For a couple as adventurous as Pete and Erin, tying the knot in one of the most outdoor-sy, gorgeous landscap-y, beautimous locations in the world was kind of a given (and forgive my propensity for made-up words). Yes, Yosemite Valley was the ideal location for this destination wedding – and more specifically the historic Ahwahnee Hotel nestled in the heart of the valley.
Our schedules and physical locations prevented us from shooting a pre-wedding engagement session, so I went up a day early and hung out with the families at Glacier Point for their informal get-together. It's got amazing views of half dome and the entirety of the valley below. Erin and Pete had reserved the outdoor amphitheater for their picnic, along with a few speeches from the best man and maid of honor. IT was a great way to start the festivities, and a good chance for me to meet the key people on both sides of the family.
We all stayed at Yosemite Lodge, which is a stone's throw from the Ahwahnee. Saturday morning, I met up with Erin at her Ahwahnee cottage, capturing some getting ready candids as well as getting some great detail shots of her classy/minimal wedding dress + wedding rings with the bright orange carabiner (in true mountaineer fashion!). I met up with Pete and the guys a little later to capture their orange and blue outdoor vests as their signature look for this forest grove wedding.
As I do with most weddings these days, I organized a first-look for Erin and Pete, staging a special, intimate way for them to see each other for the first time in their wedding duds. After that special moment in the wedding grove, we transitioned to taking some great, romantic portraits of just the bride and groom around the property, focusing on the area near the rock bridge and river. We then met up with all the family and bridal party in the Yosemite Meadow for some breathtaking group photos with soaring rock cliffs in the background.
The ceremony itself was behind the Ahwahnee in the Wedding Grove, officiated by Erin and Pete's close friend – who was simply hilarious and touching at the same time. We had a few deer attending the wedding – I mean, we were in the middle of nature people. I think they were after the flowers... After the lovely ceremony, we took a few more family photos and then it was party time!
The seated dinner took place in the Solarium (at the rear of the Ahwahnee), with dancing and treats in adjoining rooms. It was such a fairytale experience for everyone, and a joy for me personally. Erin and Pete are truly soul mates, and even though they are both a little camera shy, they made for some amazing photos throughout the day. I wish you two the very best.
Below are some of my favorite photos – enjoy!
Chris Schmauch loves weddings – from intimate elopements, to grand events with your 1,000 closest friends – it's truly an honor to participate in, and be responsible for capturing all the fleeting moments throughout the day. Based in Santa Cruz, but traveling all over the Bay Area and beyond, consider taking advantage of Chris' talent to capture your wedding the way you envision it (i.e. as amazing as possible).
Looking for a skilled wedding photographer familiar with The Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite Valley, California? San Francisco / Bay Area Wedding and Engagement Photographer Chris Schmauch makes you look like a superstar! Call (831) 216-6210 or fill out this nifty contact form (for serious inquiries only).