January is almost over and I’m just now getting to my Best of 2017 blog. I just kept procrastinating because I had to choose seventeen really special moments and there were literally hundreds over the past year. It’s been a crazy whirlwind. We’ve photographed weddings at a beautiful, luxurious Northern California winery, and a rustic yet elegant camp ground.

My baby, the Yosemite Elopement Guide, has been incredibly successful, helping hundreds of brides find information, photos, tons of free tips, important links and forms, and much more information about eloping in Yosemite. We launched our new Luxury Yosemite Elopement Pricing on January 1st, and it has also been a huge success.

It’s been an incredible year, thanks to our amazing clients! Here are seventeen very special moments from our clients in 2017. If you want to see how it went down, keep reading!

1. Chanda’s Microwave Explosion wedding vows

Chanda and Nate’s ceremony was in the Camp Blue amphitheater, which was strangely appropriate because it felt like a show. Here were stories and reading, taking us from tears to laughter and back again. My favorite moment of the day is when Chanda told the story of the first time Nate hung out with her and her roommates. They were having dinner at Chanda’s place, and they asked Nate to bring a simple salad as his contribution. Of course, he brought an elaborate, super-fancy salad, and he still needed to make his special duck fat dressing. He mixed all the ingredients and put it in the microwave. Then BAM! It exploded all over their kitchen! Everyone laughed hysterically. Nate fit right in.

 

2. When Tom’s emotional gates burst

After Emily and Tom’s ceremony, they ducked away in the sun room. The moment Tom’s daughter came into his view, his subtle tears broke through into legit crying. He had never seen her with makeup on, dressed like a young lady. Then he couldn’t stop crying, which made him laugh, which made all of us laugh. It was precious.

 

3. Sharice & Kyle’s fun family photos

I love working with blended families! As I worked with Sharice and her kids, with their new step dad Kyle, I saw the love he had for these children. He had been their father for a while already. This day just made it official. This little family is so happy together, and now they are growing. They’re expecting a new addition! Sharice is going to have a baby, and everyone is thrilled!

 

 

4. Linda and Joshua’s first moments as man and wife

This is the only moment I chose that was actually ONE moment. After their ceremony, Linda and Joshua danced up the aisle and ducked into this covered porch. As soon as they were out of sight, they took a breath and looked at each other like this. I don’t think I need to say more.

5. Erica and Ryan’s First Look

Erica and Ryan were beyond excited about getting married in Yosemite. They stayed at Evergreen Lodge, so we did their First Look there. They were both grinning ear to ear, and I knew it was going to be a really fun day. I was right, it was incredible, and the couple had a fantastic time.

 

6. Scott’s daughter sang to them!

Scott and Kara’s wedding was a family affair, full of joy and friendship. Scott’s very talented daughter sang an original, beautiful song she wrote for her husband, as well as a special song for her father. Scott was so proud, urging me to take some good pictures of his daughter singing, his face beaming. It was clear he is infinitely proud of her, and for good reason. She’s a professional musician and her voice is GORGEOUS! I will definitely see her band play next time I’m in their area.

 

7. Diana and Tim’s families surrounded them to take pictures

My favorite thing about Diana and Tim’s Yosemite wedding was how excited their family was for them. This photo was taken right after their First Look, when I gave them a few minutes to pose for their loved ones. I’d never seen such excitement! They were THRILLED that this sweet couple was getting hitched!

 

8. Heather’s daughter helps lace up the bridal gown

There is nothing more special than the relationship between a parent and a child. Heather and Steve’s wedding included Heather’s daughter and Steve’s son, and it is beautiful to see how much they all love each other. Heather’s beautiful little daughter helped her get ready, working on the laces of this corset dress. I just loved that. These are images Heather will chose for her daughter’s wedding slideshow when she grows up and has her own wedding.

 

9. Bryan encircles Meadow in his arms, just as she’s starting to lose it

When I posted this photo to Instagram, Meadow said she almost lost it. She remembered the feeling she had during those moments, their first dance as man and wife. Meadow and Brian had a sweet, fun little brunch wedding in a friend’s backyard, and it was perfect. Brian’s son stood up as Best Man, and this little family was thrilled to be official. During the first dance, I noticed Meadow getting emotional. This was the moment. THE moment. She was starting to break down in tears, her emotions spilling over. Brian put his hand on the back of her neck, said “shhh” and brought her into his arms. It was beautiful, probably my favorite moment from 2017.

 

10. Kaitlyn’s brother walks her down the aisle

Kaitlyn and Julian’s wedding at Viaggio Winery was luxurious, elegant, and overall amazing. Sadly, Kaitlyn’s father passed away several years ago, so he wasn’t able to walk her down the aisle. She attached a photo of him to her flowers, so he could walk down the aisle with her. Her brother, who she’s always been close to, stepped up and walked his gorgeous sister down the aisle.

Mark took the photo above, and it’s one of my fave images from the day. Good job, Mark! (I taught him everything he knows.)

 

11. Katie’s dad gives a very revealing speech

Katie and Zac’s spring wedding was AMAZING! Gorgeous details, beautiful couple, fun bridal party, impressive reception. But my fave moment is when Katie’s dad got up to give a speech. When Katie was two years old, they had a bunch of family over at their house. The women went shopping, and they left the kids with the men, who stayed behind to BBQ. Katie was running around in just a diaper, so cute, and she got totally dirty while she was playing. So what does dad do? He hoses her off in the backyard. Hilarious.

 

12. When Cody broke out in spontaneous dance

When I met Amelia and Cody, I was pleasantly shocked. I know, that sounds weird. When they booked their Yosemite elopement with me, and we connected on social media, I saw two strikingly gorgeous people who didn’t even look real. Amelia even does some modeling on the side. When I learned that Cody is a lawyer and Amelia works for the government in some highly intellectual job I don’t even understand, I expected to have somewhat serious professionals as clients. Throughout the day, as I got to know them, I learned just how cool and real they are. My favorite thing about them is how hilarious they are and how much they love to laugh. Like when Cody just randomly broke out into a goofy dance on the Sentinel boardwalk. (I wonder what those people in the background were thinking…) I laughed so much that day, and had so much fun.

 

13. When Megan and Colby gave me a teeny tiny heart attack

Megan and Colby chose Yosemite as their elopement destination because they are both avid climbers. They even climbed the side of Half Dome the day after their elopement. Mark was with me in Yosemite that day, and when he heard they were climbers, he immediately told them they had to pose on the Diving Board, and they were all for it. Not only is this out of bounds and illegal, but it’s a 3,412-foot drop to the valley floor. I’ve never been so freaked out at a shoot. And I’d never shot so fast in my life. It was so scary that I kept having to look away for a few seconds so I could breathe. I turned around to see I was surrounded by tourists with cameras! They were all jabbering “What are they doing?!” “Oh my god!” “That’s amazing!” “Holy crap!” etc. Then we got busted by a ranger, so to read the full story, go check out their blog.

 

14. Michelle’s son posing like a gangsta’

Michelle and Dean included their son Severi in their gorgeous wedding at Leal Vineyards. This little cutie is SO full of energy, and just wanted to play with his cousins. He did pretty well with the photos, until he saw someone he wanted to play with. It was really cute, and I got quite a few funny photos of him running away from the bridal party. This is my favorite moment of the day because we were having such a great time taking pictures. We all begged him to please let us take more pictures of him because he was so cute. When I asked him to strike a pose, this is what he did, and all the adults cracked up.

 

15. Megan and David’s vow and ring exchange under a tree in a meadow

Megan and David wanted a simple, romantic ceremony in Yosemite. “Somewhere under a tree” is what they requested as a spot. As we were driving around, exploring for portrait spots, I saw how beautiful the golden light was as it hit these trees, and I pulled over. When we got to the spot, David looked at Megan and said, “This is kind of perfect, right?” This whole ceremony was just a great collection of precious moments. It was a whole five minutes, and the couple exchanged vows about their incredible adventures and how they’re best friends. It was simply beautiful.

 

 

16. Jamie and Brent’s secret Yosemite ceremony, surrounded by mist

Jamie and Brent took off to secretly elope in Yosemite, just the two of them. It was pretty cool, because I was the only one who knew! (I love secrets. They make me feel powerful.)  They elected to do a civil ceremony to be legally married back home, then do their vows and ring exchange at Glacier Point in Yosemite. I chose this spot for their ceremony because it was fairly private, and it had a gorgeous view of Half Dome. As they exchanged vows and the mist rolled in over Half Dome, it was a magical moment. So peaceful and serene, romantic… I couldn’t hear what they were saying, and it was almost silent.

Then I got closer, and at the end of their vows, it was sweet to see them wiping away their tears of joy.

 

17. The elopement from hell that started it all!

Even though Jessica and Taylor’s Yosemite elopement was a total disaster (you have to read about me repeatedly puking in the Behind the Scenes blog), it’s really special to me because they were the first couple to ever book off my Yosemite Elopement Guide! It was an adventure of the day with this sweet, sweet couple. I can’t believe how far I’ve come since then! No more disasters! I’ve continued to learn from each Yosemite elopement, and I’m so grateful to all of my amazing Yosemite brides!

More gorgeousness!