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Destination I Do

Breathtaking Wedding in Yosemite

Words by Sarah Padilla
Photos courtesy of Elle Jae Photography

Choosing the majestic backdrop of Yosemite National Park for their destination wedding was an easy decision for Sean and Kimberly. Not only was the location breathtaking, but the Northern California couple grew up vacationing in the park – both with their individual families and together. These nature lovers knew the area was a perfect fit.

“We see being in nature as an integral part of our lives and wanted that to be part of our wedding,” says Kimberly. “We provided all of the cabins for our guests so we could be close together, and turned the wedding into a three-day party in the woods.”

“Yosemite seemed like the perfect place to keep creating amazing memories.”

The couple and their 60 guests spent the two days leading up to their October ceremony hiking and exploring the area. On the day of the rehearsal, the men embarked on a five-hour hike, while the women filled the guest cabins with wine-and-s’mores welcome kits. The entire guest list was invited to the rehearsal barbeque.

Having their guests bond before the ceremony helped create the fun and relaxing wedding day Sean and Kimberly envisioned – from their hand-written ceremony in a quaint red church in Yosemite Valley, to dining and dancing under magnificent redwood trees. “Since all of our guests had already been involved in our weekend festivities prior to the wedding day, it allowed us to really enjoy the evening amongst friends and family,” recalls the bride.       

A professional wedding planner herself, Kimberly admits that planning a destination wedding –especially in a remote area – has its challenges. And because there is no cell phone service in the park, the couple had to be even more prepared. Checklists, says Kimberly, are essential.  

In the end, the couple’s painstaking planning paid off. Just like the baby redwood they planted to commemorate their day, the memories from Kimberly and Sean’s “party in the woods” will last a lifetime.    

“We saw our wedding as not just a one-day event, but an opportunity to spend the weekend with our friends and family…”  

Vendors: Wedding Planner: LVL Weddings & Events, Photographer: Elle Jae Photography, Ceremony Venue: Yosemite Valley Chapel, Reception Venue: Wawona Hotel, Floral Designer: The Petal Company, Vintage Rentals: Milk Glass Vintage Rentals, DJ: Boutique DJs, Cake: Sweet Dreams Wedding Cakes, Linens: Napa Valley Linens

This article first appeared in Destination I Do's Spring/Summer 2014 issue. You can order a copy here.

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