I’ve never been there, but I’ve watched the Lord of the Rings movies, so in my mind I feel like I know what every part of New Zealand looks like. Of course, we all know that’s not how reality works, but when I learned that Kamelia and Malcom traveled all the way from New Zealand to Yosemite to marry, part of me did wonder why they didn’t just walk outside of their homes and onto the amazing snow capped mountaintops that exist in my imagination right outside of every New Zealand home.
Instead we found a great little spot along the Merced River just below Half Dome for their ceremony. The water splashing over the rocks provided the orchestral background for their ceremony and washed away all other sounds. Clouds seemed to dance around Half Dome in celebration just for these two. Even though it was the middle of Spring, we were all alone in Yosemite Valley. Everything else had floated away and left us in this garden. Suddenly I realized that this right here, this moment, was why they came to elope in Yosemite.
That was the setting for one of the more emotional ceremonies that I’ve been a part of. That’s not to say that tears were constantly rolling down their faces, rather the words that Kamelia and Malcom shared with each other were incredibly meaningful to them, both in the act of speaking and listening. It was laughter and sincerity blended together. But it was more than that; the way they looked at each other, the way they held each others hand that was vocal. Everything seemed to slow down for them as they stood there by the waters edge committing their lives to each other. Then the gap closed and Kamelia and Malcom embraced for their first kiss as husband and wife.
A little while later I had the opportunity to share some of my favorite places in Yosemite valley with them. Yosemite Falls roared behind Kamelia and Malcom as the cuddled on a fallen tree. They stood amazed as they stared up at El Capitan and danced in its shadows. They strolled hand in hand through meadows and then quickened to avoid the rain. But it wasn’t until we arrived at Tunnel View that their decision to elope in Yosemite really came home to me; they didn’t really want to be surrounded by other people, they wanted to be able to enjoy the day by themselves. You see, this was their day and that’s exactly what makes it so special.