I want to start this blog post by saying that you do not need to hike miles and miles to have an adventure elopement. This story is about a couple that did, but if you’re not necessarily hiking on your elopement day, it does not mean you’re not adventurous.
Adventure can be anything. Anything that makes you feel alive, happy, and at peace.
OK, now on to this story!
A+R did not settle for one day of celebrations. Instead, they had two epic days in Yosemite National Park! The first day started with both of them getting ready at Tenaya Lodge with their families. Then we all headed to their ceremony location to find the perfect little corner away from people so they could have an intimate ceremony.
They were surrounded by immediate family, and most of them had never been to Yosemite before. Ryan’s mom kept saying “I’m in awe”.
Later, talking to Alyssa & Ryan, they said one of the reasons they decided to have a destination elopement – all the way from Milwaukee – was so their families could experience the joy they felt when they visited Yosemite for the first time.
We took family photos, hang out for a little while, and then we went off to shoot in other parts of the Park. Then we made it just in time for their reception at Tenaya Lodge. “The day was so perfect”, they kept saying.
And that’s when we’ll usually say “bye” and get super sad. But it wasn’t the case this time! This time we said, “see you tomorrow – bring water!”.
The Adventure Elopement – Hiking Above Yosemite Valley
We met up the next day late afternoon and began the ascend to a sweet view we found a couple of months ago while location scouting for this.
The hike wasn’t long, but it was STEEP! 1,000 ft + of elevation gain in just 1 mile. Luckily, we were in the shade the whole time, and we had plenty of water!
Arriving at the spot we already knew we had been worth it. We were the only people there for hours. There were a couple of hikers powering their way down, but that’s about it.
The 4 of us watched the last light of the day disappear on Half Dome and then started heading down. Arriving at the pitch-black parking lot, we said our “goodbyes” and demanded they’d come back to Yosemite.
Honestly, those two days left us on such a high, that it became hard to believe this was our job.
As we drove out of the Park we saw little lights on El Cap. Climbers spending the night make El Cap look even prettier if that’s possible. We thought, “Yosemite is crazy, our life is crazy, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Should you have a multi-day elopement?
The answer is – it depends!
A lot of couples choose to have a fun, adventurous session the day after the wedding so they don’t feel rushed on their actual wedding day.
This works especially well when you have a couple of guests with you. Sometimes all you want to do is spend time with them, hang out, and relax, without feeling like you’re missing out on taking pictures in other places in the Park.
Now should you hike? It also depends! If you’re up for it, and you love hiking, then I’d say yes!
Hiking up a few miles, off the beaten path, allows us to find epic views, and even better – have privacy!
If you don’t want to read your personal vows in front of your guests, you could even use the next-day adventure session for that purpose. Just the two of you and the views.
The beauty of eloping is having the freedom to do the things that are important to you.
So make your day how you want it to be. Plan for what will make you happy. It’s your day!