There’s a sort of irony to visiting Big Sur — it’s a place that makes you feel so small. Soaring coastal redwoods dot the granite cliffs that sit high above the Pacific Ocean. Streams carve canyons out of coastal ranges and disappear into the sea. The Pacific Coast Highway ribbons through the rugged coastline, clinging to the rocks above pounding surf. It’s a place really unlike any other.
For Jesse and Erin the raw, rugged beauty served as the perfect setting for an emotional and unforgettable day.
“So much of me kind of just wanted to do a private ceremony somewhere, just us and have a party later,” Erin admitted before the ceremony. “But Jesse just really wanted to get up in front of everybody, which I kind of love — that he wanted to proclaim it, display it.”
The two met more than a decade ago at a boarding school in Georgia far from home — Jesse was from Oklahoma and Erin from Montana. They quickly found how much they had in common: They both had lost a parent when they were teens. They both had trying pasts. They shared a mutual interest in each other but became close friends, and remained that way when they left school and moved on their respective journeys.
A few years later Erin had just moved to Oklahoma for grad school when she reached out to Jesse for advice on what do in the Sooner State (Jesse was living in San Diego at the time). It didn’t take long for their friendship to turn into a budding relationship during their phone calls. He began making more frequent trips home to visit family and Erin. They started dating long distance and eventually Erin decided to move out to Southern California to join Jesse. That was five years ago. Jesse didn’t want to quietly marry Erin somewhere. It had to be big; They decided on Big Sur because it was so grandly and spectacularly unique — the ocean, the trees, the amazing golf courses near by and the adventure of it all to celebrate their love.
Every aspect of the weekend was beautiful; the cliffside wedding ceremony overlooking the Big Sur coastline, the massive, rustic hand-made, feather dream catcher hanging above the dance floor, giant tepee lounges perched around a bonfire and all this beneath reaching redwood trees on a gorgeous afternoon. Paradise? We think so.
Yet all of this took a back seat to the real reason we were there. It was pretty apparent from the beginning that Erin and Jesse were meant to find each other, meant to hold each other up in the toughest of times, meant to marry in a place where ruggedness transcends into beauty.
Erin knew she would cry, she admitted before the ceremony. She had a feeling Jesse would too. We won’t spoil the surprise, but it’s clear Erin knows the man she was meant for pretty well.
“He’s so stoic and so macho in so many ways,” Erin said, laughing. “There are like are few precious times that he breaks down and lets it show. And i just love it when he’s like that, it’s so special.”
A picture of Erin’s mom and Jesse’s dad was adorned into a small frame tied around the bouquet Erin carried down the aisle — an emotional reminder of their parents who may be gone, but are certainly never forgotten. After the ceremony, as mists swirled up over the cliffs from the ocean below, the two shared a special moment knowing that there parents were with them all along.
It was just one emotional moment in a day that was, for lack of a better word, perfect.
Thank you to all the incredible people who made the entire weekend exactly that. We were in spectacular company with renowned photographer Jose Villa, Alexandra and her fantastic crew from Sterling Engagements, the always amazing event designer of all things extravagent Shawna Yamamoto, and all the wonderful people we worked with who helped transform a beautiful wedding into an unforgettable one.