Eloping in the ca coast
Big Sur weather patterns
PLANNING TO ELOPE IN BIG SUR?
Big Sur, a beautiful stretch of California’s central coast, is a popular destination for couples looking for a unique romantic adventure. Its rugged cliffs, stunning beaches, and majestic redwood forests create a breathtaking landscape that attracts people year-round. In this guide, I’ll help you understand the weather patterns in Big Sur by season, including rain, fog, and sun details, making it easy for you to plan your elopement wisely.
Spring (March – May):
Spring is a delightful time to visit Big Sur, as the weather begins to warm up and the hillsides come alive with vibrant wildflowers.
Temperatures: During this season, the temperatures generally range from 50°F (10°C) to 65°F (18°C), and the days tend to be sunny and mild with ocassional strong winds.
Rain: Rain is less frequent than in the winter, averaging around 3-4 inches per month and often offering a mix of rainy mornings with half sunny and dramatic skies. Occasional fog may roll in during the mornings and evenings.
Sunrise and Sunset: Sunrise typically occurs around 6:45-7:15 AM. In the evenings, the golden hour starts around 6:30-7:30 PM, followed by sunset around 7:45-8:00 PM, and the blue hour from 8:15-8:45 PM.
Summer (June – August):
Summer is peak tourist season in Big Sur and it is important to be aware of this when planning your wedding; we have long days of sunshine and pleasant temperatures.
Temperatures: You can expect daytime temperatures to be between 60°F (15°C) and 75°F (24°C).
Rain: Rainfall is minimal, with less than 1 inch per month on average. Mornings may start off cool and foggy, particularly near the coast, but the fog typically burns off by midday and often comes back with the evening chill.
Sunrise and Sunset: Sunrise usually takes place around 5:45-6:15 AM. Golden hour begins around 7:30-8:00 PM, with sunset around 8:15-8:30 PM, and the blue hour from 8:45-9:15 PM.
Fall (September – November):
Autumn might be the best time to visit Big Sur, with comfortable temperatures and fewer tourists. The foliage in the forests and valleys begins to change color, adding another layer of beauty to the already stunning landscape.
Temperatures: Daytime temperatures usually hover between 55°F (13°C) and 70°F (21°C).
Rain: Fall is the start of the rainy season, with rainfall averaging 2-4 inches per month. Occasional morning and evening fog can also be expected.
Sunrise and Sunset: Sunrise typically occurs around 6:45-7:15 AM. Golden hour starts around 6:00-6:30 PM, followed by sunset around 6:45-7:00 PM, and the blue hour from 7:15-7:45 PM.
Winter (December – February):
During the winter months, days are shorter and cooler. Fog is more common during this season, particularly in the mornings and evenings. While storms can sometimes make coastal hiking and exploration less accessible, the rain brings lush greenery to the region and can create spectacular waterfalls (which are often not easy to reach).
Rain: Winter in Big Sur is the wettest season, with the majority of the area’s annual rainfall occurring during these months. Rainfall averages 7-9 inches per month (or so).
Temperatures: Temperatures can range from 40°F (4°C) to 60°F (15°C).
Sunrise and Sunset: Sunrise usually takes place around 7:00-7:30 AM. Golden hour begins around 4:30-5:00 PM, with sunset around 5:15-5:30 PM, and the blue hour from 5:45-6:15 PM.
It is important to know that while we can relay on weather patterns to plan for the best possible weather on your wedding day, Big Sur often has a mind of its own with diverse microclimates. However, regardless of your plans, you sould always expect to face some colder temperatures and plan for it. The one thing is certain is that you will get the day that is meant for you and wether it is sunny or foggy, it will be unique!
Are you thinking of eloping in Big Sur or somewhere along the coast of Central California and you don’t know where to begin? Planning your elopement shouldn’t be a daunting task – many couples decide to elope to take away the stress of planning a big wedding; to help you along the process, here is a checklist of essential items you’ll need:
1. Marriage License
Obtaining a marriage license is an essential first step in planning your elopement. You can get a marriage license from the County Clerk’s office in the county where you plan to get married. In Big Sur, this would be the Monterey County Clerk’s Office.
2. Location Permits
Depending on where you plan to elope, you may need to obtain a permit or permission to use the location for your ceremony. Many popular spots in Big Sur, such as Pfeiffer Beach or Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, require permits. Check with the local authorities or park rangers to ensure you have the necessary permits.
If you’re hiring a professional elopement photographer, make sure they have the necessary permits to photograph in the location you’ve chosen.
You can either stay somewhere along the coast or in one of the towns nearby. It is important that if you want vendors that can drive and deliver to you that you stay somewhere somewhat accessible for the nearby towns.
4. Wedding Attire
Choose wedding attire that’s comfortable and fits the vibe of your elopement. In Big Sur, this might mean a flowy bohemian dress or a suit paired with hiking boots. If you are planning an all day adventure you should prioritize comfort and make sure that you will be ok with your outfit getting a bit (or very) dirty.
5. Officiant & Photographer
Decide who will officiate your ceremony. You can hire a professional officiant, ask a friend or family member to become ordained, or have a self-uniting ceremony.
As for a photographer, I recommend you do hire a local pro who is familiar with the area.
Don’t forget your wedding rings! Make sure they fit and are securely packed for your elopement adventure.
Plan for transportation to and from your elopement location. If you’re hiking to your ceremony spot, make sure you have comfortable shoes and enough water and snacks for the hike.
Another great option for transportation is renting a classic car in Carmel, there are so many options around and they make create great photo opportunities!
8. Weather Gear and Backpack
Weather can be unpredictable in Big Sur, so being prepared is importnant. Bring warm layers, rain gear, and sun protection to ensure you’re comfortable during your ceremony, put it all in a backapck that you can bring along or leave in the car to access as you need. However, make sure to choose a backpack that can be in the photos 😉
9. Vows and Readings
Write your own vows and/or choose any readings or poems you want to include in your ceremony. Get creative! Get customized wedding vow books from Etsy to avoid reading them from a flimsy paper that might fly away or a smart device.
10. Celebratory Toast/snack
Don’t forget to bring a bottle of bubbly or your favorite beverage to toast to your marriage after the ceremony! Also, it is important to avoid getting “hangry” so packing a small picnic or having a vendor deliver a charcuterie board to celebrate might be ideal.
Last but not least!
Depending on the configuration of your eloping adventure, you might want to consider working with a photographer or elopement coordinator that can help you put a vendor team together. For example, you might need hair & makeup artists, flowers, picnic setups, bakers, etc.
And let’s not forget a restaurant reservation or a private cheff to wrap up your celebration!
In the end, the possibilities are endless, remember that even though it is an elopement, it is YOUR day, so make it of it what you want! From having a ceremony at a small venue, having a first dance somewhere on the cliffs away from any hikers, or eating your favorite pie with a bohemian picnic setup.