I was SO excited to shoot Max and Madison’s intimate elopement in Yosemite National Park for my friend Nicola at Nicola Leigh Photography. I did their engagement session with them at Del Valle Regional Park back in June 2021 – you can check that out here if you want! We had so much fun at their engagement session and I just knew their wedding day was going to be a blast!
As I was making my way to Yosemite the day before Max and Madison’s elopement, it was SO smoky out and it got dark so early because the sun could barely make it through the smoke. Fire season in California has been out of control these past few years. I was so nervous that it was going to be super smokey the next day but ended up being so clear and beautiful!
We had an early start the next day with a 5:30am wake up call for me. I put on my clothes and topped off my outfit with my Patagonia puff jacket and my Merrell hiking boots and walked through the dark to find Madison’s cabin.
Once everyone was ready, we all made our way to Cathedral Beach for the ceremony. A 7am ceremony may sound insane but nothing could beat the view of El Capitan from Cathedral Beach as the sun started to come up into the valley. It was a small, intimate ceremony with just a few of Max and Madison’s closest friends and family – well worth the early wake up.
After the ceremony, everyone bundled up and enjoyed a light brunch at the picnic tables before we went back out into the sunshine to pop some champagne. I’m OBSESSED with this group champagne pop. Max killed it – this is the best champagne pop ever. After the champagne pop, the group headed back to the cabins to change while Max, Madison and I drove around the valley floor for a few more portraits of just the two of them. Literally every corner of Yosemite is stunning, it was so much fun.
They had reservations at The Ahwahnee later in the evening but in the meantime, everyone changed into activewear and rode bikes and picnicked around the valley. I LOVE hiking and really wanted to go for a quick hike but it was a bit too warm out and I didn’t want to exhaust myself, so I grabbed a small pizza and headed to a meadow, enjoyed the views and took a nap before heading back to my cabin to change for the evening.
This was such a fun day and I’m so glad I got to help capture it and be a part of it. I literally felt like I was a family member by the end of the day. Wedding days like this are my favorite because they’re so intentional 🙂