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Bryan & Jess | Yosemite Ahwahnee Hotel Wedding

Bryan and Jess were married in beautiful Yosemite National Park at the world famous Ahwahnee Hotel. The majesty and beauty of this wedding location is simply difficult to describe. However, let me stop before this blog post goes much further by saying that this was not at all a typical wedding. I prefer to limit the text of most of my posts and let the photos stand alone, though in this case the wedding deserves a bit more explanation. After shooting hundreds of weddings at this point in my career, is is pretty hard to get me to say “you want to do what?!” in a consultation. Of course, I was quick to say, “absolutely, that would be amazing!” for obvious reasons to follow. It’s the most unique and heartwarming ceremony I have been a part of to date.

Bryan and Jess are two of the most unique people I have ever encountered. Full of vivacity, audacity, unlimited energy, brilliance, and boundless kindness. Jessica met Bryan in downtown San Francisco, where she was attempting to carry a full size mattress on her back with the aid of a bicycle. Bryan offered his aid (and if you see Bryan you’ll know you want his help with moving anything heavy) and the rest is history. Well, almost. See, in spite of his immaculate professional appearance and career as a physical therapist Bryan was living in a hammock in a eucalyptus grove behind the UCSF campus in San Francisco. But that was ok. Within three months of meeting Bryan had mapped out a 10 year plan for their lives (and three years later they are still right on schedule). Jess, a management consultant, was to move in with a van they purchased next to the grove. As long as she was warm she was happy. Professional lives established, it was time to get married.

Intensely outdoorsy people, Yosemite was the easy choice for the wedding which took place on the Ahwahnee Hotel’s front lawn, with the granite cliffs, towering trees, and Yosemite Falls as gorgeous backdrops. Avid climbers, the pair cinched their union with a knot tying ceremony before retiring to a wonderful meal at the John Muir Room. The day didn’t end there though. All wedding guests who were able then donned their hiking gear (including Jess’ family from Lima, Peru who have never been hiking or to a national park before). We set out from the valley floor and hiked an intense five miles (and 2000+ feet up) the valley wall to Glacier Point with a spectacular view over the Yosemite high country. Once there, the couple, neither of whom has cut their hair even once since 18, committed to removing all of their hair for a symbolic fresh start together. With Bryan’s trademark dreadlocks, and Jess’ flowing long black hair, the change was stark for both.

Not stopping with their wedding adventure, the pair went down to Peru for a three month honeymoon. They started by getting passage on a ship heading down the Amazon river, where they did acroyoga (acrobatic couples yoga) among the trees. They then hiked out to remote Amazon villages so Bryan could study human posture not influenced by a lifetime of sitting in chairs. And finally, they shipped their tandem bicycle to Peru, which they rode though the Andes before returning back to the Bay Area. They are now house hunting, growing out their hair, and perhaps (though I doubt it’s possible) joining the ranks of the traditional corporate/young professional group. So now, at long last with the story aside, I hope you enjoy the photos.

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Bryan and Jess, it’s been an honor to be in your lives, and to have shared in your amazing wedding. I wish you the best. -Noah

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