach

There’s such a wonderful tranquility to a Big Sur Wedding that is hard to get elsewhere. There’s a calmness because of its remote location and in most areas you might as well leave your phone at home- no cell phone reception is to be had.  It forces you to relax and really take in whats around you.  The weather is always changing and you’ll quickly notice things like the fast moving fog that tends to hang out on the coastline. It gives a great mysterious quality to the area and not to mention unbelievable sunsets!

When Christina and Paul were looking at having a Big Sur Wedding I knew I wanted to be a part of it.  They decided on Pfeiffer Beach, one of the best and somewhat most hidden beaches on the coastline.  There is no sign saying ‘this way to the beach’, you have to rely on your GPS, or know round about where the turn off is…and then drive a few miles down a 1 1/2 lane barely maintained road to the entrance.

I was very excited to head back to the Central California coast, so over the July 4th weekend I hopped on a plane and headed down to shoot their Big Sur elopement.  It was a nice relaxing weekend, and I got to hang out in the Carmel area and do a little landscape shooting on the side.

Big Sur Wedding

Pfeiffer Beach

Christina and Paul / Photography by: Ian Grant [portfoliocontact]

Weddings at Big Sur

The drive down from Monterey in July was fantastic with a wonderful warm late-day glow overlooking the cliffs on the Pacific Coast Highway.  I had been up to Big Sur many times when I lived in Southern California and I have some of my favorite memories doing big road trips around up there.  So much so, that five years ago in August I got married at Point Lobos, about an hour north of Pfeiffer Beach.

Christina says:

“Paul and I held our wedding celebration in France this August so our official ceremony needed to take place before or after in the United States. We chose Big Sur as this is the place where we fell in love on our first trip together the summer of 2010 and we made our trip around a July fourth ceremony, the one year anniversary of our engagement.”

Big Sur Coastline

The first thing you notice about Pfeiffer Beach is how majestic it is.  Almost like a tucked away jewel that once you find it, you want to hold on to it for awhile.  The beach is a cove of sorts with the highlight being a grand sea stack in the center, all surrounded by flocks of birds, cypress trees, and get this- purple sand.

Pfeiffer Beach in Big SurMonterey Cypress Trees

We chose a scenic overlook to the beach for the small elopement ceremony.  It had grand views of the wide surrounding beach.  Soaring Starkey did a fantastic and beautifully personalized ceremony for Christina and Paul.

Christina says:

“Writing our vows and having the freedom to make the ceremony a personal moment for Paul and I to cement our love was a nice balance with all the planning we were doing for our wedding abroad.  Having an elopement ceremony keeps things really simple so apart from a long line of cars to get onto the beach the process went smoothly!”

“The ceremony was the highlight. Soaring Starkey, our officiant, helped us make a very personal, intimate and beautiful memory that we will never ever forget. We had a ton of fun afterwards running around the beach with Ian taking pictures and enjoying a spectacular Big Sur sunset.”

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Once the ceremony was done we headed off to take advantage of the great surroundings and shoot some beautiful portraits.

Christina says:

“I found the dress in SoHo at Jill Stuart one Sunday afternoon when I had all but given up trying to find the right dress for the occasion. When I put it on I knew it was right. Paul’s suit was made by Against Nature, the most amazing bespoke men’s clothier where we worked with Amber, the founder. She is a total genius. “

Wedding at Pfeiffer Beach State ParkWedding at Pfeiffer Beach State ParkWedding on the beach in Big Surpfeiffer beach big sur

The fog was really rolling in at this point which made the sunset light glow beautifully.  Such an incredible sight to be a part of, I think the photos really speak for themselves.

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Christina says:

“It takes time but I highly recommend writing your own vows with your significant other – even if you do it on the plane ride over it will mean so much to say to each other in your own words what your marriage and partnership means to you. “

Thank you for having me be a part of your incredible ceremony Christina and Paul!  It was one to not be forgotten! -Ian


Venue- Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur, California
Officiant- Soaring Starkey
Photography- Ian Grant Photography
Dress- Jill Stuart
Suit- Against Nature

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You can see more of our Big Sur Wedding work at

  • Nikolay Mirchev - Nicely captured beach wedding

  • ian - Thanks Nikolay!

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