For Blessy & Colin, their elopement was nothing short of completely magical, as they combined their love of nature with their own love story. To honor their love of nature and camping, Blessy and Colin chose the breathtaking location of Half Dome in Yosemite Park for their adventurous backpacking journey. Though Blessy and Colin had planned their elopement in advance, nothing could prepare us for what was in store for this truly unique session.
The hike itself was quite the experience; I had never been backpacking before and this was a welcome challenge! When I am in nature, I feel incredibly lucky and happy, and have become a true fan of exploring the beauty of the wilderness in California. For this session, we carried all the photo and video equipment and the couple packed their wedding attire with all the backpacking gear up the mountain to document this magical elopement! This hike, though difficult, represents the journey Blessy and Colin have traveled to reach this moment, and symbolizes that they will endure any length to be together. Five miles of ups, downs, and switchbacks later, Half Dome greeted us along with the specular view of the valley stretching out in front of us.
Mother Nature is a force to be reckoned with, and this trip was no exception. Once we reached the summit we planned to have the first look at sunset with Half Dome as a backdrop. Despite the scorching hot temperature, we were so excited! However, nature had a little change of plans, as a distant storm began rolling in. Just as we finished setting up the campsite, the sky darkened, the wind began howling, and the sunlight faded from the sky. We thought we had to ditch our plan and we hunkered down in our camping tents to ride out the storm. However, all of a sudden, the wind stopped and we popped our heads out, immediately seeing a gorgeous ray of sunshine lighting up Half Dome. Yosemite provided the perfect golden hour for their first look and first dance as the sun went down.
Yosemite in its raw beauty is certainly a wonder to behold, and a challenge with the weather, sending us on an emotional roller coaster with every mood swing that came. “It took 4 natural disasters but look where we are,” declared Colin as we captured shots of the couple against the orangle glow of the sunset. Mother Nature showed us a true miracle – a golden and hazy sunset that perfectly set the mood for this truly spectacular location. To top off the evening, we sat on a big boulder on the cliff watching the sun sink beneath the horizon, enjoying our freeze-dried dinner.
Once the new moonlight shone bright, we tried some unique shots in the dark, highlighting the couple’s features with the moon illuminating behind them. We had to wake up pretty early for these shots, but the results were so worth it! At sunrise that morning we had another small session of the bride in her gown and some individual shots in the forest. Afterwards, we started our journey back down the mountain to reach the valet where close family and friends waited to celebrate with the joyful couple with a day of relaxing and connecting at an Airbnb outside the park. Within our time with the couple we were able to get different times of day, including before and after the storm, sunset, night, and sunrise.
The following day, our third day in this exciting expedition, was the official ceremony held in the Cathedral Picnic Area, located in the valley. We obtained a permit for early in the morning at a river bank with famous El Capitan framing the background. Surrounded by evergreen trees, a small running river, and their friends and family, Blessy and Colin recited their emotional vows. We got group and individual pictures with the family and ended this wonderful day with the newlyweds showered with bubbles, pure joy radiating off their faces.
Getting to do such an intimate session with this elopement has been such a rewarding and genuine experience, both for me, Blessy, and Colin. Seeing the carefree joy and love these two share in such a private setting is truly beautiful.
This has been one of the most challenging but the best elopement I’ve ever done yet! This whole experience has been so transformational for me and has really helped me realize what it means to celebrate a couple who has made the courageous choice to elope. Having such beautifully wild scenery created such intimate and once-in-a-lifetime moments that I am so excited to share.
Thank you so much, Blessy & Colin, for inviting me to witness this amazing journey. I can’t wait to share all the magical moments in nature!