Intimate Beach Wedding in Santa Cruz, California

April 15, 2022

Love Stories

In early April we celebrated Lissi and Chris’s intimate beach wedding in Santa Cruz, California. Lissi and Chris are two of the most thoughtful people I’ve met and their wedding day was a beautiful reflection of who they are as a couple. 

I love that Chris and Lissi celebrated their wedding day on their own terms. These two opted for a morning wedding and brewery reception. But before we even get into the details – I want to highlight a few things that they included to make their wedding unique.

The morning before the ceremony

First, Chris and Lissi chose to spend the morning getting ready with each other. I love this, my husband and I did something similar. Before our wedding day started, we woke up, went for a walk and got breakfast together. There’s something to be said about starting your wedding day with the person you are marrying. Being together before you take on this big event and commitment is something I highly recommend and also something that helps with the nerves.  

After they got dressed, they took some time to exchange personal vows that they had written for each other. Look, writing is hard. Writing from the heart? That’s even harder. Then having to read out loud what you wrote in front of 100 people? No freaking way. I applaud anyone who is confident enough to share their vows so publicly. I also applaud couples who know themselves and recognize that sometimes, a little bit of intimacy for a special moment is just as powerful.

Once they were ready, the two of them met up with me at Natural Bridges State beach for some pre-wedding portraits. This location was special to the couple because they had their first official date together. 

This is the perfect example of how to make your intimate beach wedding your own. You don’t need to follow a timeline you’ve seen online, you just have to do what feels right. All of these little changes allowed them time to loosen up, relax and just have some fun before they walked down the aisle. 

Lissi wore her grandmother’s wedding dress. It’s the same dress her mother also wore, making her the third generation to get married in the gorgeous tea-length gown. The couple opted for colorful flowers and nautical themed decorations to help celebrate their day. 

An Intimate Beach Wedding

Their beach-side nuptials were on the lawn of the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum. Before the nuptials began, guests mingled, chatted, listened to music and played some hacky sack. The couple’s good friend officiated the wedding and brothers from each side shared special notes and anecdotes throughout the ceremony. 

After the ceremony, the couple headed over to Woodhouse Blending & Brewing. The cool, downtown brewery had live music, lawn games and great beer for everyone to enjoy. Once the reception ended the couple invited everyone to enjoy some time with them at the beach to end the night.

Enjoy their Santa Cruz wedding!

Intimate beach wedding in Santa Cruz, California. Photos by Shannon Alyse Photography.
Intimate beach wedding in Santa Cruz, California. Photos by Shannon Alyse Photography.
Intimate beach wedding in Santa Cruz, California. Photos by Shannon Alyse Photography.
Intimate beach wedding in Santa Cruz, California. Photos by Shannon Alyse Photography.
Intimate beach wedding in Santa Cruz, California. Photos by Shannon Alyse Photography.
Intimate beach wedding in Santa Cruz, California. Photos by Shannon Alyse Photography.
Intimate beach wedding in Santa Cruz, California. Photos by Shannon Alyse Photography.
Intimate beach wedding in Santa Cruz, California. Photos by Shannon Alyse Photography.
Intimate beach wedding in Santa Cruz, California. Photos by Shannon Alyse Photography.
Intimate beach wedding in Santa Cruz, California. Photos by Shannon Alyse Photography.
Intimate beach wedding in Santa Cruz, California. Photos by Shannon Alyse Photography.
Intimate beach wedding in Santa Cruz, California. Photos by Shannon Alyse Photography.
Intimate beach wedding in Santa Cruz, California. Photos by Shannon Alyse Photography.
Intimate beach wedding in Santa Cruz, California. Photos by Shannon Alyse Photography.
Intimate beach wedding in Santa Cruz, California. Photos by Shannon Alyse Photography.
Intimate beach wedding in Santa Cruz, California. Photos by Shannon Alyse Photography.
Intimate beach wedding in Santa Cruz, California. Photos by Shannon Alyse Photography.
Intimate beach wedding in Santa Cruz, California. Photos by Shannon Alyse Photography.
Intimate beach wedding in Santa Cruz, California. Photos by Shannon Alyse Photography.
Intimate beach wedding in Santa Cruz, California. Photos by Shannon Alyse Photography.
Intimate beach wedding in Santa Cruz, California. Photos by Shannon Alyse Photography.
Intimate beach wedding in Santa Cruz, California. Photos by Shannon Alyse Photography.
Intimate beach wedding in Santa Cruz, California. Photos by Shannon Alyse Photography.
Intimate beach wedding in Santa Cruz, California. Photos by Shannon Alyse Photography.
Intimate beach wedding in Santa Cruz, California. Photos by Shannon Alyse Photography.
Intimate beach wedding in Santa Cruz, California. Photos by Shannon Alyse Photography.

📣 Pro tip for my brides: 📣 If you want a photo of you and all of your guests – loop your photographer and officiant in on the plan. After you walk down the aisle as husband and wife, wait at the end. Ask your officiant to have everyone stand up and gather around the couple for a big group photo – and BOOM, you have a full wedding party photo. 

Intimate beach wedding in Santa Cruz, California. Photos by Shannon Alyse Photography.
Intimate beach wedding in Santa Cruz, California. Photos by Shannon Alyse Photography.
Intimate beach wedding in Santa Cruz, California. Photos by Shannon Alyse Photography.
Intimate beach wedding in Santa Cruz, California. Photos by Shannon Alyse Photography.
Intimate beach wedding in Santa Cruz, California. Photos by Shannon Alyse Photography.
Intimate beach wedding in Santa Cruz, California. Photos by Shannon Alyse Photography.
Intimate beach wedding in Santa Cruz, California. Photos by Shannon Alyse Photography.
Intimate beach wedding in Santa Cruz, California. Photos by Shannon Alyse Photography.
Intimate beach wedding in Santa Cruz, California. Photos by Shannon Alyse Photography.
Intimate beach wedding in Santa Cruz, California. Photos by Shannon Alyse Photography.
Intimate beach wedding in Santa Cruz, California. Photos by Shannon Alyse Photography.
Intimate beach wedding in Santa Cruz, California. Photos by Shannon Alyse Photography.

Cheers to the new couple!

Congratulations to the newlyweds! Thank you so much for trusting me with your memories. Looking for a wedding photographer? My books are open and I’d love to hear from you! Contact me here.

Hey, I'm Shannon

I'm a lifetime photographer that documents your milestones - from weddings to motherhood & all the moments in-between.

I'm based in Pleasanton, California where I live with my husband, our pup and way too many house plants.