Destination I Do
Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Breathtaking Yosemite Nuptials

Words by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Adeline & Grace Photography

Andrew and Olivia are an outdoorsy, nature-loving couple, so saying “I do” in Yosemite National Park was a natural fit! “Our decision was less about having a destination wedding and more about us knowing that we wanted to get married in Yosemite specifically,” says the bride. However, getting married in the summer in Yosemite is no small feat. Knowing it’s a popular destination around the world, the couple tried to plan far in advance for both their and their guests’ sake.

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“We tried to help people as much as possible with planning the logistics by having a lot of details on our wedding website with options for accommodations in different price ranges and giving them lots of notice so that they could book ahead,” explains Olivia. “Andrew’s family was traveling from the Seattle area and they rented three cabins for extended family and out-of-town guests, which was a really nice gesture for guests who had traveled so far to join us in our celebration!” 

The couple encouraged their guests to enjoy Yosemite as much as possible while visiting. “We provided our guests with welcome bags that had welcome notes from us, snacks, water, insect repellent, a schedule of wedding events and maps of the area, which were all in a drawstring backpack perfect for hiking.” Olivia and Andrew’s national park wedding destination was perfectly suited for their personalities. “We both love the outdoors,” says the bride. “Many of our first dates were spent hiking, biking and fishing. We wanted a location that captured our adventurous spirit. The area also has a special significance to my family because [they] have lived in the nearby Sierra Foothills for generations and Yosemite has always been a favorite vacation spot.”

The couple planned their wedding away from their home in Texas, but had a few helping hands near their wedding destination. “There are so many moving parts and logistics for a wedding,” says the bride. “My family living in San Francisco helped so much with the planning. It really took a coordinated effort to pull all the pieces together from a distance. We were lucky to have a family friend who was married in Yosemite months before us and we were able to get a lot of referrals from them.” 

In addition to planning the details of the big day, the couple put a lot of thought and effort into making sure their guests were well prepared and well cared for. “Since accommodations during the summer in Yosemite fill up fast, we encouraged all our guests to book as soon as possible. We were able to put some of our guests in touch with each other so that they could rent cars together and get rides from the airport together. We also arranged for a late shuttle to take guests from the Ahwahnee to their hotels around Yosemite Valley after the wedding.”

Looking back, the couple knows they made the right decision in opting to marry away. “Our favorite part of having a destination wedding was feeling like we were on a magical vacation. Having a destination wedding also allowed us to be married in one of the most beautiful and special places on earth…it is incredible to have such a unique tie to Yosemite.”

As for advice for other couples, this is what Olivia and Andrew had to say, “We wish your readers all the best as they plan their destination weddings! We would advise them to try to plan ahead as much as possible so that guests can have a heads-up and [be sure to] acknowledge the effort that guests are making to travel and be there. Ultimately, they should be sure to enjoy their time because those memories are ones they will treasure forever.”

Vendors: Photography: Adeline & Grace Photography, Ceremony/Reception Site: The Ahwahnee Hotel, Wedding Planner: Mother of the Bride, Florist: Sweet Dreams Wedding Flowers, Stationery: Momental Designs, Cake: The Ahwahnee Hotel, Hair & Makeup: Bellissimo Brides, Gown Designer: Amy Kuschel, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Men’s Wearhouse, Bridesmaids/Groomsmens’ Clothing Designer: Bill Levkoff/Men’s Wearhouse, DJ: Kirk with Sierra Entertainment

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