When a new client asks me what time of day would be the most beautiful for their wedding, I give them two different answers already knowing which one they will prefer. It’s quite simple really, if you are planning a wedding in Yosemite for sunrise, you’re probably also choosing to get up hours before sunrise just so you can be ready when that first light appears. That’s why so many of my clients choose to get married in the late afternoon just before sunset.
It takes a special kind of person or couple (or in this case family) to wake up early and head out into the cold for a sunrise wedding in Yosemite. Let me introduce you to Jill and Hung on what is now their second trip to Yosemite together. It was on their first that they were so moved by the beauty of this place that they knew they would be back early one morning to promise their love to each other.
A quick detour: If you haven’t taken time to walk around Yosemite in those moments just before sunrise, let me stop right here and beg you to do that on your next trip. Set the alarm and sneak out before the busses and cars clog the senses. You’ll be able to hear waterfalls you didn’t even know about.
I first met Hung only a few minutes before their wedding ceremony as we both went to find the perfect place for their wedding ceremony. We had to modify our previous plans when we found the perviously chosen location underwater due to the recent snowmelt, but I had a few other ideas in my back pocket. I knew that Jill wanted a place near the river with a view of Half Dome at sunrise and there were some great locations nearby. Once we walked to the place I had in mind and actually looked up, I knew this was the place. Hands down. This was the place Jill was dreaming of.
And so we stopped at this little slice of beach looking up to Half Dome. Their close friends and family also braved the early morning cold and joined us for this intimate wedding ceremony arriving just before Jill walked in arm in arm with her parents. It was immediately clear to everyone just by the look on her face how excited Jill was to be standing here in this moment holding hands with the man she will spend the rest of her life with.
After the ceremony was over I took Jill and Jung on a short trip through the valley stopping by a few different places. It was a quick trip to be sure, they were set to meet back up with their family for a breakfast reception, but there was so much to take in during those early hours. Freshly blooming dogwood flowers and early morning rainbows greeted the newlyweds.
Dropping them off and saying goodbye to Jill and Hung, I noticed it was only eight in the morning. How could so much have already happened this morning? They walked through a magical valley seeing rainbows form under waterfalls at first light and danced under El Capitan as the valley began to fill with warmth. But that only leads to the better question: what else was in store for them for the rest of the day?