Corona Del Mar Elopement | Southern California Elopement Photographer


It was a Monday I think. My sister Celeste texted me out of the blue asking what I was doing two weeks from then. I was kind of concerned because we normally communicate by Snapchat – the goofier and more ridiculous the face filter the better. So text meant it was serious… Over a few texts she said “We don’t know what the world is going to look like in September. We’re eloping!” And thus the story of Celeste & Kyle’s Corona Del Mar elopement began.

Kyle and Celeste had the court appointment already booked before she even texted me. They both didn’t want to make any fuss over the whole thing. It was just a legal formality in their minds. Back then they were still hopefully going do their planned celebration with family and friends on their original September wedding date. Well due to COVID-19, only the witness could accompany them to the courthouse ceremony. Not that I mind in the slightest, but my family volunteered me and my camera as tribute because that way everyone could ‘be’ there in a sense through the photos.

Of course I was so in, but in kind of full on sister mode. We planned a small surprise bachelorette party with her two best friends. We picked out flowers for a small bouquet over text. My mom sewed like crazy and made Celeste an ‘intermediate’ dress. (Side note – my mom made my wedding dress and we even had the fabric for Celeste’s, but she didn’t want to wear something so fancy to the court.) And then someone said, well don’t you guys want to like eat or something on your court wedding day? So then we planned a small brunch. The last thing we added to the schedule was a quick jaunt down to Celeste’s favorite beach – Corona Del Mar. Because why not go somewhere special on such a special day?!

The day of came! Everyone was crazy exhausted because we had all stayed up super late the night before at the bachelorette watching the new Little Women, but the excitement of the day was palpable. Celeste was so gorgeous I wanted to cry, Kyle’s smile said everything, and Kyle’s family Zoomed in from the East Coast to watch as the two of them loved on each other in the sunrise glow. The gentle surf and the low tide turns Corona Del Mar into a magical tide pool haven. As the two of them explored the pools, pointing out anemones, crabs, and urchins and cuddling up against the brisk morning, I remembered a text from almost four years ago now.

It was the winter of her freshman year in college. She had been dating a guy for a couple months, and texted me “how do you know if he’s the one?” I honestly do not remember what advise I gave or if it was even any good, but four years later standing on that beach and listening to them read their vows at the courthouse, he definitely is the one! Marriage is choosing to love through the thick and thin, and I think Celeste and Kyle have got it absolutely right.

At this point we can all agree that 2020 has been a bear. Celeste and Kyle ended up postponing their larger wedding celebration. On what would have been their wedding day Celeste wrote this: “While this was most certainly not what I imagined when I pictured the start of our marriage, it’s hard to be anything but thankful. I’m thankful Kyle is here [in California] with me. I’m thankful that we’re both healthy, that our families are healthy. I am thankful [Kyle loves me and cherishes me]. I’m thankful for all the effort and care Kyle puts into our relationship. I’m thankful for all the crazy stories we’re going to be able to tell. I am thankful. (Take that 2020).”

Yep, I should be the one asking advise from her for sure. I couldn’t be more proud of them, excited for their future together, and honored to have had a small role in this unexpected, but amazingly special day for them. Their Corona Del Mar elopement was perfect; even a meme about the “Corona” part in the beach’s name couldn’t get them down. Take that 2020 indeed; you can’t rain on Celeste & Kyle’s parade. I love you both very much!

You may be asking yourself – wait Clarissa, didn’t you have another sister get married this year? YES! 2020 has been very exciting for our family – check out her intimate wedding on a Nicaraguan lagoon here!

Have your plans changed due to COVID-19 or anything else? Southern California has so many ridiculously epic places to explore! And California is now off the travel restriction list! Whether you’d like to schedule an adventure session (for engagements, anniversaries, couples in love) for something fun to do outdoors as we exit full quarantine, or your wedding or elopement plans/priorities have changed and you want to have beautiful SoCal as the backdrop for your adjusted plans let’s get in touch! Now booking elopements and sessions for the remainder of 2020 and everything into 2021! I’m so ready to help you all have the best time ever!

  1. Kaely says:

    Wow what a beautiful day/couple/location. They seems so very sweet and in love. Love that the bride wore converse too, very cool!

  2. Liv Hettinga says:

    This is such a cute little wedding! The couple looks young but you can tell how in love they are! Great for them!

  3. Erin says:

    that is the most precious story! They look so happy <3 what an exciting year for your fam! take that 2020!!

  4. Traci says:

    I love beach elopements they feel so free!

  5. Very cute wedding elopement! Although COVID has changed the landscape of weddings, I’m personally happy to see more of these simple, intimate, all-about-the-couple elopements.

  6. Abbi Hearne says:

    Wow what a sweet day! I love that she wore her converse!

  7. Holy heck – this is such a magical elopement and you captured it beautifully!

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