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.
Details about the flowers
Amanda: The only floral arrangement we had was the bridal bouquet. I didn’t really know what I wanted, but really liked my vendor, Ampersand SF’s style. I had a quick conversation with them and they designed a bouquet of my dreams and one that fit the ceremony perfectly! The bouquet held up to the record high temperatures in CA and lasted all week.
Details about the favors
Custom Yeti Wine Tumblers and Lowballs
Anything else you’d like to share about your wedding?
• Our wedding was totally “us”. After being together for 12 years, we didn’t want a huge wedding, but rather a ceremony witnessed by our closest family. When we shared with our family that we wanted to get married in the mountains at our favorite national park, they were all immediately on board! Due to the intimate nature of our ceremony, we were able to spend time with each of our family members that attended, which made the day all the more memorable.
• Waking up at 3 a.m. to get ready and catch the sunrise for our ceremony made it truly unforgettable. We wrote our own vows which made our ceremony very meaningful and emotional. Our families secretly thought we were nuts for wanting to have a sunrise ceremony in the middle of the mountains. However, as the sun rose at Glacier Point, Amanda’s younger brother said, “Now I get it!”
• The night before the wedding we planned a cookout at the cabin where our parents stayed and 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.
• We got married the following day at sunrise, celebrated with our families for a while, and then we let them explore the park (or go back to sleep) while we ran around to some of our favorite spots with our photographer, Charleton Churchill. We planned a casual midday lunch for everyone at the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite Valley. During lunch we ran into our officiant, Donny Alexander, who works at the Ahwahnee!
• Later in the afternoon we linked up with Charleton again to do some hiking. We ended up exploring until well after sunset – crossing snowmelt creeks on logs in a suit and wedding dress and soaking in the evening views of the valley. We found a new spot in Yosemite that neither we nor Charleton had been to and got some great photos. After our time with Charleton we returned back to the cabins and continued to celebrate with family. The day had started at 3 a.m. – needless to say we were tired!
• The day after our wedding we took our families on a couple of hikes in the park and got to enjoy everyone’s company and show them around the park. We ended our time with our families with a nice dinner at the Ahwahnee.
• We spent the next couple of days in Yosemite, enjoying being married in one of our favorite national parks!
Any tips you’d give brides and grooms planning their wedding today?
Talk to your partner and determine what’s meaningful to both of you, and don’t be afraid to eschew tradition and run away to say your vows!
What would you have done differently if you had the chance?
Absolutely nothing. Well…maybe do this whole marriage thing a bit sooner
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