River and Riley traveled all the way from Michigan to experience Yosemite for the first time ever, and in the most romantic and unique way — for their Taft Point Wedding. And to say their vows looking over Yosemite Valley, from Taft Point.
Like many of our Scenic Vows couples this year, COVID-19 forced these two to postpone their wedding. It was originally scheduled for May. When the park shut down in April, they rescheduled flights, accommodations, car rentals, and wedding permits for August. They then booked a hilltop 1960’s retro-style Airbnb home just outside of Yosemite. With two rustic wooden decks featuring stunning 365° views of the Sierra Nevada foothills (just 30 miles away from Yosemite Valley), this would act as the perfect basecamp for their Yosemite adventure elopement.
Taft Point Wedding First Look
The Scenic Vows team arrived at the Airbnb after Riley and her only two female guests (her sister, Emily, and her brother’s girlfriend, Sophia) had finished hair and makeup done by Meagan Renee. With the epic backdrop of the deck views, we captured a beautiful first look of the madly in love couple. And, of course, their lively and intimate wedding party of five, which also included Riley’s brother, Foster.
If you aren’t familiar with adventure elopement, you may be wondering what the couples wear. The venue may be pretty rugged compared to the traditional wedding. Well, just like a traditional wedding, most of these adventurers do wear a bridal dress and formal suit. That being said, we always encourage our couples to wear whatever makes them feel 100% like them — no matter what. For this particular shoot, Riley had a gorgeous dress from Becker’s Bridal in Michigan. The dress featured an intricate lace overlay and a deep low back. It perfectly accented a delicate tattoo down the back of her spine. The dress trail that cascaded down from the fitted bodice was custom-made to be pinned up in the back so Riley could hike the whole day with ease and comfort.
River and Riley had several unique and personalized items that added a special touch to the first look photos, including a doormat with “Mr. and Mrs. Hyatt” printed on it and “His” and “Hers” leather-bound vow books. We photographed these along with close-ups of their rings and the bride’s bouquet (which she bought on Amazon!).
Wedding Portraits at Yosemite Glacier Point
After the first look photos, we made the drive to Glacier Point. Since River and Riley had never been to Yosemite, we couldn’t wait for them to see Half Dome for the first time. Witnessing their faces as they took in the grandeur of the view was priceless. From Glacier, we drove to the Taft Point Trailhead and started the short 1-mile hike to the point. It was a truly beautiful day, 70 degrees and overcast, which is unheard of for August in Yosemite. The cloudy, overcast sky provided a perfect backdrop and ambiance for some amazing photography.
August Yosemite Sunset Elopement
The ceremony, officiated by Becky, took place at Taft Point, with epic views of Yosemite Valley expanding below us. They each wrote their own vows, which were so sweet and touching that we were all tearing up. After the ceremony, we took celebratory tequila shots and they cut the cake they had brought from Sweet Dreams Cakes and Flowers.
The party of five was a wonderfully lighthearted and energetic group and a lot of fun to share their special day with. They laughed a lot; joking and poking fun at each other. We had the opportunity to get some awesome group photos as well as a bunch of candid shots that will likely be treasured for years to come.
We captured the wedding party amidst a variety of the natural beauty Yosemite has to offer, from the majestic redwoods to the epic cliffs. All of us were in awe over the mellow yellow and orange sunset that appeared underneath the wall of clouds. The newly joined Mr. and Mrs. Hyatt took in the last views of the sunset and prepared for the short hike back.
Adventure elopements can often be pretty unpredictable as we work with many types of weather situations. But River and Riley lucked out with a photographer’s dream natural lighting, the perfect temperature, and the opportunity for a unique and intimate experience to profess their love in the company of loved ones. This was a great day for a Taft Point wedding!
Ready to plan your Yosemite Elopement?
There are plenty of great places to stay in Yosemite, but due to COVID, things are running a bit differently these days. If campgrounds and hotels inside the park are still closed or running at half capacity, there are plenty of other accommodations to choose from. Check our blog post about our favorite Airbnbs in the area, or use the map below!