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!

intimate big sur wedding

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.

bride getting ready

lace wedding gowns

subtle bridal makeup

outdoor elopements

outdoor wedding ceremonies

outdoor wedding ceremonies

peach wedding bouquets via
Bouquet recipe: Wild flowers, Hydrangeas, Roses, Dahlias, Succulents, Moss and Birch.

newlyweds first kiss via

bride and groom via

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!

beachside wedding ideas via

peach wedding bouquets

beach wedding ideas via

unique wedding flowers

newlyweds dancing via

outdoor first dances via

driftwood wedding details

driftwood wedding details

chevron wedding details via

bride and groom via

chevron wedding inspiration via

bride and groom dancing via

View all images from this wedding in the gallery

Wedding Music:
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 @ / Makeup: Makeup by Nancy Espanola (makeupbynancy @ / Groom’s Suit: Bar III / Groom’s Tie: Burberry / Groom’s Shoes: To Boot New York / Guitarist and Vocalist: Sandra Delores (sandradolores27 @ / Violinist and Vocalist: Joe Kye / Chair and Table Rentals: Unlimited Events, Inc. / Shuttle and Town Car Transportation: American International


Comments (13):

  • Cynthia Tafoya on January 10, 2016

    Your wedding looks like it was absolutely stunning! My fiancé and I have been looking at photos of weddings that have taken place at the Paion Estate and think its a perfect location for our wedding in January 2017. However, we haven't been able to find a phone number for the venue. Do you (or anyone reading this comment) happen to have any contact information for the Paion Estate? If so, please feel free to email me at Thank you!
  • Rebecca Bomfim on March 14, 2014

    Such a beautiful wedding! Love the color scheme, location and succulents!
  • Christine Cater on February 22, 2014

    Way to go...Diane Allen of Elegant Events and your entire team. Absolutely beautiful, so happy for your lovely couple. Congratulations to Jennifer and Brian!!
  • Sarah Janks on February 12, 2014

    Beautiful! Best wishes xx SJ
  • Grandpa on February 12, 2014

    Absolutely gorgeous!!!!
  • Harriet Lowther on February 12, 2014

    Actual goosebumps. Big Sur is such an amazing place, we were lucky enough to drive it in 2012. So, so beautiful, and oh! to get married there. Huge congrats to the lovely couple. Loved their song choices. Ray Lamontagne is a genius!
  • Cheri {Woodsy Weddings} on February 11, 2014

    The lighting in these photos is incredible. Big Sur is a truly magical place!
  • Stephanie Elizabeth {Fab You Bliss} on February 11, 2014

    This is definitely my kind of wedding. Absolutely gorgeous!
  • Sharon on February 11, 2014

    Such a gorgeous Big Sur wedding! Congrats to the happy couple!
  • Krisstin | On the Go Bride on February 11, 2014

    Absolutely stunning! Her gown is gorgeous and the images are perfect!
  • Katie on February 11, 2014

    Big Sur's wedding venues are to die for! This day is absolutely lovely.
  • Diana on February 11, 2014

    This pictures are amazing, beautiful! Great wedding
  • Hot Chocolates - Clayton on February 11, 2014

    Amazing outdoor pics. She looks gorgeous :) oxoxo


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