How we love a stylish elopement around here. This editorial by Christina McNeill and Smith + James Events at the maximalist Madonna Inn (where each guest room has a different theme!) is the recipe for a playful and celebratory elopement: a road trip along the coast, vows at the beach, dinner and cake at the Inn, and more. To top it all off, Christina captured the newlyweds’ joy as they headed back to their hotel room in cute matching PJs with one last slice of cake. Prepare for some seriously cool California elopement inspo…
The Elopement Venue
The Madonna Inn is located in San Luis Obispo along the central coast, about halfway in between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Each of the 110 guest rooms is decorated with a different bold theme, from jungle rock to sugar and spice to merry — the glittering suite featured here! They’ve been a wedding destination since 1958 with several venue spaces on-site and tons to do around the property.
The Road Trip
Christina says, This epic road trip elopement to The Madonna Inn was a dream come true. No idea was too big, no detail too small for this editorial I created alongside Smith + James Events. From a dreamy ride in a creamy white 1971 Corvette Stingray convertible (including my favorite detail, a keychain created by Idea Emporium and Amber Moon Design) to a custom powdered sugar stencicled pancake breakfast (specially made by the same designers) at the Madonna Inn restaurant, to the oceanside ceremony at Grover Beach, and their intimate dinner reception at the Inn’s Hearts and Flowers room, every part of this day was an exciting adventure.
This vision came to life with the help of hair and makeup artist Skyla Arts and fashion stylist Gabrielle Hurwitz. For look one, Gabrielle paired a Sophie et Voila jumpsuit with Reiss earring from Jennifer Behr, while Ben wore a casual suit from The Black Tux.
For look two, the bride changed into the most adorable Alexia Maria silk mini wedding dress complete with big bow sleeves. Love!!! This was paired with Sergio Rossi heels, Jennifer Behr Allanah earrings, and a Daphne Newman veil. Ben donned another look from The Black Tux, a white dinner jacket.
After a laidback morning exploring the coast and their digs for the night, Sadie and Ben took to the beach to exchange vows with their officiant, who wore a lavender Ronny Kobo dress for the ceremony.
Dinner at The Madonna Inn
Amanda Vidmar created a wall of gardenias inside the hearts and flowers room to enhance the romantic vibes. She included a candlelit walkway surrounded by alyssum and a lily of the valley and sweet pea floral centerpiece. Tory Smith designed our table for two, which was pattern-on-pattern perfection with floral placemats and custom silk ribbons printed with Sadie and Ben’s names. As a nod to the classic movie scene — and because being a little extra felt just right — the couple ended the evening with a “Lady and the Tramp” style spaghetti dinner with cheeky Italian music playing in the background.
For the grand finale, their couple cut into the Inn’s iconic pink champagne wedding cake, then settled in for the night wearing the hotel’s floral print robes.
So cute, and SUCH a good concept for an adventurous elopement in California. Thanks to the team below for sharing!
Photography: Christina McNeill | Venue & Cake: Madonna Inn, San Luis Obispo, CA | Planning & Design: Smith + James Events | Floral Design: Amanda Vidmar | Paper & Keychain: Idea Emporium + Amber Moon Design | Hair & Makeup: Skyla Arts | Fashion Stylist: Gabrielle Hurwitz | Bride’s Jumpsuit: Sophie et Voila | Look 1 Earrings: Jennifer Behr | Groom’s Suits: The Black Tux | Bride’s Short Wedding Dress: Alexia Maria | Heels: Sergio Rossi | Look 2 Earrings: Jennifer Behr | Veil: Daphne Newman | Officiant’s Dress: Ronny Kobo | Officiant’s Earrings: Jennifer Behr | Rentals: The Ark | Cinematography: Hugo Film Co