Amanda and Daniel met through mutual friends during college at the University of Florida. “I would constantly interrupt Daniel’s diligent studies to chat, and he would sweetly rock me in the hammock set up in his college apartment living room and drive me around Gainesville, as I didn’t have a car,” says Amanda. Eventually their friendship turned into something more. “The hammock rocking and chauffeuring clearly paid off,” adds Daniel.

The couple was sitting on the couch one evening in September 2018 when Amanda said, “What do you think about getting married?” At that time, they had been together for more than 11 years and discussed the subject before, but were happy with the way things were. “However, something about the moment just felt right to both of us,” says Daniel. “I enthusiastically responded, ‘Why don’t we elope in Yosemite?’ and we started planning from there.” In April of the following year, they took a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park where Daniel officially popped the question with a ring.

Amanda and Daniel had hiked up to Glacier Point during a visit to Yosemite a few years prior and were blown away by the view. It was an easy decision that this would be where they would marry. “We both have small families and wanted them to enjoy the day with us, so we did all of the planning to get them out there before even telling them about the wedding,” says Amanda.

During a sunrise ceremony, the bride and groom exchanged personally written vows. “I think our families secretly thought we were nuts for wanting to have a sunrise ceremony in the middle of the mountains,” admits Amanda. “However, as the sun rose at Glacier Point, my younger brother said, ‘Now I get it!’” 

The newlyweds did not plan a reception in the usual sense. The night before the wedding, they planned a cookout at the cabin where their parents stayed. “It was great to catch up with our families as they arrived and make sure everyone knew how to get to Glacier Point in the dark without cell phone service,” says Amanda. “After the ceremony, we celebrated with our families for a while, and then we let them explore the park while we ran around to some of our favorite spots with our photographer.” Everyone reconnected for a casual lunch at the classic Ahwahnee Hotel, a Yosemite favorite. 

—Darren Elms