Yosemite Elopement couple doing a first look

Filed in destination weddings, destination weddings, elopement, Wedding, wedding photographer — June 22, 2022

First Look at a Yosemite Elopement

A Happy Couple Fall in Love with their First Look

What is a “First Look?”

You many have noticed a growing trend in a fairly new wedding concept: that of a first look. While many couples think that the first time you can see each other on your wedding day is at the aisle, others are embracing this new tradition. Even at an elopement (like this one at Yosemite National Park), this private moment is a cherished addition for many couples. It’s always been my favorite moment as a wedding and elopement photographer.

Simply put, a “first look” is a moment that the two of you share in private before the ceremony. It’s your chance to see one another before the rest of your guest do, and before you’re pulled in 100 other directions. And yes, a good photographer will make you feel all alone as they capture this special moment for you.

First Looks at Elopements

Even though most elopements are already intimate, there’s still something special about a moment together before all the other planned events. Kayla and Jay had a very private elopement, but both shared that their first look was their favorite part of the day. You both get to really take in your spouse-to-be without having to focus on that fact that others are watching, or that you’re about to be sharing vows, or wondering if you remembered the rings! And yes, you’ll probably shed some tears of joy, and you’ll now have a moment to fix your mascara before heading out to your officiant.

bride and groom at Yosemite

Kayla + Jay

These newly weds knew they wanted something small for their wedding day. They both don’t like big traditional weddings, but they do love to travel and explore nature. Once they came across Yosemite as an elopement option, Kayla and Jay both agreed that it was the perfect place for their special day.

Kayla and Jay met at work in 2012, but didn’t start dating until 2017. Kayla shared with us that she had a crush on Jay for all those years before they began dating. I have a feeling he felt the exact same way!

A Picnic to Boot

In addition to a first look, Kayla and Jay embraced another wedding tradition new to many couples: a post nuptial picnic! After their vow exchange and some light hiking, we popped open a bottle of Almond Champagne provided by us from Wilson Creek Sparkling Wines, then sat down for an intimate picnic with local goodies. It’s a wonderful treat after a short hike.

Keeping it Personal

Kayla and Jay also made the moment even more personal and touching by having Kayla’s friend of 33 years be their officiant. They felt it made the day all the more special to them. She knows them inside and out so could speak to their story in a way that a hired officiant just can’t do. Also, her 6 year old daughter was the cutest flower girl imaginable!

I absolutely love shooting elopements at Yosemite National Park, and have my personal favorite spots to show couples. If you’re looking for an elopement adventure, let’s do it! I can plan short or long hikes for couples, and pride myself in having great timing for all your wedding ideas. Whether it’s a big group or a small one, and whether you want to add in an intimate picnic, take it from Kayla and Jay: you’re going to want to do a first look!


 Photographer | Heather Anderson Photography

Bride’s Dress | Jenna in White

Groom’s Suit | Detroit Bespoke

Hair & Makeup | Yosemite Makeup

Reception Venue & Lodging | Tenaya Lodge


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