An Elegant, Rustic Wedding at the Paion Estate in Big Sur, California

Unifying natural beauty with sophisticated details, Aurora "Rory" Hughes (31 and a small business owner) and Kevin Kusterer's (31 and a trader) destination wedding atop a seaside cliff on California’s Big Sur coast was a grand effort with even grander results. From cozy postceremony relaxation stations to clever sound ordinance solutions, Fondly Forever Photography chronicled every detail of this thoughtful, idyllic event. Rory and Kevin built their ideal wedding at the Paion Estate in Big Sur, California. "We learned we could build our dream wedding from the bottom up—it was a blank canvas," Kevin says. "We had to bring in everything from mobile restrooms to stoves for the caterer. The prospect was daunting but we knew the final product would be well worth the extraordinary effort—and it was.” 

Based in New York, Rory and Kevin relied heavily on their local planner Diane Allen's area expertise and coordination while they shared their vision from afar. White, peach and soft-blush flowers from local growers paired perfectly with the event’s neutral color scheme. Floral centerpieces and ceremony decor included fragrant medleys of sage, lavender, rose and Staghorn Ferns. After Rory and Kevin exchanged vows on a cliff under the arch of two pine trees, the 120 guests sipped signature cocktails, snacked on mini lasagnas and lounged on cozy couches overlooking the Pacific Ocean. After an outdoor sunset dinner under the glow of hanging Edison lights, the dancing kicked up and went on long into the night. An early sound ordinance could have stopped the party, but Rory and Kevin wisely supplied silent disco headphones, allowing guests to continue grooving. At the evening’s end, shuttles took revelers safely back to their hotels. “Planning a destination wedding is not for the faint of heart,” Rory says. “Nothing special and unique comes without hard work. But the result will also be worth every moment of worry and anxiety.” —Carolyn Meers