An Adventure Elopement in Big Sur


Get ready- this is going to be a good one! (And a little long, but worth it!)

Meet Kathryn and Bryan. Elopers, dog parents, and perfect humans.

Here is how we met in Kathryn’s words: 

“ My whole life I always said I was going to do a courthouse wedding and then once Bryan & I got engaged, something changed and I wanted a little more. I spent hours every night looking at venues around Seattle and got more & more discouraged the more venues I looked into. THOUSANDS of dollars just for a venue. My next idea was to just find a nice viewpoint or park to have the ceremony at that we wouldn’t have to pay for, but the thought of coordinating all of that was overwhelming. I also started to fear that if I didn’t do something big I would regret it down the line. I finally threw in the towel and said I just need a break, I will start planning it after the new year. Bryan & I would throw ideas around and the conversation would end with me being completely frustrated and overwhelmed.

I was looking through Instagram one afternoon & came across Zoë & Kelsey’s post about an adventure elopement in Big Sur. I sent a screen shot to Bryan and joking said “we should do this”. Then... I got REALLY really excited. This was perfect. It was something different, extremely affordable and completely spontaneous (I’m a serious control freak FYI, so for me to want to do this was a bit out of left field). I immediately messaged Zoë & set up a time to talk the next day. She was so calm, cool & collected about the whole thing, I knew this was it. We got our families onboard with the idea & got everyone’s travel arranged. We met with Zoë & Kelsey the next weekend to get to know each other a bit and learn more about what they had planned. I walked away thinking “man I love them!” 3 weeks later, off to California we went.”

Adventure time!


For context, this was an elopement planned by myself and Kelsey Parker, of Wandering Blooms. We are a Washington based elopement planning team traveling the US and the world curating these beautiful events for brides and grooms that are ready for a stress free, wonderful elopement. 


We began the day with what can only be called an engagement session- for lack of a better term- in which we drove up the coast from Big Sur Campground & Cabins stopping anywhere we thought was attractive along the way. Immediately Kathryn and Bryan melted into each other present in the moment prepared to have a great time exploring. The weather was better than we had expected, the scenery was stunning and we were all beyond grateful.


We climbed around on some things, we ran through some fields, they sat on the wet ground and hung out on some cliffs. Meanwhile we were all constantly freaking out about how incredible the view was. At no point in the day was it bad and we were all obsessed.

I was particularly obsessed with how sweet Kathryn & Bryan were (Are) and how quickly they relaxed into our adventure. You rarely see a bride as relaxed and chill as Kathryn was on her wedding day. And I loved it.


I saw this ~petite~ cliff here looking fancy and we were just above it. I looked and Bryan and I said “You know what I’m going to ask you…” He said “You want us to go down there?” I nodded hesitantly. “Okay!” And down they went to the edge of this cliff. It doesn’t look nearly as spooky as it was in real life and I was legit scared, but they were brave and beautiful, looking hella rad in the wind.

Note: Three humans fearlessly facing what was supposed to be the storm of the century in Big Sur severely not bothered by whatever mother nature was about to throw at us. AKA: don’t let ‘bad’ weather scare you on your wedding day! Bad weather makes rad photos and an epic adventure!

We popped back into the cabin to get dressed before heading out to get these two eloped! It is a fear among brides getting eloped that they will miss the big aspects of a wedding day, that they will miss things like the first dance, getting ready, photos with family. But you don’t have to miss anything! You want to throw your bouquet at some strangers? That’s probably doable. You want to shoot your garter into the air like you just don’t care? Get it girl! You want to get ready in a super cute, delightful little cabin with your almost-hubby before you go climb around some cliffs? YAS QUEEN! No rules = More fun! See below for proof!

Featured: Bixby Bridge, made famous in my mind by The Bixby Canyon Bridge by Death Cab For Cutie. Very sad song, not wedding appropriate but I'm really into it.

Featured: Bixby Bridge, made famous in my mind by The Bixby Canyon Bridge by Death Cab For Cutie. Very sad song, not wedding appropriate but I'm really into it.

When you get up in full wedding attire and the sky opens up to air it’s grievances with the world, you retreat to the car for a brief moment of handholding and place your bets on how long the rain will last. Winner winner chicken dinner? Not me. Not Kathryn. Bryan was right on the money with 10 minutes or something.    DON’T GAMBLE, KIDS!

When you get up in full wedding attire and the sky opens up to air it’s grievances with the world, you retreat to the car for a brief moment of handholding and place your bets on how long the rain will last. Winner winner chicken dinner? Not me. Not Kathryn. Bryan was right on the money with 10 minutes or something.



This is the before and after of the black and white moment below and it comes with a little story. All day everything we saw was breathtaking and magical. Kelsey and I put a ton of work into planning this stunning event so that it would be 100% perfect for Kathryn & Bryan. 

Here I stood photographing them up on top of this hill (b&w photos below) just blown away by them, the scenery and how all the stars were aligning to make this incredible. When Kathryn & Bryan came down from the top of that hill they told me I had to go up there. Being the good little photographer that I am, I did as I was instructed and climbed up that hill on my own while they waited patiently below. 

I had a spiritual experience up there. The rolling hills, dramatic sky, this amazing couple who gave me permission to have this private moment on THEIR wedding day- it all hit me and I started crying for sheer joy at how incredible it all was. It wasn’t just a dream come true for my bride & groom, it was a dream come true for me as well.

To Kathryn & Bryan: 

I will be forever grateful to you both for that moment and I will never forget it.


Do you remember earlier how we were talking about not having to sacrifice normal wedding events at an elopement? Well, Garrapata State Park has these lovely little platforms for your viewing pleasure dispersed throughout the park. Earlier in the day we had talked about ‘if you had a first dance, what song would it be?” And the moment struck. Bryan happened to have their first dance song downloaded on his phone (we had no cell service or any of that LTE nonesense- UNPLUGGED WEDDING!), and there was an empty platform perfect for dancing.

We all cried.

Then a man walked up and the moment was over. 

But! This was a totally unplanned, beautiful spur of the moment thing that was perfect! There were a few ‘real wedding’ things Kathryn wanted, and a first dance was something we could give her out there in the wild.

As you fine folks can tell, I’m not great with words so I’m not going to try and narrate what happened next, I’ll leave you with this and then some of Kathryn’s words. 

Eloping is amazing. It puts the focus where it’s meant to be- on love, on connection. You don’t have to miss anything that you have at a traditional wedding except venue and catering costs. If you do it the way Kathryn & Bryan did it- handing over the reigns to professionals who know how to party, care deeply about their couples and want to make something epic and memorable, the whole event can be stress free and magical. I want this kind of a day for every bride I meet whether she works with me or not, for every groom and every parent. An easy, carefree day full love love, light, and maybe some epic bad weather that turns out to be not so bad after all.

From Kathryn:

“Thinking of a wedding in California I obviously thought of sunshine, but instead the forecast called for flash floods. I texted Zoë and asked if I should be worried & she responded “Don’t worry, if it does rain, we’ll make it amazing.” She kept her promise. The entire day was incredible. Zoë & Kelsey thought of every little detail and calmed all my nerves. Our elopement adventure was more incredible that I could have ever imagined. Every single part of the day was perfect. I have never felt more loved, beautiful & at peace.

My point of all this- break the norms! Do something crazy & memorable! Do what YOU want to do, not what your family, friends or society wants you to do.”


I apologize while I interject once more- See? You can even get you a cake that tastes like unicorn dreams and eat it with a view! :D

Zoe BurchardComment