Carrie + Mike had originally planned a beautiful big wedding in Kalamazoo, Michigan in the January of 2021. Friends and family from across the USA and all over the world were planning on celebrating with them. However with an international travel ban and a limit on numbers for indoor weddings in Michigan it soon became clear that their original plans weren’t going to be able to come to fruition. They were both adamant that they wanted to get married in 2020 and were mulling over the idea of eloping somewhere. C+M asked me where some of the most beautiful places I had photographed were, which got me thinking….
I’ve been lucky enough to work all over the world from South Africa to Spain, all over the UK, the Caribbean even South Korea. Then there’s the numerous places around the USA. All of which are so, so special and beautiful in their own way, but if there was one place that I could never get tired of visiting whether as a tourist or for work it would be Yosemite National Park, in California. I showed C+M pictures from a previous wedding I had shot at Yosemite. That was all the convincing they needed, so before I knew it I was on a flight to Fresno where a true wedding adventure was about to begin.
The day prior to C+M’s wedding I spent in the park scouting out locations for their sunrise first look (more of that in a minute), wedding site and locations for their sunset photoshoot. That’s right, we did pictures from sunrise to sunset. I know that sounds like a lot, but if you’ve travelled this far and are in one of the most beautiful places on earth why wouldn’t you? Personally I love it. I get to combine some of my favorite things; taking pictures, hiking and spending time with two lovely people.
We decided that we would do the first look in the El Capitan Meadow, just at the moment of day break, as the light snuck over the mountain tops. It was worth the 4am wake up and 1.5 hour drive through the winding valley. I love how C+M’s first look turned out. Yes the light was incredible and the scenery out of this world, but the outpouring of emotion from the two of them was beautiful and real. The realisation that they had finally made it to this point after so much uncertainty brought a tear to all of our eyes!
From here the rest of the day was a whirlwind. We warmed up with coffee and cookies and embarked on the hour drive to Glacier Point. It’s at Glacier Point where Carrie + Mike said their ‘I dos ,’ surrounded by close family and friends with The Half Dome as their altar. After the ceremony we pic-nicked, popped some bubbly, took in the stunning scenery and recharged our batteries for the last hurrah that was the hike to Taft Point.
It’s at Taft Point where our photography dreams were realized. It’s one of those truly iconic locations that I have dreamt about photographic ever since I started photographing weddings, many moons ago. It didn’t disappoint. Capturing Carrie + Mike on the edge of Taft Point, as the sun was setting in all its glory was truly one of those heart in mouth moments that I will never forget.
We stayed to watch the sun set before hiking back to the car in the dark. The drive out of the park was quiet. C+M dozed in the backseat and I reflected on how lucky I was to have this as my job; photographing people at their best in one of the most beautiful places on earth. It has me wanting to go back and do it again and again and again.
If you are considering an elopement or an adventure wedding either in Michigan or further afield get in touch! I’d love to help you plan and be there to photograph it!