Adventurous Yosemite National Park Elopement
Adventurous Sunrise Elopement in Yosemite
Gina and Charlie took a trip to Yosemite a little over 5 years ago. That was their last big trip together before Charlie went into the Naval Academy. Shortly after his graduation, they returned to Yosemite with us for their elopement. From their sunrise session in matching Yosemite sweaters, to spending sunset at Glacier Point—these two were absolutely up for anything. They wanted to get married, spend time with family, and explore Yosemite for the day with us.
Leading up to their elopement, Yosemite weather was quite unpredictable. Glacier Point Road had been closed. Then it opened again (even though the Taft Point trail was still snow packed). For us, it was an absolutely stunning day. Fog hugged the massive cliff faces surrounding us, and as the day progressed, our worries of a storm disappeared with clear blue skies.
Getting ready in Moonbeam (our van) + a precious first look
We have offered our van as a “changing room” many times. But few people have gotten as much use out of our van as these two. After making sure our “second home” was cute and clean—Gina and Charlie changed for their first look in our van down at Cathedral Beach. We put on some quiet music and had the two of them meet for the first look in the woods. Charlie was blown away, and they shared an intimate moment alone together before their ceremony.
Like Yosemite Elopements? Check out this amazing Glacier Point Sunrise Elopement too!
Cathedral Beach Ceremony
The two of them decided to walk down their pebble aisle together, hand in hand. Where Gina’s parents and sisters waited for them. Candice read the sweetest vows that incredibly fit Gina and Charlie’s relationship. We had the beach to ourselves in the early morning light, and while music played softly in the background, they had their first kiss in front of the beautiful and overwhelming granite face of El Cap.
Having such an intimate ceremony was really special for them (and for us). No expectations or traditions to follow—they did it exactly how they wanted. Being able to turn and deeply embrace those closest to you after your vows and first kiss—it’s just a level of celebration, love, and joy that is spectacular to witness.
Want to see more Cathedral Beach Elopement? We have another right here!
Traditions - both old and new
As non-traditional as elopements can be, the day is meant to reflect you and your values. Even for our own elopement (planning in progress), we’re totally embracing a few traditional details that we love. Gina and Charlie decided to dress in traditional Korean outfits after their ceremony for a few more photos. These outfits were handmade and hand dyed, with Gina's gown being a more modern design.
In Korean culture, it is tradition to wear your hair up when you wear this outfit and are also married. It was beautiful to see Gina’s mom and sister put her hair up, in a way that was far more meaningful than it might seem to others outside of the Korean culture. We were happy to see the details and deliberate traditions brought into their special day.
Valley Floor - a peaceful meadow
We headed down to watch the sunset from a meadow, where it was a much quieter reflection of their day together. Besides the shouting in excitement - WE’RE MARRIED! - and literally tearing off a part of her dress (on purpose).
Something that we’ve been really trying to help couples do with elopements and intimate weddings—is to slow down, be mindful, and really reflect on your day—even in the moment. That reflection with one another is an emotionally profound thing to do, and we feel it better cements the experience and love shared throughout the entire day.
Gina and Charlie sat on a log, watching the sunset, while we gave them space to enjoy the final moments of their special day together.
Gina and Charlie were such kind and appreciate people to us—and it even was reflected with Gina’s parents. A few weeks before their elopement, they reached out to us to gift her parents a session with us in appreciation of their support. It was such a sweet thing to do, and also gave all of us an opportunity to spend a few hours the following evening for a day after session up at Glacier Point.
Champagne was popped, and if you’re a fan of How I Met Your Mother—they even brought a yellow umbrella! (we also made sure to collect the champagne cork off the ground!)
These two, and their family, were a dream to work with. They were so flexible, embraced the changing weather of Yosemite—and truly experienced Yosemite in a mindful way. Shooting such intimate elopements like this are overwhelmingly special for us. We get to know you incredibly well—but also the people that support and love you. That’s such a precious thing to us.
These two are now in the process of moving to Florida—and we wish them the best of luck in their new commitment to each other—and their new start in the sunshine state.