Yosemite National Park, Californiathe hearnes » adventure elopement photographerskit + brad's elopement in yosemite | adventure wedding at taft point | national park elopement photographer
After e-mailing back and forth for months to plan their elopement, when I finally met Kit she got teary-eyed and hugged me for a solid two minutes. I think that’s probably the best way to explain the kind of person she is, but if you need more evidence for how loving and caring she can be, I’ll also mention that she hand sewed us a quilt as a thank you gift. She’s truly one of the best. Rewind a few months though, when Kit first reached out to me about eloping to her fiancé, Brad, it was clearly a bit on a whim. They’d never been to Yosemite, and had never considered an adventure elopement, but when pursuing wedding ideas on The Knot, she came across some of my photos of an elopement on Taft Point up high above Yosemite Valley, and she said to herself…“I want to do that.” As someone who had called off two weddings in her lifetime (her friends call her the Runaway Bride!), the idea of skipping the big fan-fare and hiking into the wilderness together felt right. They clicked through our portfolio together and Brad was on board. I knew I loved Kit from our initial phone call, and I especially loved how obviously she’d surprised herself by going for such a wedding plan! She made comments like “what kind of 47-year-old woman does this?!” to which I responded “the kind I want to be friends with!”
Growing up in the same town, they’d know each other since high school days, but they were 5 years apart so Brad says he “wouldn’t have dated her back then” :) but fate brought them together seven years ago, through a facebook post asking a favor, and an exchange of numbers. The favor ended up being unneeded, but they opted for a date instead. According to Kit, “We are simply good for each other. We balance each other…We both feel like the lucky one in the relationship.” After spending the day with them for their elopement, I have to add they’re absolutely hilarious together. Despite both of them wondering how they’d enjoy 4 hours of photos (I’m pretty sure all of our couples wonder this until they meet us!), they had each other laughing the whole time, which obviously makes amazing photos!! Their ceremony was so beautifully touching, with Sharon of Inner Light Ceremonies, taking the time to learn their story and detail so much about them. We finished the day with a stunning sunset and some delicious Bourbon compliments of fellow hikers! It was beautiful, and honestly sad to say goodbye when we got back to the cars. These two are some of the best around and we feel so lucky to have been a part of their elopement day!
Yosemite National Park, Californiathe hearnes » adventure elopement photographersginger + zach's destination wedding portrait session | adventure elopement photographer
It’s not often that Yosemite is the *local* portion of your elopement, but this was the case with Ginger and Zach! They actually chose to elope in Spain with their closest friends and family, but because Yosemite meant so much to them, they did their wedding portraits with us in the park before leaving for Spain! Ginger and Zach went to high school together in a little mountain town in California, but didn’t officially meet until they were in college on a camping trip to, you guessed it, Yosemite! His group of friends did an annual camping trip every year, and when a mutual friend invited Ginger along, she and Zach hit it off right away. She’s joined on every camping trip since, going to amazing National Parks in California, Utah, and Arizona including Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Sequoia National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, and Kings Canyon National Park! This year, the annual trip is to Spain for their elopement. How amazing is that? Ginger and Zach love to travel together, and even spent last Christmas in Norway, Sweden and Denmark. They’re always planning the next trip, and when we hung out for their portrait session we all discussed multiple destinations to head to next! Ginger said their friends would describe them as “adventurous homebodies” and I don’t think I’ve ever related more.
We met up for their session at the trailhead and hiked through the woods together soaking in the giant moss-covered trees and gorgeous ferns all over the ground. Once we made it out to the overlook, the sun was shining and making the most beautiful hazy light behind them. We all danced around the overlook until the sun went down behind the mountains. It was one of the most beautiful sunsets with a soft breeze and perfect temps. We all watched the sky change colors before everything turned blue, and we hiked back through the woods with our headlamps (and phone lights!) and made it to the parking lot just as it was getting to be pitch black. We loved hanging out with these two and feel like we’ve made two new friends. I am sure our adventures will cross paths again, whether its in Yosemite, elsewhere in California, or somewhere around the world!
Moab, Utahthe hearnes » adventure elopement photographersfamily session in the desert near moab, utah with Keith and Brianna Madia and the dogs, Bucket and Dagwood
Making friends when you live on the road is weird. You’re constantly moving, so you don’t have any neighbors but in a way, you have new neighbors every night. You might make some great new friends in a place, bond for a few hours, days, or weeks, and then pick up and move and not see them again for months or years. If you both live on the road full time, good luck. You’ll likely see each other even less unless you get lucky and your circuits match up. It’s very strange, but thankfully social media is a great way to stay connected and maintain (or even grow!) those friendships from afar. Brianna and Keith are fellow van dwellers. My text thread with Bri is a lot of “will you be in XX on these dates?” “No, but will you be around this month?” “How do you feel about driving to XX this weekend to hang out?” and then the wonderful “We decided to come down to XX for a few days to hang while you’re there, let’s play!!” (and also a lot of gifs, screenshots of the silly messages we get, and photos of our dogs doing dumb things). The point being…when our schedules DO align and we DO get to hang out, it’s the best thing ever.
This particular day was perfect timing. I was feeling a little bummed out from some dumb social media stuff, and Bri had just fled a favorite desert area because it was too crowded that weekend, and the boys were itching for some silly desert climbing adventures. So we parked the vans on the side of a canyon road the boys ran up a tower while the dogs ran circles and Bri + I ran our mouths with the help of some cheap wine. We sat in the little creek in the sun talking about everything from deep life choices to shallow social media frustrations. It felt therapeutic in a way I haven’t experienced in a while, mostly because Bri has a way of bringing the best out of you, and not judging you when the worst comes out along side it ;)
We ended the evening at one of our favorite overlooks and took a few photos of their sweet family and their metal matriarch, Bertha. If you’ve been following Bri (side note, if not, go do that right now) you know Bertha has a new engine, so we dubbed these photos “new year, new bertha” even though this orange hunk is older than I am. The day was full of belly laughs and deep-heart conversations, and an adventurous tower top-out for our guys, and as we waved the orange van off back to their desert home, I was a little sad, but mostly filled up and thankful for the 24 hours that our lives lined up and allowed us to share the road for a bit.
Yosemite National Park, Californiathe hearnes » adventure elopement photographerssamantha + ben's elopement in yosemite valley | adventure wedding portraits at glacier point | national park elopement photographer
These two are some of the best people around. Samantha and Ben met in highschool, but started dating in college and have been in love ever since! They love to travel together and pretty soon after getting engaged decided they’d rather skip the big stressful wedding day and just elope in Yosemite National Park sight unseen. They had always wanted to see Yosemite, so it felt like the right choice for their elopement. They drove all the way from their home in Missouri and made it to the valley a few days early to adventure and hike around the park before their wedding!
We met up with them for some portraits along the Merced river, then we met up with their officiant and wandered into El Cap meadow for their ceremony. It was so relaxed, especially since they only had to worry about themselves and no guests! We picked a spot under a giant tree with El Cap looming over them and they exchanged their vows in the quiet meadow. It was perfectly romantic and absolutely beautiful. After some quiet time as a new husband and wife, we made our way back to the cars with a stop at a giant fallen tree for a few portraits. After finishing up in the valley, we drove up to Glacier Point for some beers, truffles and sunset! They laid out a blanket and split a bottle of champagne, Samantha surprised Ben with an adorable lego cake topper, and we all devoured the delicious truffles they’d picked up from the Majestic Hotel Gift Shop earlier that day. It was heavenly. Once the sun went down a little bit, we hiked out to the point for that last bit of alpenglow on Half Dome. After the sun completely set, we were about to hike back to the cars when a giant shooting star streamed across the horizon. It was bigger than any I’d ever seen before and felt so close to us! It was a magical gift for the newlyweds!
When all was said and done, we were sad to say goodbye to these two buddies but psyched for their new marriage and the remainder of their road trip! We had so much fun with them planning their wedding and hanging out that day and really couldn’t believe it was already over!
Yosemite National Park, Californiathe hearnes » adventure elopement photographersChas + Michelle's adventurous wedding portraits | post-elopement photos in yosemite national park | adventure wedding photographer
Oh my goodness, these two. We had so much fun with them! Michelle and Chas had an intimate wedding in Napa Valley, California with just their immediate family and chose to meet up with us in Yosemite National Park afterwards for some adventurous post-wedding portraits! They wanted their wedding day to be focused on family and photos with them, so this adventure session in Yosemite was sort of their treat to each other as a way to focus on the two of them and no one else. After I sent off their gallery, Michelle told me that Yosemite ended up being their favorite parks of their trip, which made the photo experience ever more special!
We met up with them in the parking lot and hiked out to Taft Point through the woods, avoiding mosquitos and asking them about their wedding day. The hike through the woods is so gorgeous, but nothing compares to the views at the end! It was so fun watching these two take it all in and see the overlook for themselves. We watched the sun go down way behind El Cap, and watched the light stream through the valley before disappearing in the distance. They danced around on the edge and even laid down on their bellies to peek over the rim. It was adorable! I’m pretty sure the one of them looking over Taft Point is my favorite :) As the sun went down, they cuddled up and watched the colors change and disappear. We hiked back to the cars in the last bit of blue light and didn’t want to say goodbye at the end. It was so fun hanging out with these two, I hope we get to see them again!
Yosemite National Park, Californiathe hearnes » adventure elopement photographersstephany and anthony's intimate wedding in yosemite | tenaya lake ceremony + lake side reception | national park elopement photographer
You might recognize Stephany and Anthony from their engagement session at Taft Point last August! These two met in high school and have been in love since, so when their wedding finally came around their families and friends we’re psyched they were “finally” getting married! They chose to have an intimate wedding in Yosemite National Park, up on the shore of Tenaya Lake so they could avoid the busy Yosemite Valley crowds that often come in June! Their families were a little hesitant about the long drive up to Tuolumne Meadows, but once they got up there and saw how beautiful it was, they totally understood why Stephany and Anthony chose this gorgeous spot :)
We met up for their first look in some woods in the high country, then took a few portraits around the boulders and soaked in the unique views from the other side of Half Dome. Their family met us at the lake and chose a gorgeous little beach for their reception, just a short walk through the woods to their ceremony spot. One fun little treat, Stephany and Anthony chose to have our good friend Jordan Cannon officiate their ceremony! It was Jordan’s first wedding (Stephany and Anthony were aware!) and he absolutely crushed it. We’re hoping this leads to more weddings together :) Yosemite brides, reach out to him! He’s amazing! Their ceremony was short and sweet, just as they wanted, and then we got on with the party! They popped champagne, ate some delicious wraps and fruit salad, and everyone enjoyed the beautiful lake. They cut their cake, and when they smashed frosting in each other’s faces Stephany decided washing off in the lake was the best option, so they went into the water in their wedding clothes where Anthony ended up throwing Stephany all the way in! Then their guests joined them at the shore for toasts, before every changed into swimsuits to swim the rest of the afternoon. It was perfectly chill and beautiful, exactly what Stephany wanted.
Yosemite National Park, Californiathe hearnes » adventure elopement photographersalexandra + david's destination engagement session in the mountains | yosemite elopement inspiration
You know when you meet people and pretty much immediately know you’ll be best friends? That’s how I felt from Alexandra and David’s initial email about their engagement session. Once I learned more about them, my thoughts were solidified even more! These two are fellow vagabonds, living on the road full time, but instead of just the western US like us, they travel the world! They have traveled and run their animation marketing business from Australia, a camper van in New Zealand, Southeast sia, Italy, China, and Paris in the past year! They were engaged over the tree-tops in Bali and managed to keep it a secret for three whole months! They loved the thrill and romance of the secret, and even made this adorable announcement video to tell their families when they got home to California! They are videographers as well, and love to do landscape photography while they’re traveling, and they often take tripod photos of themselves so they were really psyched to meet up with us in Yosemite for their engagement photos!
We met up with them in the parking lot and hiked out to Taft Point together, stopping along the way for some photos in the enchanted forest with giant moss-covered trees and ferns all over the ground. Just before getting to the overlook, they changed into gorgeous all-black outfits and we hiked out to the overlook to watched the sunset! We have been to Taft Point probably 50+ times, but my goodness it just never gets old. Yosemite Valley is so gorgeous, and getting to see it from high above every other feature is such treat, plus getting to introduce new people to this amazing spot is one of the best things on earth! Alexandra and David loved watching the sunset together and soaking in the views. After the sun went down and the light was nearly gone, we hiked back by moonlight and headlamps through the woods to the cars. When it was all over we didn’t want to go! It was so fun hanging out with these two, I definitely think we’ll get together again in the future.
Redwoods National Park + Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Parkthe hearnes » adventure elopement photographersallix + tate's intimate wedding ceremony in the redwood forest | adventure wedding photographer
With so much of their relationship being based on travel and adventure, Allix and Tate knew they wanted to have their wedding somewhere beautiful and meaningful instead of a traditional venue. They had fallen in love with the Redwoods of Northern California time and time again from trips together in the past, so it only felt right to be married among them as well. They invited their closest family and a couple of friends to join them in a secluded grove for their wedding ceremony.
First we met up with them in Jedidiah Smith Redwoods State Park for some wedding portraits in one of their favorite groves, then drove out through the forest to another quiet area where we met up with their guests. We all hiked in a picked a nice little spot nestled between some giant trees complete with a babbling brook as the soundtrack. Afterwards, we celebrated with champagne and a short hike around the area for some forest portraits. Then Tate and Allix led the way stopping at a couple of their favorite spots in Redwoods National Park. We ended the day out on the coast, crawling over giant driftwood and climbing around the rocks searching for starfish and soaking in California’s famous golden light. The entire day was amazing, but I have to admit my favorite part was when these two kicked off their shoes and ran straight into the freezing pacific ocean, stopping to kiss as a giant wave snuck up on them from behind. I love that they embraced the dirt, sand and salt all day, and didn’t care at all about ripping Allix’s train as they climbed on a tree, covering the bottom of her dress in ferms, or ending the day soaked in their wedding clothes from the ocean.
If you like the idea of an adventure elopement but still want to include a few friends and family, you might consider having an intimate wedding similar to Allix + Tate’s! These two got to spend time with their family and friends, and treat them to the traditional dinner, but still had plenty of time just the two of them, including an adventurous hike and beautiful sunset portraits. We specialize in adventure elopements, so that’s what you typically see on our website and instagram, but we shoot intimate weddings with up to thirty guests!
Mount Rainier National Parkthe hearnes » adventure elopement photographersalyssa + horacio's adventurous honeymoon session in mount rainier national park
Alyssa and Horacio chose to do an epic road trip out west for their honeymoon and brought their wedding clothes along for some epic adventure portraits in Mount Rainier National Park! After a few days enjoying and hiking in the park, they met up with us up on the mountain. The conditions ended up being super unique - the whole mountain was covered in fog! Some people might consider this “bad weather” but honestly it was so cool, and so classic Pacific North West! We hiked up the snowfield a little bit for some moody foggy portraits in the trees and with such low visibility it felt like we were in a different world! After that, we drove down the mountain below the fog layer and hiked out into a riverbed with more moody portraits as the fog swirled in the trees above us. They ran around the boulders, climbed on some giant fallen trees, and we ended the day with a few portraits with their rad adventure vehicle that had driven them across the country. We sent them off with some location suggestions for the second half of their road trip and wished we had more time to spend together, we had so much fun with these two!
If you like the idea of an adventurous elopement, but still want to have a wedding back home with your family and friends, you could always consider working a portrait session into your honeymoon! It’s such a cool way to get epic wedding portraits when all the feelings are still fresh, without having to do a destination wedding if that isn’t your thing.
Hana and Evan wanted to do something different for their wedding day, but still wanted to include their close family and dear friends, so they chose to have their intimate wedding in Rainier National Park. They started the day with a romantic first look at their A Frame cabin the the woods, and after a few portraits around there, Evan helped Hana with the final touches of getting ready before they headed to Copper Creek Inn for their lovely intimate reception. The table was set on a deck up in the trees with the most gorgeous greenery and sweet little embroidered placards made my Hana and Evan themselves. Their guests enjoyed dinner and cake, and made a few tear-jerking and belly laugh-inducing toasts before heading into the National Park for their little ceremony below the mountain. Their ceremony was beautiful, fully of more tears and laughs, and they read their vows from beautiful embroidered hoops they made for each other in the months leading up to their wedding day. After some group photos, hugs, and a joyful send-off, the four of us made our way high up the mountain for some snowy sunset portraits on the flanks of Mount Rainier. Hana wore micro-spikes on her hiking boots as we hiked to a beautiful point that we had all to ourselves. They wanted some photos with the embroidery vows and as we pulled them out, I had the idea for them to read their vows to each other again, this time with no crowd or ceremony nerves, just the quiet mountain and us snapping photos far away. This ended up being one of the sweetest moments of the day as they re-read their promises and took time to think about each one. The day ended with the most stunning sunset full of pink clouds and beautiful hazy light. We made our way down just before dark and reminisced on the amazing day. They both agreed there wasn’t anything they would have changed about it!
If you like the idea of an adventure elopement but still want to include a few friends and family, you might consider having an intimate wedding similar to Hana and Evans! These two got to spend time with their family and friends, and treat them to the traditional dinner + cake, but still had plenty of time just the two of them, including an adventurous hike with beautiful sunset portraits. Depending on how many people you’d like to invite, you can do anything from cater a relaxed meal to an airbnb, to hiring a private chef or even booking a small venue that specializes in smaller groups. We specialize in adventure elopements, so that’s what you typically see on our website and instagram, but we shoot intimate weddings with up to thirty guests!