Amy and Luke were one of the couples that had their wedding affected right in the middle of the 2020 pandemic. They rolled with it. A couple weeks into the lockdowns, I got a call from Amy with the sentiment of, “We’re doing the damn thing anyways, just the two of us and our pastor.”

So I drove up 14 hours to Big Sur in the middle of the night, met them the next morning, and together we scouted out a location for the ceremony. Amy made a ring out of a guitar string, the A-string by the way, and she found a dress that could be shipped quickly beforehand. She picked her own bouquet of wildflowers, using the hotel ice bucket as a makeshift vase. Luke wore the suit he had on hand. During the morning while Amy was prepping, Luke went out on his skateboard and cruised some of the hills passing by closed up shops and restaurants due to the lockdown, and him and I talked about movies and art and life in general. The two got ready together at the Hotel Carmel, Amy helping Luke with his shirt and tie. When it was time to go, Amy covered herself with a kimono she had found a thrift store so that Luke could still have the surprise of seeing her “walk down the aisle” and we drove to the cliffs with the pastor following behind. 

I had never shot anything like this. So impromptu and on the fly, full of love and a carefree attitude. Both of them come from art backgrounds, so their taste and their love for life were a perfect combination for Big Sur, and because it was so private, their vows were long, and candid, and honest. Instead of formal vows, it felt like I was listening in on a private conversation, set against the crashing of the ocean waves and seagulls. The two shared a lot of tears, a lot of laughs, and the day was as stress free and happy as could be. 

Afterwards, I just let them be together. And it was perfect. 

Since the pandemic restrictions had basically shut everything down, they ordered a pizza and wine and had a pizza party in their hotel room. An imperfectly perfect ending, to an imperfectly perfect day. 

It was a lesson.

A lesson in why we do weddings. 

So a year and half later, and with a new baby girl in tow, the two are celebrating with their family and friends soon at their wedding. But the marriage has already started. And that’s what it’s all about. 

Amy and Luke Big Sur Elopement


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