We couldn’t have been more excited when Arianna & Erik first contacted us. Having found us off Wandering Weddings, we knew this couple would be up for some sort of adventure. They decided to have the best of both worlds for their wedding—a morning hike in Big Sur followed by a celebration with friends & family into the evening. Their Big Sur small wedding included Sir Gunter–their dog who is of course a vital family member who had to be there! During our initial phone call, I found out that Erik proposed to Arianna at Vernal Falls in Yosemite, right at the edge of the waterfall. We can’t imagine a greater proposal for this bold couple!
Having some sort of adventure on the day of their wedding was important to them. Both of them enjoyed hiking, so we ended up settling on a simple but scenic hike in Big Sur for early in the morning before all their other activities began. We all set our alarms early before the sun even rose, and drove as a group to the trailhead in Big Sur. They made the smart choice to have a morning-centric experience, which paid off because we had the entire place to ourselves! We brought along our changing tent so Arianna could get into her hiking dress. Arianna rocked both a hiking and a separate dress for the ceremony. An adventure wedding in Big Sur can sometimes call for having two dresses on hand!
This entire small wedding was so wonderfully DIY—the bouquets & boutonnieres were made by the wedding party, and they had their friend Denise create the schedule, invites and other table details. She is an extremely talented artist and you can check out her Instagram here!
Their small wedding had a guest count under 40, making it the perfect amount of people for them to share their day with. They chose Cambria Pines Lodge in Cambria, California to hold the ceremony. It was truly a beautiful moment, and something so special they decided to incorporate were ceremony locks which they shared with their parents. After the ceremony, they decided to do something even more different than the traditional weddings and have guests give speeches right there at the lodge. While we were taking family portraits, they had several lawn games for guests to play, and had even more game choices to choose from during the reception.
After the ceremony, a smaller group headed to Ragged Point Inn for a relaxing lunch. On the way there, the Seeking Venture Photo team was a bit ahead and we decided to stop near the Hearst Castle because the zebras were out! We knew it was a must stop to document this part of the day, because how often do you get a wedding that includes zebras?! They actually had a great selection of wedding wildlife throughout the day including foxes in the morning, the Zebras of Hearst Castle, venue kitties and of course to complete, an adorable little frog!
The reception was held at the Cambria Nursery and Florist which was only down the street from the lodge and super convenient for anyone staying there. The details were perfect, including our most favorite personalized cake topper of all time. We were treated as if we were one of the guests, and they were sweet enough to have a place for us at a table. From even before the wedding started to the very end, we were treated as long-time friends. We love our souvenirs from the wedding that were gifted to us as if we were one of their guests; especially the Mexican blankets that our cats love to cuddle up on! It’s a daily reminder of their day, and one we will never forget. We feel so fortunate getting to work with couples like Erik and Arianna, and so happy to call them our friends.
A few things we can learn from their small wedding day:
- Don’t be afraid to get your dress dirty–embrace it, or be smart like Arianna and have a different dress for your ceremony and reception! Her hiking dress allowed a range of motion to freely move around the landscape, so make sure you practice moving around to make sure you can venture around for the day.
- You can 100% do something adventurous for your day and still spend time with family and friends. One option is to spend half the day with just the two of you and then join friends & family later on!
- Your furry best friend is also family and should be included. They found a venue that allowed dogs so their pup Gunter wouldn’t miss out! There are always options, and we are happy to research for you.
- If you are worried you don’t have a dancing crowd for your reception, buy a bunch of board games to keep them entertained!
Couple: @lady_merc93 & @perpulstuph
Adorable pup: @sir_gunter
Ceremony: Cambria Pines Lodge
Lunch Stop: Ragged Point Inn
Reception: Cambria Nursery and Florist
“Something Blue” Hiking Boots: @altrarunning
Hiking Dress: @anomalie
Ceremony Dress: @garnetandgracebridalboutique
Thank you so much Arianna & Erik!