It’s all but impossible to imagine a more idyllic location for an intimate wedding than Big Sur, California. Fondly Forever, Elegant Events, and Fleurs Du Soleil by Kim England came together to bring Jennifer and Brian’s dream wedding day to reality, although they couldn’t account for the best surprise of the day — a group of humpback whales who swam by during the ceremony!
From the bride, Jennifer: We had a very intimate destination wedding weekend (13 people) with our immediate family in Big Sur, CA. Big Sur represents and encompasses everything that we enjoy doing together as a couple… hiking, exploration, wild life and the coast. We really wanted to create a day that allowed us to focus and fully take-in this once in a lifetime experience with the people that have supported us throughout our relationship and who we love most. Since Big Sur is a place of magnificent natural beauty we kept our decor minimal and simple at our ceremony site. Our ceremony took place on a bluff side in Big Sur, called Paion. We were lucky enough to have dozens of humpback whales out in the water singing in the background throughout our ceremony. Our reception was held at Ventana Inn, set back on the bluffs of Big Sur. We set up one large table decorated with beautiful floral arrangements (succulents and wildflowers), driftwood, moss and candles. The same acoustic guitarist and violinist duet that performed during our ceremony sang throughout dinner and further created that intimate feeling we wished for.
Bouquet recipe: Wild flowers, Hydrangeas, Roses, Dahlias, Succulents, Moss and Birch.
Any advice for couples planning their weddings now? In planning a destination wedding, we found it extremely helpful to work with a seasoned planner from the Big Sur area who had great recommendations for reliable and trustworthy vendors. I would recommend choosing vendors who are flexible and able to get creative or negotiate in order to fit your budget needs. When budgeting, don’t forget about the tips/gratuity! Also, having a photographer follow you around to capture every moment can be intimidating and uncomfortable. We found a fun photographer that we connected with and set us at ease. We found it made for more natural pictures!
Bride’s Processional: “I Can’t Help Falling in Love,” Elvis Presley
First Dance: “Beloved One,” Ben Harper
They played many of our favorite songs by artists such as Ben Harper, Ray Lamontagne, and Coldplay throughout the evening.
From the photographer, Jen of Fondly Forever: Big Sur is one of my favorite places and I was lucky enough to photograph a 13 person wedding there earlier this year. Jennifer and Brian live in Southern California but knew they had to bring their family and friends to Big Sur for their intimate celebration. The ceremony, which was officiated by Brian’s dad, took place on a cliff at a venue called Paion. Jennifer looked amazing in her Sarah Janks dress from Lovely Bridal and although it wasn’t whale season, a group of humpback whales happened to be traveling the coast and could be both seen and heard during the ceremony (SOOO cool!). After a champagne toast and some photos, everyone was treated to a dinner under the stars at the Ventana Inn. It was truly a magical day and I was so honored to be a part of it.
Wedding Location: Big Sur, CA / Photographer: Fondly Forever / Planner: Diane Allen of Elegant Events / Florist: Fleurs Du Soleil by Kim England / Ceremony Site: Paion Estate / Reception Venue and Caterer: Ventana Inn / Hotel: Lamp Lighter Inn in Carmel by the Sea, CA / Wedding Dress: Sarah Janks “Briana” via Lovely Bride / Wedding Shoes: Seychelles / Hair: Heidi’s Studio – Cherie Cricchio (cheriecricchio @ gmail.com) / Makeup: Makeup by Nancy Espanola (makeupbynancy @ comcast.net) / Groom’s Suit: Bar III / Groom’s Tie: Burberry / Groom’s Shoes: To Boot New York / Guitarist and Vocalist: Sandra Delores (sandradolores27 @ gmail.com) / Violinist and Vocalist: Joe Kye / Chair and Table Rentals: Unlimited Events, Inc. / Shuttle and Town Car Transportation: American International