Lily and KJ made the most of their weekend Yosemite elopement. Their ceremony was in the valley at Cathedral Beach and we met again the next morning for sunrise at Glacier Point. These two climbers have been coming to Yosemite for years and it was beautiful to see them explore one of their favorite places on earth at the start of their marriage.
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Yosemite Elopement at Cathedral Beach
Like the name implies, Cathedral Beach feels like the entrance to an ancient great cathedral, but somehow even more grand. There is no roof, the walls are pocked granite, and the only gods being worshiped here are the kind who climb. World famous El Capitan stands tall in the background of the banks of the Merced River. It was here that Lily and KJ had their first look. They embraced, and kicked off one of the most rad elopement weekend imaginable! Standing for a moment alone, they soaked in the grandeur of the renowned granite walls behind them. It’s moments like these that we feel honored to witness the marriage of our couples, especially in places they love and admire as deeply as Lily and KJ do Yosemite.
Want to see more photos from Yosemite? Check out this Yosemite National Park elopement!
Lily’s father walked her down the sandy banks of the Merced to join KJ. With the granite walls of Yosemite valley as their witnesses, Lily and KJ were married. Their ceremony vows were sweet and personal. Lily laughed and cried and couldn’t stop smiling. To celebrate the newlyweds, their family surrounded them to toast to the future. After taking group photos in front of El Cap, Lily and KJ headed up to Taft Point to watch the sunset.
Sunset at Taft Point
On the way to Taft Point, we pulled over at an overlook featuring Half Dome peaking through from the other end of Yosemite Valley. Lily and KJ stood arms wide taking in the grandeur before them, and the ceremony now behind them. Their Yosemite elopement dreams had come true! A short hike, broken by sunbeams poking holes in the forest canopy, opened up to a view of Yosemite in the setting sun. The Taft Point overlook is best known for the view of a granite rock jutting out over a sheer drop to the valley floor. It’s the image you’ll get wobbly knees even thinking of. Lily and KJ walked right up to the edge and sat down.
Want to see another sunset in Yosemite? Check out the images from this elopement and Taft Point sunset!
Trying to capture the greatness of Yosemite’s valley has been a goal of photographers for a century. Ansel Adams was featured many times for his images of Half Dome and El Cap, and those of us who have followed the greats to these places will admit no photo can do justice. But, we will keep trying. The evening we took these photos of Lily and KJ was clear and beautiful, and the colors warmed everything they touched. We didn’t leave the overlook until it was dark and we all donned headlamps to head back down. We met again for sunrise the next morning at Glacier Point.
Day After Session for Sunrise at Glacier Point
Day after sessions are special because the initial bursts of ceremony energy have faded into a buzz that will sustain the newlyweds through whatever transition they go through entering marriage. “I can’t believe we are married,” is something we’ve heard repeated many times following an elopement ceremony. The excitement stitched into each word makes us smile. For Lily and KJ, this sunrise session was an opportunity to look out upon their favorite granite walls and revel in their commitment.
In the predawn light, Lily held on tight to KJ as they watched Half Dome become brighter. When the sun rays peaked over the valley, they began walking down the winding road. KJ likes to skateboard, and we happened to pass some skaters who let him borrow a board for a photo. We ended the elopement weekend at another overlook, nearly as high as Taft Point. The rising sun was at the perfect height to create star beams below the rocks they stood on. Lily and KJ began their marriage in a place they already shared many memories, and this Yosemite elopement will definitely be one we always remember.