Jami wanted a destination wedding where friends and family could escape for a few days + enjoy quality time together. Aaron wanted a laid-back wedding day atmosphere in a place their guests would be excited to travel to. A deciding factor when picking their venue was that they liked how Yosemite was on so many of their guests’ bucket lists. So the Evergreen Lodge was the perfect place to have it all and show off one of the most beautiful parts of California to their East Coast friends!
More from J + A on their venue, We met in New York City but recently moved to San Francisco. We wanted a venue that not only would be fun, but also a location that was local enough to bring our future children to on regular occasions. We arrived at Evergreen Lodge a few days before the wedding and our guests filtered in throughout the week. It was great to walk around the lodge grounds and bump into new guests coming through every day, and to be able to spend time with them before the official ceremony. By our wedding day, we were able to just focus and enjoy the occasion. We had already said our hellos and were no longer nervous or anxious. It was all about living in the moment and being happy.
Thanks so much to Braedon Flynn for the gorgeous photos and big congrats to Jami + Aaron on a truly beautiful day!
What a stunning Inbal Dror wedding dress!
And Jami’s sweet baby’s breath bouquet was simple + perfect for the setting.
Yosemite sure does provide a breathtaking backdrop for photos + Braedon totally nailed it with these stunning portraits of Jami + Aaron!
Processional: Wedding Party: Magic – Coldplay; Bride: Heartbeats – Jose Gonzalez
Recessional: Ain't No Mountain High Enough – Marvin Gaye + Tammi Terrell
First Dance: Sweet Thing – Van Morrison
There were so many great moments during the weekend, but a few stand out for Jami:
1. Exchanging Vows. I thought I was going to be so nervous and emotional, I wondered if I was going to regret saying our own written vows. But walking down that aisle with my father, I came into this moment of clarity and I was totally focused. I was actually hardly emotional. I was so present, confident and happy.
2. My father's speech. My dad is a retired professor so I knew his speech was going to be good. But I was simply not prepared for how much it moved me. He was touching, and even ended up breaking into the chorus of “Sunrise, Sunset” from Fiddler on the Roof. Also, like the teacher he is, the speech had a strong lesson that was relatable to everyone as he talked about how time flies and each moment should be cherished. It was awesome.
3. Our "Friends" Party. We both agreed that some of our favorite wedding memories happened when the friends of the couple were partying without older guests around. In order to maximize those times, as well as convince our friends to come out earlier, we threw a "friends" party for just our friends, no parents allowed, the night before. We kept it simple, renting a small room at the lodge, ordering in pizza, and making a run to a local grocery store to stock up on beer pong supplies. It was great start to our weekend, connecting with our friends in a very relaxing environment. Afterwards, we headed to the Lodge's Tavern where they were throwing a Prom Party as a commemorative salute to the anniversary of the 2013 Yosemite Rim Fire that nearly demolished the lodge. They had a DJ and we just made our own dance party. At the end of the night, we were named Prom King and Prom Queen (our friends might have stuffed the ballot box!).
^^ Um, does it get any cuter?! ^^
Getting married in a wooded setting definitely has its benefits, and a cozy fire pit lounge is for sure one of the reasons it’s so great! This is our idea of perfection.
See more of J + A’s beautiful day in the film below by Midview Studios:
An often-overlooked aspect of a wedding that we thought worked very well for us was thinking about, and being creative with, how guests are involved with the wedding celebration. It was important to us that our guests felt very included as they had been such an important part of our lives and we wanted to give back and celebrate. We did a lot of things that made it personal for the guests and made sure they enjoyed the weekend as much as possible. We created pre-welcome packets and welcome packets that went over ideas of what to do over the weekend, how to navigate the park, and who was who. We set up games at the Lodge where guests could compete and meet. We made necklaces with everyone's name and colors that represented if they were on the Bride or Groom side and what group they were in, so it was easy for guests to connect and feel like they knew everyone there. And we had many guests speak at different times throughout the weekend, including introducing the other guests. It was hard work, but we felt it made a big difference in the weekend’s atmosphere. Guests kept coming up to us and commenting on how much fun everyone and everything was. We think a large part of that was because they felt comfortable and included.
photography: Braedon Flynn // venue name: Evergreen Lodge // planning: Tara at Evergreen Lodge // florals: Natalie Galasso Designs // wedding dress: Inbal Dror // hairpiece: Natalie Galasso Designs // bride's shoes: French Connection // bridesmaid dresses: Jim Hjelm // hair stylist: Shanna Campbell Hairstyling // makeup artist: Shanna Campbell Hairstyling // groom attire: Hickey Freeman // videography: Midview Studios // paper goods: George Matthaei // catering: Evergreen Lodge // music: DJ Cams // groom's tie: David Donahue // dessert: Mission Cupcakes