"We want you both to come along and film our elopement." I don't remember exactly what I was doing, but I know where I was: I was sitting at my dining room table. Josh was a few feet away, in the recliner in our living room. My phone vibrated with an email, and I casually glanced over and saw that it was an email from Evan Grantham, who I'd been chatting back and forth with about his plans to marry his beautiful Taylor. I opened the email and immediately locked onto those words. I'm certain that I took a few years off of the lives of my husband and our four precious dogs when I gasped, shrieked, and jumped out of my chair. I'm sure after he regained a normal heart rate, he asked what on earth was wrong with me, but all I could get out was "we are going to film in YOSEMITE!"
When we first came in contact with Evan and Taylor, it was to film their middle Georgia wedding. We'd signed all the dotted lines, crossed t's and dotted i's and were fully ready to celebrate them closer to home. That's about the time that Evan and Taylor decided that a traditional wedding just wasn't their style. These two love God, the outdoors, and each other. Where else would they get married than the most breathtaking example of God's majesty that I have ever laid these two eyes on?
On April 28, 2016, I set goals for Lights Out. They included: “Book an out of state wedding” and “Book an out of the southeast wedding.” Little did I know that, just a few short months later, we’d check off both of those goals in one day!
I'm not going to lie: the roughly 6 months between our getting that news and actually getting to be a part of their day were agonizing. We were so excited for them, and to be a part of such an amazing opportunity was such a blessing for us. I know that our "is it time yet?"s were nothing to what Evan and Taylor felt. Being engaged and planning your wedding seems to drag on long enough, but knowing that your wedding will be such an adventure had to have been an excruciating wait for them!
When it was finally May, Josh and I went to California a few days early (on our own dime, of course!) to spend a little time in San Francisco before meeting Evan, Taylor, and their photographers, Donna and Amy at We Do Photography in Mariposa. San Francisco was magical--maybe I'll blog on it soon! We stayed in Modesto, halfway between San Francisco and Mariposa where everyone else was staying.
The day before they got married, we met everyone at the house that Evan and Taylor had rented, to caravan to Yosemite. Maybe, before we get to Yosemite, I should go ahead and give my disclaimer: I am not outdoorsy. I am very, very indoorsy. I like to be outside if I am at the beach or in a cool, historic downtown area and...that's about it. Remember that when I tell you that I LOVED BEING OUTSIDE IN YOSEMITE.
The ride into Yosemite is breathtaking. We rode through an area lined with trees older than the "historic" cities that I love, and every now and then we'd come to a break in the tree line and see huge waterfalls off in the distance, pouring off of the tops of mountains taller than any I've ever seen in person. Every time I'd think I had seen the most beautiful landscape I could ever witness, we'd come around another bend and I'd see something else to put the last view to shame. The first day, we hiked and scoped out potential locations for their ceremony. Taylor had her heart set on getting married on top of Half Dome, but unfortunately, snow still covered the passes to get there. (A fact that we couldn't believe, seeing that where we were, it was in the low 80s!) We hiked along streams, over huge boulders, and trekked around the bottom of Bridal Veil Falls. Then, we came to THE spot: Turtleback Dome. I think that every single one of us knew the moment that we stepped onto it, that it was going to be the place for Evan and Taylor to say their "I Do"s. It overlooked canyons, and Half Dome and El Capitan were visible in the background.
We said our goodbyes and got ready to make the drive back to Modesto. We were starving, as we didn't come prepared for hiking (by way of food) at all! As soon as we regained cell service, I found 1850 Brewing Company in downtown Mariposa and we stopped there for steak and a burger. It was so good that we ate there the following night, too, and bought t-shirts to remember it by! If you're ever in Mariposa, do yourself a favor and go get their Tri Tip--you won't be disappointed.
The next morning, Taylor got ready at the home she and Evan had rented, and they shared their first look in Donna and Amy's picturesque backyard. All of their female vendors cried when they read each other letters they'd written for this momentous day, and exchanged gifts they'd selected with each other in mind. You guys--get a load of that dress. Talk about stunning! Not that Taylor needs any help being beautiful, of course...just look at her! When none of us could stand waiting any longer, we caravanned to Yosemite again, and spent the day capturing little moments around the park leading up to their ceremony time.
We met their officiant on top of Turtleback Dome, and Evan and Taylor vowed forever to each other as the sun set. It was such a breathtakingly flawless, significant moment. We were in such a beautiful, vast, glorious place that makes you realize just how small you are, but their love filled the canyons that we stood overlooking.
We left soon after they were married, so that they could get a few minutes alone, soaking up the moment, before heading back to their catered dinner at their house. I'll never forget their officiant's words as we all got in our cars. He turned to them and wished them "true love and high adventure!"
Can you really ask for more in life than those two things?
Congratulations, Evan and Taylor! May true love and high adventure follow you always.
love & light,
Mrs. Lights Out