Well i really hate to choose favorites but this wedding is my favorite, all around. I met Abby and Pat August of 2017 at their airbnb in Yosemite West. Me and Abby had been chatting through email prior to their wedding day and she shared so many details about her, Pat, their life and their dream for a wedding in Yosemite. When my clients open up to me and let me in makes it that much more sweeter when I get to actually meet them. It also takes the edge off, a little :). Needles to say I was excited to meet such down to earth people and see what Abby created for their wedding day. Its no joke that its busy in Yosemite and finding accommodations in the park can be tricky. Well they scored a large place in Yosemite West where a majority of their family and friends could stay. Pat got ready in the main living area and Abby got ready with her mom and sis in the bedroom. Abby did all her own make up and hair while her mom ironed her dress and other dresses. Meanwhile Pat and his friend Jeff played pool and casually got ready.
We did a first look, as the day was going to be very casual and getting formals done before the ceremony meant we could head to the beach sooner. I found this beautiful juniper tree not too far from their airbnb. Abby put on her walking shoes and carried her heals up a short little hill while Pat lead the way. I captured some quick portraits then set them in to place. Abby tapped Pats shoulder so gently and looked at him with eyes any woman in love would give. Pat slowly turned around, expressing all the nerves in his body language. Soon they melted into each others arms and laughed and gazed and grab some ass. We made our way down the hill and jumped in the car for our decent into the valley. But not without first stopping at the famous tunnel view. The ever so crowded Tunnel View. Luckily for us people herded to one spot while we walked down a bit. It was smokey this day. It seems there has been fires in and around Yosemite every year for a few years now. Yeah, talk about stressful for a bride when she lives states away and hears that Yosemite is on fire. I always assure my clients that it will be ok and stop watching the news. I personally like the smoke. Anywho, we had some smoke in the photos, adding another layer :). The grass was still green and the waterfalls were still flowing. Beautiful, as always. Not matter the season or Mother Natures mood it is always beautiful in the park. Sometimes you have to open your eyes to the little things.
We made it to the Chapel! Kids were running around, deer were grazing and family were gathering. It was so sweet! The family, a musical family, surprised Abby and Pat with a song by the Dixie Cups, Chapel Of Love. Since everyone was there we decided to get most the family photos done before the ceremony. It’s a beautiful backdrop with Yosemite Falls. I just have to wait for the cars to pass, or spend mucho hours photoshopping them out. The Green Dragon ( a tour bus us park kids renamed) drove by and gave them some blessings. 99% of the time the guest on the Green Dragon will yell congrats. And well wrangling the kids were like herding cats, which was hilarious! It truly was so fun to gather in front of the chapel :).
Yosemite Chapel… It is full of history, blessed by many and blessed many. If you see a man reading a train magazine, wearing socks with tevas and the most relaxed vibe ever then you’re looking at Brent Moore. This is the guy who opens the chapel for you, keeps the tourist out of the chapel during your ceremony, and caretaker for this special space. He has been in Yosemite for years. He knows my folks and probably saw me running around the valley when i was a kid. The inside of the chapel hasn’t changed much since i was kid. Maybe some fresh paint and new light bulbs. I’m not sure if you can deck it out with wedding decorations, I’ve never seen that. But then again I guess thats not the most important part of getting married in the Chapel. Abby and Pats had a more folksy than formal Catholic Mass led by their good family friend, Fr. Chris Singer. Jeff and Abbys sister, Jessie, were their wedding party and also were the ones playing music during the ceremony. If i could give one piece of advice to anyone getting married it would be do what you want. You don’t have to do it the traditional way or the way you see others doing it. Back to the chapel, once you walk down the aisle after being wed you’ll be the one to ring the bell that sends a beautiful sound in the valley. I love it when im in in the valley, not working, and hear that sound. Love is in the air 🙂
A quick gathering and some more formals followed the ceremony then the family loaded up in the charter services van, SMART! If you have a small group on your wedding day i highly suggest hiring a transportation service for many many many reason. While they went to the beach me and the newly weds went on our own way for some more formals. Abby had a knee length dress and well who wouldn’t want to get a little wet in Iron Creek? It was a private location and beautiful, something I aim for with all my couples. We made it fast and headed to meet everyone for lunch.
We arrive to the kids in bathing suits, sandals on feet, appetizers and cool drinks provided by the great Willow Creek Catering and tourist. Ha, no you cant get away from the crowds at this location, in the summer. embrace it :).
We ate good food, popped a few bottles, heard a great best man speech, looked for climbers on El Cap, got dirty, put our feet in the water and laughed. It was such a relaxed day with Abby and Pats family. All very kind and fun loving people. My heart place grew a bit more after meeting everyone.
“Pat and I met by playing music together… I’m a fiddle player, and he’s a guitar player. Music is at the heart of our lives, ever since we both were kids. ” – Abby
But thats not all! I had packed my gear up and changed into some relaxed clothes as I was going to go enjoy summer in Yosemite after this elopement. I looked down at the family and noticed Jeff, Pat and Abby getting ready to play music! They are all very talented musicians and blessed everyone with a few songs. I had the chills. I felt the weather on my skin, i heard the tunes, i noticed all the body language and I thanked God for giving me yet another amazing feeling and memory in Yosemite. We are all beautiful and bring something special to this life. Yosemite is packed full of people, at times annoying, but also beautiful when you see what some people bring to an already beautiful place.
Ceremony location: Yosemite Valley Chapel
Reception location: Sentinel Beach
Catering: Willow Creek Catering
Florals: Sweet Dreams Cake and Flowers
Charter Service: The Mother Load Adventures
Accommodations: Cubs Cabin, Yosemite West
Photographer: Kate Michelle Photography
Her wedding ring:
Engagement ring- Brilliant Earth
Band- Rutledge Jewelers on Etsy
His wedding ring: MistyMountainForge on Etsy