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How to Plan a Wedding in Big Sur

The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Wedding in Big Sur (complete with tips and venue information)

There are few places on the west coast as stunning as having a wedding in Big Sur. Known for state parks and coastal scenery, countless couples have planned their wedding in Big Sur and it is becoming one of the more popular locations to exchange vows and take wedding photos. Below is the ultimate guide for all your planning needs for a wedding in Big Sur. 

1 Simple Method to Having a Wedding in Big Sur

All you really need to plan your elopement or wedding in Big Sur is an officiant, a marriage license, and one witness. 

And of course, CONTACTING a photographer like me!

Getting the Marriage License

Your wedding in Big Sur can’t be official without a marriage license. In California, a marriage license can be obtained in any county for a ceremony held in the state, even if the marriage is held in a different county. Big Sur is in Monterey County, so you can get the license from San Francisco County, for example. However, you must return the license to the county that issued it, along with the signature of the officiant and at least one witness. 

For out of town couples, it’s popular to stay in San Francisco while having your wedding in Big Sur. If this is the case with you, read up on how to get your marriage license in my San Francisco City Hall Weddings Planning Guide

And if you are flexible with locations, take a look at the Best Places to Have an Elopement in San Francisco

Best Times of the Year for a Wedding in Big Sur

There are more ideal times to have your wedding at Big Sur. Perhaps the safest is Fall for its warmer weather, color, and clear skies. However, anytime between March and October is suitable while the winter months may be a bit too cold and overcast. Rain does tend to occur in early Spring so plan accordingly. If you plan it right, you can time your wedding in Big Sur with the warmest time of the year around September and October and if you’re lucky, can make a stop to see the visiting monarch butterflies nearby in Pacific Grove

Photo Locations for a Wedding in Big Sur

Regardless of where you host your wedding at Big Sur, you will have many breathtaking locations for photos nearby. The Bixby Bridge on Highway 1 provides a unique backdrop and is probably the most popular. Pfeiffer Burns State Park is a majestic location, particularly near sunset. Rocky Point Restaurant provides a scenic overlook set aside rugged coastal cliffs. Finally, Garrapata Trail is a perfect backdrop filled with wildflowers during spring and summer. 

bixby bridge weddings at big sur
Bixby Bridge
weddings at big sur coastline ocean and cliffs
Iconic Big Sur Coastline

Best Wedding Venues in Big Sur CA

Big Sur is popular for elopements and marrying on cliffs overlooking the ocean, but for those who want an actual venue that’s no problem either! Let’s take a look at some of my favorite wedding venues in Big Sur CA.

Big Sur Lodge

Rental Fee: $599 – $1,199

This is one of the most classic Big Sur wedding venues around the area. Big Sur Lodge is located in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park with indoor and outdoor seating. Most popular is the Redwood Patio, located next to a flowing stream. There is also an option for a picnic style rehearsal dinner in the state park. This is easily the most popular place to have a wedding at Big Sur.

Ventana

Contact for pricing

Ventana is a resort that prides itself on a wide variety of options for your wedding in Big Sur. The blending of the ocean, forests, and mountains at this Big Sur wedding venue will leave you in awe. With over 12,000 feet of event space, there is a setting for a wedding of any size. Sur Visa is an outdoor overlook adorned with picnic tables and elegant landscaping. Redwood Cathedral provides a space surrounded by towering trees. The Loft blends natural woods with modern décor to create an intimate indoor setting. This is definitely one of the most diverse wedding venues in Big Sur CA to fit your needs.

Check out my Ventana Big Sur Wedding Guide for more details

Loma Vista Gardens

Rental Fee: $5,400 – $18,400 depending on size and day

Loma Vista was named for the its beautiful views, making this one of my favorite wedding venues in Big Sur CA. The location is backdropped by mountains and has elegantly manicured landscaping including cactus gardens. With packages for traditional and elopement weddings, Loma Vista Gardens can customize the perfect ceremony for any types of wedding in Big Sur. This locale is a great choice for couples wanting a rustic feel for an outdoor ceremony. 

Point 16

Contact for pricing

Located about half an hour outside of downtown, Point 16 is an area off of Highway 1 that is frequently used for planning a wedding in Big Sur. There is perhaps no better view in the area as Point 16 overlooks the beauty of the Pacific Ocean from a lush hillside meadow. There is no bad time for a wedding here as any time of day will provide an excellent view for your wedding at Big Sur.

Post Ranch Inn

Rental Fee: $6,000
Small weddings: $5,500 – $6,600
Elopements: $3,900

You haven’t seen Big Sur until you’ve seen a sunset from the Post Ranch Inn’s view of the Pacific Ocean. Couples will find a variety of packages for any sized wedding in Big Sur at this popular venue. I recommend considering a sunset ceremony to fully take in the beauty at one of the more scenic wedding venues in Big Sur CA.

Wind and Sea

Rental Fee: $3,000 – $6,500

Situated on six acres of private property on the coast, Wind and Sea is filled with a wide variety of trees and plant life. Unique features of the site include copper soaking tubs, outdoor showers, and a dry sauna. Couples will love the 3,000 square foot modern home including a gourmet kitchen and three bedrooms which makes for luxury lodging for your getaway. If you want to be pampered for your wedding at Big Sur check this place out!

If you would like to chat about your wedding at Big Sur please CONTACT ME

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415 756 9335 

ianchinphotography@gmail.com

762 10th Ave San Francisco, CA 94118

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