Autumn in Big Sur is full of ruby red leaves, dappled light, golden sunshine and moody fog that rolls into the redwood and lingers in the trees, gently whispering that winter is not far behind. The days grow shorter–but the beauty remains the same. Fall is by far our favorite season of the year (not only to photograph weddings, but also for our mountain dwelling home lives) it’s alluring and romantic, we eat dinner by candlelight and cozy up around the fire, listening to jazz music, a glass of wine in hand while we read and share stories both new and old.

Autumn is for lovers… and it’s no wonder that Erin and Bryan planned their romantic destination elopement in Big Sur on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year. 11-11 is not just a date they selected by chance; the number 11 is a very powerful number by itself, representing inspiration, illumination, and spiritual enlightenment. 11:11 also represents the spiraling twin strands of human DNA coming together. It is believed that on this day, the universe is creating a very powerful moment of manifested intentions. WOW, that is deep (not to mention SUPER cool!!)


Check out the photos below of Erin and Bryan’s EPIC 1920’s Autumn inspired Great Gatsby themed glamorous elopement. The couple got ready at Post Ranch Inn and their ceremony was at a private estate in Big Sur–we partnered with the most insaneeeeee team to pull off this stunnninggg Fall wedding—scroll DEEEEP (and then KEEP scrolling) to view the pinterest worthy Picnic that Diane Allen, wedding planner extraordinaire, of ELEGANT EVENTS & BIG SUR WEDDINGS created with the help of extremely talented florist Christine Cater of BAREFOOT FLORAL and caterer A TASTE OF ELEGANCE


Music is a huge part of Erin and Bryan’s lives–JAZZ music in particular and you could feel the rhythm that carried their theme throughout their wedding day. They even had a classic phonograph and record player that played Autumn Leaves during their first dance!

The falling leaves drift by the window
The autumn leaves of red and gold
I see your lips, the summer kisses
The sun-burned hands I used to hold
Since you went away the days grow long
And soon I’ll hear old winter’s song
But I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall


Erin and Bryan went on their first date while they were traveling through China—-funny enough, they both live full time in Vegas, both are musicians, and both are teachers. Their lives have been intertwined for years, and yet they didn’t connect until they were millions of miles away from home. Their love was instantaneous as though their souls were awakened for the first time in one another’s presence.

Their wedding ceremony was not only genuine but heartfelt and spiritual, they were married on a cliff, entangled in fall colors and tendrils of fog. Officiant Soaring Starkey performed a Celtic knot ceremony—the Celtic knots have no start or finish–there is only one thread used in each design which symbolizes how life and eternity are interconnected.

Afterwards, the couple shared in the most beautiful picnic full of figs and cheeses, flowers and fruit, salmon and savory bites, lit only by candlelight. To call this picnic, their ceremony and their elopement ‘romantic’ is merely an understatement. Erin and Bryan have a relationship that we don’t see every day, their love is soulful and tender and their union will play round and round like a record in our minds for years to come.


  • Tell us a little bit about your love story

    We both went on a Fulbright trip abroad for music educators in our school district, where we spent a month touring China and learning about its traditional music. It’s on that trip that we fell for each other. We both enjoyed sharing “babysitting” duties for our sponsor’s little ones, and during those times, it felt like we were already a family. I distinctly remember looking at Bryan & thinking, “This is the future father of my children.” When we returned back to the States, we found out that we only lived a mile away from each other, had many friends and colleagues in common, that he knew my family (my brothers run a music store that he frequents & he’s had interactions with my mother, who’s the director of the school of music that he attended for graduate school), we ran the same running route, and shopped at the same grocery stores. We were right under each other’s noses the entire time, but had to go all the way to China to meet.

    In China, we started really falling for each other in the city of Hangzhou, which is like China’s Venice — the most lush, picturesque, romantic city I have ever been to, famous for its West Lake and thousands of pink lotuses (my favorite flower). In Hangzhou, we both respectively knew that we’d be returning to that city for some reason. Bryan ended up taking me back to Hangzhou, where he proposed under the full pink moon in April 2019.

  • What was the inspiration for your elopement?

    We decided to elope because we want to keep the focus of the day in the right place – on our love and commitment to each other – without all the other distractions that a large, social event would bring. We didn’t want our wedding day to be a stressful blur where we’d spend the majority of our time entertaining other people instead of being in the moment with each other. We wanted to be alone together, out in nature, under the full moon, where we could be fully present as we dedicated our lives to each other.

    When discussing what the most important aspects of our future wedding day would be, we decided on intimacy, a beautiful location out in nature, a nice meal to share together, and gorgeous pictures by which to remember it all.
  • How and why did you pick your Big Sur for your destination?

    Neither of us had been to Big Sur and we both had always wanted to visit it. We were on the tail-end of a summer trip to Southern California, where we were checking out wedding venues, and on a whim decided to drive up to Big Sur instead of driving back home. We fell in love with the location immediately. It was a priority to both of us to get married outside, surrounded by nature, and once we saw Big Sur, we knew that it was the destination for us.
  • What special details did you include in your wedding?

    The theme for our wedding was “Autumn Leaves” — which is our song. We asked Bryan’s mother to send us a box of colorful autumn leaves from Minnesota so that we could have them sprinkled around us while the officiant recited the Caim (a Celtic encircling prayer). We also had a handfasting chord made for us in Scotland, to which we added some autumn leaves on each end. We brought in a gramophone so that we could have our first dance to French singer, Lucienne Delyle’s recording of “Les feuilles mortes” (“Autumn Leaves”) out under the stars (or, as it happened, fog…).

  • How did you make your wedding day special and make it about the two of you?

    We collaborated on the ceremony as a couple with our wonderful officiant, personalizing blessings and readings so they’d be uniquely meaningful to us as a couple. We both wrote our own vows, which we chose to recite to each other in total privacy – having the officiant and photographers step away so there were no distractions. We just did everything we could to stay in the moment with each other on our wedding day – so much so that I forgot to take off my veil for many of my pictures and neither of us remembered to even take a selfie or any pictures of our own on the big day! We were both just so lost in each other.

  • Most memorable moment (s) of your wedding day? (From Groom and from Bride)

    From the Bride: I was a little disappointed that we were completely fogged in for our wedding at Big Sur, but I have to say that the most memorable moment of the day was our ceremony on the private property we chose, surrounded by that fog. The fog was almost mystical. It rose up like a mist from the sea and just enveloped the two of us during the ceremony, making us feel like we were in a snow globe and that nothing existed outside of that moment in time. I remember staring into my soon-to-be husband’s eyes and being transported to a completely different world as I watched the fog flitter through the trees. It was really grounding and calming.

    From the Groom: Descending to the site of the ceremony, I felt that I had just entered a place of great meaning. With the fog rising from the embankment, the waves crashing along the shoreline, and the absence of all sounds except those of nature, I felt free of distraction and fully in the moment. I was overtaken by all of the beauty of the day – nature, ceremony, meaningful exchanges, and woman I was about to marry. As the ceremony commenced, our eyes met and locked into a most unique gaze, one of deeper meaning that we had never experienced before. It was then that I knew and felt the true meaning of the day.

  • How was your experience working with The DeLauras? What did you love and what could we improve upon?

    The DeLauras were at the same time friendly & outgoing and on top of their game. My now-husband and I are fairly awkward photo-takers, but the DeLauras definitely helped both of us relax and just enjoy ourselves.

getting ready POST RANCH INN | ceremony PRIVATE ESTATE IN BIG SUR| destination BIG SUR event planner DIANE ALLEN BIG SUR WEDDINGS | ELEGANT EVENTS| floral design BAREFOOT FLORAL | catering + cake A TASTE OF ELEGANCE | wedding dress + veil  JOHANNA JOHNSON |shoes + handbag EMMY LONDON | grooms suit BONOBOS |grooms shoes TO BOOT NEW YORK | jewelry and wedding bands TACORI | vintage rentals SEVENTH HEAVEN VINTAGE RENTALS | rentals CHIC RENTALS| cake LAYERS | officiant SOARING STARKY | beauty FACE FORWARD BEAUTY | photos & video THE DELAURAS




Check out these GORGEOUS elopements

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November 28, 2019
I love this! Thank you for capturing everything so beautifully.