• Sean & Riley

An Emotional Beach Elopement on the Southern California Coast

This beach elopement on the Southern California Coast was 1000% my favorite elopement of 2021. Sorry other couples, you were all amazing…but Sean and Riley are the stuff romance novels are made of!

Pre-Elopement Meet-Up

One thing I love to do with my couples is meet up with them in person ahead of time to go over everything. This isn’t always possible (#vanlife), but we were able to with Sean and Riley! The four of us scouted the area ahead of time to find all the best hikes and views.

If you have the time, I definitely recommend doing this with your elopement photographer – it takes so much stress off of the day when you’re already familiar with your location, not to mention comfortable with each other!

Sean and Riley’s relationship is perfectly summed up in these words from Riley’s vows: “The feeling when we met was almost as if we had loved each other in a different life and found each other again.” Their officiant and friend Angie shared how when these two got together, it was only a few weeks before Sean said he loved Riley, and just a few more after that for Riley to confidently declare that she was going to marry him!

First Look and Ceremony

We started the day up at a beautiful lookout point where you could see miles of rugged rock, coastline, and crashing waves way down below. Riley walked up through the eucalyptus trees for their first look, and Sean’s reaction was so sweet! He almost lost it when he saw her dress.

The ceremony was just amazing. Angie had us so engrossed in the story of Sean and Riley that the gorgeous backdrop almost didn’t even matter! She kept having to stop talking because she was so emotional watching two of her best friends get married. At one point, she said, “Thank you for eloping, this is so much easier,” and I had to agree! Adventure elopements are where it’s at!

They followed Angie’s speech with vows that were so intimate and emotional, everyone was sobbing, and then a really cool hand-fasting ceremony officiated by their friend Niko.

The Best Witness Ever: Their Dog!

Sean and Riley’s dog, Finn, was so funny and entertaining to watch throughout the day. During the ceremony, she was excitedly digging a hole to fill with her toy collection and was shooting sand everywhere.

After the ceremony, she was so full of energy we all went down to a beach that allows dogs to be off-leash so she could run around with our two pups. In the meantime, we got some sweet shots of the couple playing with their puppy, running around on the beach, and just having a blast!

Hiking Around the Southern California Coast

After the dogs were thoroughly worn out, we drove down to a cool hiking area that opened out into some jaw-dropping rock formations. We then went to an area near the beach that had tons of eucalyptus trees that smelled amazing, plus some epic sand dunes for the couple to pose on top of. The variety of plants and scenery along the coast was just gorgeous – we could have hiked and taken photos for days and still not captured everything!

After all this hiking, we all decided a little break was well-deserved, so Angie and Niko brought pizza to the house and we all chowed down while toasting the newlyweds and listening to stories about them and how they met.

More Beach Play and Photos at the Pier

After the break, we went to a beach that had a beautiful long pier and took more photos of Sean and Riley frolicking around. At one point, Riley gave Sean a piggyback ride – it was hilarious! Riley was laughing like crazy when she tried to pick him up and couldn’t do it.

We wrapped up photos on the beach and went up to the pier for some beer and a toast to good times and great memories. As the sun started to set, we headed to some more massive sand dunes and another sandy beach to finish off the day.

Great Dinner, Great Friends

We wrapped up the day by joining the happy couple and their friends at Beerwood for some killer food and the perfect atmosphere to really unwind and celebrate! This is one of the things I love most about this job – my husband and I get to meet such wonderful people, and having them turn into real friends is the best reward for a job well done!

Sean and Riley are such amazing people and we are so blessed to have gotten to know them and become real friends with them through capturing their elopement. I’m so grateful to have spent such a significant day by their side, and can’t wait to see what new besties I’ll meet in 2022! Maybe you’ll be one of them??

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