Yosemite National Park

the hearnes » adventure elopement photographers

Jaime + Christian’s Adventurous Elopement in Yosemite National Park | Glacier Point Sunrise First Look + Taft Point Ceremony

Oh my goodness I don’t even know where to start with Jaime and Christian. These two are both from Australia but they took a trip to Yosemite a couple of years ago and absolutely fell in love. When they got engaged, the idea of a big traditional wedding just didn’t feel right to them, and when they came across our website, and in particular, saw photos of Vicky and Ben’s Yosemite elopement from a few years ago, they knew this was what they wanted to do! When I asked them what their vision for their wedding day was, Jaime replied:

“We envision spending our wedding day being full of love and adventure, we want it to be relaxed and obviously to capture some amazing photos of us just exploring the park and becoming husband and wife.

We are hoping to have our parents attend so it would be nice to have a little break midday before a sunset ceremony and have a picnic somewhere nice and just enjoy the company of our loved ones otherwise if it is just the two of us we really think it couldn’t get anymore romantic then an that.

We have always thought that sometimes the love and meaning can be taken out of a traditional

wedding and it can become more about the details / money.

We are apart of a huge Italian family so we believe this will be the best option for us to make the day as intimate and romantic as possible, for us an elopement is a the perfect combination of adventure, intimacy and love.”

Which, honestly sealed the deal for me. When our couples express that they want the day to focus on time together, and that they feel big weddings can be more about the details and money than about the couple, I know they’re the type of people we want to work with! The thing is, elopements used to have this stigma of being last-minute and rebellious, but these days an elopement can be intentional, well-planned, and in my experience, often much more romantic than a big wedding. The focus gets to be so much more on time together as a couple, than napkin colors and seat placements.

Because they live in Australia, we helped out a ton with the planning and logistics! We helped come up with a plan that would suit Jaime and Christian’s vision, allow us to avoid the bigger crowds at some of the more popular locations, and have ideal lighting at each spot. We also recommended our favorite vendors — The Flower Method for Jaime’s gorgeous bouquet, their lodging near Yosemite, and our best friend Jordan Cannon as their officiant! Jordan is a professional rock climber who spends a few months each year in Yosemite, he’s climbed El Cap 16 times! 

Fun side story, Jaime and Christian watched the movie Free Solo before coming out to Yosemite for their elopement, so they were pretty stoked on El Cap and general climbing history. Jordan threw a few El Cap references into their ceremony (totally fitting considering El Cap was their backdrop!), and they chose to do their morning picnic in the meadow below El Cap that morning. Christian had mentioned how cool it was that we were friends with Alex Honnold, and we told him Alex was actually in Yosemite at the time, maybe we’d see him! We figured it was unlikely since Alex is typically on the wall or sleeping during his time in Yosemite, but sure enough, as we pulled up to the meadow for their picnic we saw his van, so we went over to say hey. Alex was just getting off an epic overnight quest with our friend Brad, but despite being totally wrecked and exhausted, he was kind enough to say hey to Jaime and Christian and take a photo with them in front of El Cap! It definitely made their day!

But now I’m already ahead of myself! We started their day with a sunrise first look, one of our favorite things in Yosemite. They met up with us in the dark parking lot around 5am, and Callen walked Christian out to a rocky ledge overlooking little Yosemite Valley. As the sun came up behind Half Dome, the clouds turned pink around it and everything started glowing a little bit. Jaime walked up to Christian and he turned around to see her in her gorgeous custom wedding dress…and he absolutely lost it. He started to cry, then yelled he wasn’t crying, then wiped tears and honestly, it definitely took him off guard how much seeing her in a wedding dress, on their wedding day, meant to him. It’s moments like this that make me so thankful couples choose to elope! They got to have this time together, completely undistracted, and it set the course for the rest of their day to be amazing. We spent the morning soaking in the sunrise views, taking portraits, and even getting cheered on by a group of local teenagers!

After their El Cap meadow picnic and exciting Alex Honnold encounter, Jaime and Christian took some time to chill and relax before hiking out to Taft Point for their ceremony that evening. We all hiked out together, making our way through the snow and mud from the late spring storms, and came out to their favorite spot in Yosemite. We had it nearly to ourselves, which is a small miracle these days, and they chose to have their ceremony on the edge of the cliff overlooking Yosemite Valley below. Jordan crushed it with the ceremony and had everyone in tears. Afterwards, we celebrated with champagne and they Facetimed a few family members that couldn’t make the trek out to California from Australia. We spent the remainder of the evening soaking in the epic views and watching a beautiful sunset. We all hiked back in the dark in complete awe of the amazing day we’d had together. As we said goodbye, these two felt more like old friends than clients that we’d just met in person for the first time that morning, but honestly that’s part of the magic of photographing and witnessing such intimate elopements!

I also have to note, that a few months after their elopement I received the most amazing thank you gift from Jaime in the mail. She’d noticed I posted about Callahan Ceramics in my instagram stories before, so she reached out to Cal to commission two custom mugs for us. I had no idea she was doing this, and when I received the box in the mail I nearly cried!! I love Callahan’s work so much, and the fact that Jaime picked up on that and commissioned two mugs in Moab colors for us speaks so much to her attention to detail and her amazing kindness. I will cherish these mugs forever!!

The Hearnes Adventure Photography is run by Abbi and Callen Hearne, a husband & wife wedding photography team with an emphasis on adventure. They live on the road as full-time nomads, allowing them to serve a large portion of the western US. You can typically find them in Moab, Utah or Yosemite National Park, California, with side-quests to Patagonia and Alaska. They believe love is the greatest adventure and strive to create photos that are epic, romantic, true, and timeless.