Brandon and Natalie have been together for almost 11 years. They eloped in Big Sur on September 6, 2019. This is their story.
From the bride:
We were in the same circle of friends in our teen years and outside of high school. It wasn’t until 2008 when we would randomly stumble upon each other at a friend’s get-together. It had been awhile since we had seen each other. There were definite sparks right away. About a week later Brandon had called me to go on a date. We really hit it off right away! We shared so many common interests. I think Brandon knew I was the one when he took me on our first fishing trip and I caught a fish with no problem. Little did he know I grew up fishing with my family just like him.”
He proposed on New Year’s Day (2017), in Truckee, California. Brandon told me to close my eyes and count to 50. I knew at that moment something was going on. I opened my eyes and he was down on one knee in front of me with scattered rose petals all around him laying in the snow. It was absolutely beautiful of course I said yes right away! It was the happiest day.
We wanted to have the most playful day just the two of us in Big Sur. We chose Carmel / Big Sur because we had made a few memories here together. We absolutely love the pacific coast. We also were inspired to elope here because we have a photo of my mother-in-law who passed away in 2007 which was taken in Carmel outside of the Hyatt Highlands Hotel. We took this as a spiritual sign that this would be our secret elopement location.
We eloped in Carmel, California on September 6, 2019. We knew we wanted a very intimate ceremony, just the two of us. My mother’s pin was attached to my bouquet. Our wedding rings are Brandon’s parents. His mother passed in 2007. These items are incredibly special to us. Our elopement was a secret, we had a reception planned for October 26, 2019. We chose September because that’s when we had our first date and October for the reception because that’s when we knew we were officially together. Little did we know, September 6 was the wedding anniversary for my grandmother and grandfather. My grandfather had passed away when I was 13 years old. This also was such a beautiful sign that we chose the right way to get hitched. After we said our I do’s, we LOVED our intimate photoshoot along the Big Sur coast! It was absolute perfection! We enjoyed bubbles and got lucky with 75-degree weather and sunny skies.
How did you two meet? What were your first impressions of one another?
We met each other in our hometown in late 2005. We had a lot of mutual friends growing up in a small town, and would casually run into each other here and there. In the fall of 2009, we bumped into one another at a friends get together and immediately started catching up because it had been sometime. A week later, we went on a date and the rest is history. We were friends who turned into soul mates fast ..We connected quickly for our love of the outdoors and many common interests, like fishing and exploring nature.
Tell us a funny story relating to your wedding day or relationship!
After 2 Years of being engaged, and 11 years together..we finally decided on how we were going to be hitched. We were so undecided on how we really wanted to celebrate our special day, we then came to the realization that we wanted to have a secret elopement with a big reception to follow a month Later. Funny story is, when our guests arrived to our “wedding” we hid upstairs at the venue, while downstairs we surprised the majority of the audience with our ceremony elopement video from when we eloped in Carmel Ca. Many guests were stunned to say the least, but of course we’re overjoyed for us! Little did they know what we had planned up our sleeves.
Describe a hurdle you had to overcome in your relationship or during your wedding planning.
I think the biggest hurdle was figuring out the type of wedding day we wanted. There’s so much pressure on what’s “right” to do. And to be honest, We truly couldn’t be happier with what we decided. We had an elopement just to ourselves, a day to really soak it all in, and celebrate just “us”. Of course the wedding reception was something we wanted too, so we treated our selves to the best of both worlds. What I’ve learned out of planning a wedding, just go with what makes your hearts most comfortable and at peace.
Any special ways you incorporated your family or family history into your wedding day?
We decided to get married in Carmel, California because we both have a love for the town. We vacation here frequently and have fallen in love with the coastal scenes. We have a beloved old picture of Brandon’s late mom that was captured in Carmel and it is very special to us. When we were trying to think of locations to be married, we realized where the beautiful picture of his mom was taken and immediately saw this as a sign to be married there.
What part of your wedding day was/is most important to you?
It was so important to us that we fulfilled our dream of having a beach elopement. It was what our hearts really wanted for our ceremony.
What is the best thing you’ve learned from one another?
As I’m writing this, it will be our 13th year together. We have gone through our 20s, and we are now journeying through our 30s. Each day we grow and continue to learn from each other. We have learned over the years our love just continues to get stronger with time. Life throws challenges, we get older, we change.. but together we overcome these changes by having each other backs and always supporting one another and seeing the best in each other.
What is your favorite thing about each other?
We both can agree that no matter how rough a day can be, we can always make each other laugh. One of our favorite things is to get caught up in a hysterical moment and get the case of “contagious laughs” lol.
What was your favorite part about planning your wedding?
Favorite part of our wedding was deciding to have two celebrations! Lol an elopement and a party!! Best decision ever!
If you had one piece of advice for other couples, what would it be?
To never forget to laugh, love, support and care for one another everyday. To always be open minded and open for change at any given moment. You never know what life can throw at you.
What is the most honest thing you can say about love?
We can say that love is the most important thing on this planet. If there is anything to put your mind and soul at ease, it is knowing that you are loved, or have love for someone.
Photographer: AGS Photo Art
Venue: Big Sur
Floral Designer: Swenson and Silacci Flowers
Dress Boutique: BHLDN
Makeup Artist: Sephora
Men\’s Formalwear: Men’s Wearhouse
Film Lab: PhotoVision
Video: Geneva Rico Photography
Getting Ready location: Hyatt Carmel Highlands