Last summer I had the privilege of shooting the gorgeous union of Julia and Fernando overlooking Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park. How gorgeous is that snowy mountain backdrop? Julia’s vision of a romantic, woodsy, and rustic summer wedding surrounded by the raw beauty of nature came to life with the help of a little DIY and a lot of natural scenery. Despite a little rain and snow (aka, good luck from Mother Nature herself!) their intimate ceremony was ordained by Fernando’s youngest sister for less than 30 total guests on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. But what truly takes the cake is the proposal story! Just wait until you hear this one. Bride Julia tells us more.
“”Every LOVE story is BEAUTIFUL but OURS is my FAVORITE”…this is so true. It is rare when two people meet and they immediately have a deep connection, almost as if they are two lost souls who found each other. It’s a special moment when you look at someone for the first time and somehow you just know they are the one you’ve been looking for, as if your heart and soul says “Oh there you are, I’ve been looking for you all my life”. That is how our story begins. We met online as many couples do in today’s day and time and neither one of us would have guessed fate would take us to where we are now. It’s kind of crazy, if you think about it… I mean, what are the odds of two strangers meeting (out of millions of people on this earth) only to fall in love and be perfect for each other; two lives merging in harmony with one another. But yet, here we are. We had an instant connection, in fact, we chatted three days straight online before realizing we didn’t know each other’s name!!! From the moment we met,
we have been inseparable.”
“We went to Jamaica in October of 2015 to celebrate our birthdays (which are a week apart) and our anniversary which is October 24th. I had been planning a surprise proposal for months! I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity of being in such an incredible place to pop the question. Now, I know it is un-traditional for a woman to ask her love’s hand in marriage, but I was determined (and I wanted to be different). I had everything planned out, I even had a ring and rehearsed for weeks what I was going to say! I was going to wait until we were overlooking an amazing view on our anniversary day and say “isn’t this gorgeous, we should make a plan to come back here in ten years and tell our children the story of how I proposed to you.” However, it did not go that way at all. Much to my surprise, as we walked hand in hand down a gorgeous beach on our anniversary day, he pulled away to a big, plush, green tropical tree and he walked around it a few times as if looking for something. He called me over and I reluctantly went to him thinking to myself, what the heck is he doing?! I reach him and he looks down to my face and gently kisses me. He then says, “I have to ask you something”. He puts his hand in his pocket, gets down on one knee and as he looks deep into my eyes says, “will you marry me?” I was speechless (which never happens), and for a moment I didn’t comprehend what was happening, and I couldn’t figure out what to do. He finally pushes the ring in my face a little more, nudging me to react, and I finally said in amazed confusion, “Yes, of course!… but only of you accept my ring too.” I pulled out the ring I had for him and the look he had on his face was priceless. We exchanged rings and were officially engaged! …Now that is a story we can’t wait to tell our children!”
Wedding Day Fashion
“I didn’t want a traditional white dress and I found the most perfect champagne color wedding gown that I loved. I let my girls choose their own dress as long as it was a wheat/beige/biscotti color. Having the different dresses made it very unique (and stress free). Instead of bouquets for my bridesmaids, I got them lace parasols to fit my non-traditional rustic theme.”
“My husband chose a gray suit, and his groomsmen wore gray slacks with a white shirt and purple tie. Purple was my husbands choice of color. He has great taste! We let each other choose to wear whatever we wanted and didn’t see each other’s wedding attire until the day of. It was so neat to see how well it all came together even though there was minor planning on the coordination of styles, colors, etc. I guess great minds think alike!”
“One of my favorite parts of my husband’s look was the koala cuff links I gifted him, super cute!”
“Our inspiration behind our big day was simple, different and un-traditional; we wanted to do something very unique. That was how we decided we wanted a small, intimate wedding surrounded by the beauty of nature in Yosemite National Park. We didn’t care to have huge, fancy (and expensive) day to share with a bunch of people that we didn’t know or hardly ever spoke to. We wanted something much more meaningful because this was such an intimate and special moment”
“I remember counting the days (and I’m not going to lie, the hours and minutes too!) and it was so sweet to hear my husband tell me, “I can’t wait for you to be my wife.” Walking towards him that day and seeing that amazing smile of his that I love was the best feeling in the world. The ceremony was definitely my favorite part.”
“It was absolutely magical, and although we were surrounded by our friends, family, even strangers who were curious at what we were doing, being at the top of one of the highest points in Yosemite, surrounded by so much beauty, so close the the sky, in freezing temperatures with snow gently falling all around us… it was as if time stood still and it was just him and I. I took in every second of that moment and loved it every bit of it!”
“Everything about our wedding I feel was different, unique, meaningful and un-traditional. It was perfect!”
Due to the distance of our wedding location, we did not have a reception. Instead, we held a very casual dinner at our house the day before we left with our closest friends and family. We also had a very small dinner after the ceremony at a restaurant in the Yosemite Park.
We held the dinner before our wedding day in our backyard and our bridal party and family did a great job setting up and decorating everything with hand-made rustic decorations such as candles in mason jars, lace, burlap, chalk boards, hand made signs and lots of candles.
One of my aunts made a few silk flower arrangements and hung string through the trees to hang floating candles in lace covered mason jars. It was simple and perfect, our backyard felt magical.
“My husband and I love donuts, especially from Mr. T’s (voted one of the best donut shops in the nation!). We are regulars there and since of course, our theme was different and un-traditional, I decided to make our “cake” out of Mr. T’s donuts!”
“My favorite part of our cake was the cake topper which I made out of clay. My husband and I call each other koala. It is an inside joke that started when we first started dating and it just stuck with us and became our thing. They came out so cute and it was so us!”
Our Advice for Wedding Planners
Our advice is to not focus or stress about every single detail of the wedding, go with the flow and enjoy the process and that time together. Keep it simple. I think that a lot of times when couples get engaged, they get so caught up with the planning and/or stress about all the expenses and details, that they forget the enjoy the engagement period altogether. But you never get that time back, so have fun and enjoy it! The planning period is actually a good opportunity to REALLY get to know the other person. Not just wedding planning because with that also comes life planning; if you can make it through that and grow individually and as a couple, you’ll be alright and it is a good sign of a successful marriage partnership.
Best wishes to the both of you + congratulations!