Holly & Chris

Winter Yosemite Elopement

And now, the second part of Holly’s wedding graduate tale. This half takes place in Yosemite, shot by amazing APW photographer Patrick Pike (elopements are his passion). If the first half of Holly’s wedding graduate story is about how weddings our for our families, the second half is about how weddings are also about meeting the deepest needs of our souls. So now we bring you the (breathtaking) Wedding Day Part II.

Planning a wedding when you’re already technically married feels a little strange… After saying our vows on Chris’ grandmother’s farm the Friday before, we were a little uncertain whether we should go ahead and still have some sort of ceremony in Yosemite. We were wearing wedding bands already, but didn’t totally feel married. Then I realized that we’d planned it for months, the flowers were set to be delivered, the photographer and pastor had been paid, a girl was coming to do my hair and makeup, and I’d never worn my wedding gown… As beautiful and meaningful as our backyard ceremony had been, I could hardly remember much of it because it was raining and Chris was shaking so badly and Charlotte was fidgety. We wanted to do something for just the two of us. And so we proceeded…

The days before our ceremony Yosemite’s weather was tempestuous as best. Snow, hail, and rain kept us from hiking as much as we wanted to, but we made the best of it and laughed when we had to learn how to use tire chains on icy mountain roads. I took pictures and giggled the whole time and we later warmed up by a fire.

The morning of our wedding the earth was blanketed in snow. Stepping outside our room it looked like we had stepped into Narnia. I did what I always do and thought “photo-op!”, took my boots and dress, tromped out into eight inches of snow, hung up my dress, and photographed it as the snow melted all over it.

I felt like a bride for the first time when Carole came to do my hair and makeup… Not a stressed-out mom, or a photographer, or anything else… but a bride… The feeling had eluded me for almost a year.

For the first time in as long as I can remember I allowed myself to relax and stop worrying about my daughter and my business and just let someone make me pretty.

I put my camera away and didn’t take a single detail shot of the flowers or the rings, which sounds simple but was actually a big deal for me. We talked about weddings and boys and all sorts of silly things. Chris hung out at the bar and read and drank.

Once I had been transformed, our photographer Patrick picked us up in his Jeep and drove us down to Yosemite Valley for our ceremony. We exchanged vows in Cook’s Valley as the sun dodged in and out of the clouds. The rain held off just long enough for Chris and I to tearfully read the vows we’d written to one another.

Personal vows were very important to me because Chris is quite introverted and does not often share his feelings with words. I knew that when he did, it would be powerful… For those moments the photographer and the pastor stepped away, leaving us completely alone with one another, surrounded by breathtaking beauty. We shared our hearts with one another and my husband committed his life not only to me but to my daughter. Our daughter.

Photos by: Patrick Pike; Hair & Makeup by:  Carol Cardinale of Bellisimo Brides; Officiant: Autrey Nassar

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