Beach Elopement on the Cliffs of Palos Verdes

June 12, 2020

What do you do when a pandemic hits weeks before your wedding? You elope next to the beach on the cliffs of Palos Verdes, that’s what. You say I Do with a view of Catalina Island in the background while your friends cheer you on from just up the path. You wave at paragliders after your first look. And, you end the day drinking White Claws out of the trunk of your car. Well, that’s at least what Halley + Jake did when disaster struck the world. Here are some of their photos from their beach elopement on the cliffs of Palos Verdes (& a bit of their/our story, too):

Halley, Jake, and I connected via our mutual friend and tattoo artist, Amber Laban. Halley and Jake had matching boomerangs tattooed on their arms last spring. And, while having Amber’s art permanently inked on their skin, they mentioned they were planning their wedding. Amber, being the wonderful human she is, recommended me as a wedding photographer. I could end this and say, “The rest is history”. But, that would be such a wild disservice to their (and our) story).

Halley and Jake were supposed to get married this spring. Like the majority of spring 2020 wedding couples, COVID-19 swept in and shattered their plans. As the pandemic became bigger and bigger by the day, Halley and Jake realized their wedding plans would likely have to change. 98% of their wedding guests were flying in from across the country, mainly from their home state of Ohio. First, gatherings of 250 people or more were banned. Then, guests’ flights were cancelled. Soon, the gathering sizes allowed in California were becoming more minimal by the minute. Within days, things went from “I really hope we can make this work” to “everyone’s flights are cancelled, our wedding will be illegal, and everything is cancelled”. But, they were determined to get married, whether it was surrounded by 90+ friends/family members at their original venue, Long Beach Museum of Art, or…just them, anywhere.

Halley + Jake ultimately decided that they’d rather elope now than wait 12+ months to get married later. So, surrounded by a few of their close friends, they both said “I Do” on the cliffs of Rancho Palos Verdes.

Their elopement started like this: Jake stood on a grassy bluff facing the Pacific, as paragliders flew in and out of view over the water. Halley tapped his shoulder and he turned around with the most genuine surprise I’ve EVER seen. We then walked with their friends (and dog) to a jutty portion of earth extending from the cliffs. I married them (and photographed the whole thing). Halley ran around the trail in excitement. And, we ended the evening sipping White Claws out of Halley’s beat up Toyota Corolla, only stopping to take in the blues and oranges of one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen.

^Yours truly, officiating a wedding (look ma, I made it!)

Thanks to the wonderful vendors who helped make this all possible!

Hair & Makeup: Face It Sugar
Custom Jacket: Beth Wilson Embroidery