A Sequoia National Park Elopement with Pizza

Jon and Mackenzie's Elopement with their dog Pizza

An Epic Sequoia National Park Elopement

This Sequoia National Park elopement is very special to me.

I had actually got down to Exeter, CA the morning before the elopement to get to know the bride and groom and their families…and Pizza, their rescue pup.

We went into Sequoia National Park to scout out the location of were we should have the ceremony. One thing I should mention, is that Mackenzie and Jon had originally planned on having their elopement in Yosemite national park, but in the summer of 2018 there was completely terrible wild fires. We had to relocate 3 weeks prior.

Anyway, so since none of us had been to Sequoia until now, we needed to scout out and find the perfect spot. So the bride, groom, her family and myself all piled unto a huge SUV and headed up. We pulled off on some random pull out and went for a little stroll. What you see below is what I thought to be the best spot in the given area.

It was relatively out of the sun, as it was freaking August and hot as heck. And it was quiet and far enough away from the road that you couldn’t hear any of the noise. And the fact that they all trusted me and my vision, really made me feel so good.

After we found the spot, we all went on a hike to Moro Rock (not pictured). So it’s safe to say that by the end of the day, the family, the couple and I were very much bonded at this point. Something I had never done before, and I loved it.

The morning of the wedding was hot, sunny, a bit smoky, but I was excited. I showed back up to the house to find Mackenzie getting her makeup done in the dining room and Jon and Pizza cuddling in the back room. The family was all super chill and just getting food ready for that evening when they came back from the park.

One person I didn’t mention was Maddie, Mackenzie’s younger sister. She is super fun and feisty, I liked her instantly. She was going to be the one performing the ceremony. And let me tell you, she did such a good job. She even managed to get a little tear out of me when she started to cry.

Probably one of my favorite parts of the wedding day actually was on our way into the park. Mackenzie’s dad was BELTING out the lyrics too Roxanne while it played on the iPod. I knew right then and there that I belonged with this tribe of crazy people and I knew that of all the places in the world I could be, right here was it.

It was time for the first look and Mackenzie and Jon couldn’t have been any more cute and sweet with each other. There was so many more photos that I didn’t have space for, but the look of shock on his face when he saw her for the first time was legit priceless.

In an updated version of weddings, Mackenzie read her vows off of any iPad. But as technology always seem to does in the worst time, it froze up for a few minutes and she had to ad-lib some of them until the dang iPad caught up. But it’s moments like that that you can’t script and make a day so much more memorable.

And speaking of which, the moment before they kissed, but after they were announced married is on of my all time favorite moments for any wedding I have ever done. The look of pure joyful bliss is something I will forever remember and I am so glad I captured it for them. After getting plenty of family photos and photos of them with their dog Pizza, we went into the forrest and got photos of Mackenzie and Jon together. I for one have never seen a dress like her’s before! The lace was done in such a way that it didn’t feel dated or tacky, but was elegant and in some of these shots, straight up epic!

One thing I knew, but never comprehended until now was just HOW BIG those sequoia trees really are. Like, whoa! It would take at least 5-15 people to surround some of those dress. Like the one we got of them standing in. It had that perfect little nook in it for people to stand in and feel tiny.

We started to head back to the house after about 2 hours after the ceremony. It was hot and they wanted to get out of their wedding attire, but they also wanted to get back and eat something! At this point no one had really eaten for upwards of 5 hours!

When we got back to the house it shifted gears very quickly. Both Jon and Mackenzie were out of their wedding attire and into their street clothes, with the acceptation of a veil for Jon!

This end of the night was something incredibly special for me to witness. It wasn’t like a normal wedding reception. Sure there were toasts, food, and cake. But it was like being invited to thanksgiving dinner. In that it’s only family, so no one is holding back.

We all laughed, silly games were played, stories told, and even some tears. I had never felt so welcomed into a family before at a wedding, and I hope that I get to experience this kind of love and togetherness at future weddings.