Nick + Ally's San Diego Elopement

Switching things up a little: taking you out of the mountains of New England and onto the beaches of Southern California! This San Diego elopement is near and dear to my heart; because it's my brother Nick's and my new sister-in-law Ally's elopement! I'm always so honored to be chosen by couples to photograph their day, but getting to photograph family is a whole other level of joy. Not to mention what an amazing adventure it was getting to shoot a cliffside elopement in California!

Nick and Ally met in our hometown in New Hampshire; but realized they needed a change. After setting out on a cross-country road trip, pups in tow, they landed in sunny San Diego. Wanting the warm, beach climate, they found their new home in Oceanside; where they've been for three years now! It's pretty clear to see why they fell in love with it, and I'm so inspired by how they went out and chased their dream. They jumped right into the community and found a great group of friends and jobs they love.

With the chaos of wedding planning during the pandemic, their plans kept changing. After months of going back and forth on when/where to do it, and a canceled destination elopement in Costa Rica; they just decided to stop waiting. They decided to keep it close to home and plan an intimate San Diego wedding with their family, dogs, and closest friends.

The Day Before the Elopement

The evening before the big day Nick and I went out to the cliffs in search of the perfect elopement spot. The most gorgeous spot overlooking the beaches of San Onofre, I was SO EXCITED for the next day! We found a pretty isolated spot off the beaten path with not a lot of people; the perfect elopement ceremony location! Once we got the locations all decided we went back to their house, and they helped prepare dinner for the next day. Ally's brother and sister in law own a delicious Italian restaurant back in New Hampshire so they cooked the whole meal!

The next morning - elopement day - started off just how Ally and Nick envisioned it. Relaxing and enjoying time with their loved ones in their favorite place. From a pre-ceremony surf, to the slow getting ready moments at their epic Airbnb on the coast; every part of their elopement was so relaxed!

Nick and Ally chose to get ready separately after breakfast, and they saw each other for the first time at the ceremony!

San Onofre Cliffside Elopement

San Onofre first look photo

Everyone headed down to the cliffs to the location we picked for the intimate ceremony. Overlooking the ocean on an overcast October day, Nick and Ally said I do surrounded by their loved ones in their favorite place. Can't get much better than that! And then we went back to the house and had a delicious Italian meal and hung out by the fire

How to Make your Elopement Your Own

Ally's goal for their day was to have it be really low-key, super relaxed, and just like be very present with everyone there. And that's how they made it. There was no stress or anxiety, just a fun intimate elopement. There was no rushing, with plenty of time to do all the things they love with the people they love.

When you're building your timeline, and if your goal is to have a non-stressful day, make sure that you're giving yourself plenty of time to avoid any unnecessary rushing or stressing or anything. It will just make for a much more calming and intimate experience rather than feeling stressed out.

The huge benefit of having an elopement is YOU CAN DO WHATEVER YOU WANT! No joke. You can customize your day to include all of your favorite things. Whether that be activities, the guest list, the location, the food, the timeline; you have so much freedom! Nick and Ally made their elopement unique to them in the following ways, and you can too:

1. Do something you love

Surfing in San Diego on wedding day

The perfect way to embrace a San Diego elopement at the beach? GO SURFING! Nick and his buddies spent the morning of the elopement catching some waves. And then the day after they went out again! Including activities you love makes the experience so personal, and SO FUN! Whether that's going for a hike the day before, playing music together, having a backyard BBQ with the fam; add in an activity that you love!

2. Include your pets

Elopement ceremony with dogs

You can bring your dogs with you just like Nick and Ally did when they got married on the cliffs! While this is variable depending on your location; there are so many fun ways you can include your pets on your elopement day! For tips on how to elope with dogs, check out my blog post on how to include your pets!

3. Include your nearest and dearest

Family photo at cliffside elopement in San Diego

Elopements no longer mean running off in secret to get hitched. Now elopements can include inviting your loved ones - the people you really want on your wedding day. You have the freedom to invite your friends and family; whether partially or for the full elopement! Some couples may choose to say their vows in private, or with their immediate family, or with everyone present! Hosting weekend long elopements are a great way to include guests, leaving the option for partial or full involvement! Check out this post on how to prepare guests for your elopement! And check out my Elopement Planning Workbook to help you plan the perfect day for YOU!

Contact me to book your San Diego Elopement Photographer! And be sure follow me on Pinterest for more Southern California Elopement inspiration! Now dive into this intimate beach elopement in San Diego!

Adventure elopement photographer team

A New Hampshire + Vermont based adventure elopement and intimate wedding photographer team for the adventurous souls. We specialize in New England and destinations worldwide, empowering you to create the most beautiful, adventurous day and give you the memories you'll be able to look back on for all the years to come.


Share this story