Raych and I met at work in 2015 at the Los Angeles LGBT+ Center. We instantly became good friends bonding over movies, music, and our love for the outdoors. Two years into our friendship, we realized we both had feelings for one another. Our friendship was so special to us that we were conflicted because we did not want to ruin the beautiful connection we had with each other. Unbeknownst to us, dating was so effortless. We had built such a strong foundation for a relationship that it only made us feel secure in our decision to pursue something on a deeper level. We spent the next three years traveling and camping.
In 2021 Raych insisted on planning her own birthday trip. She even invited my brother and parents (I was confused). Little did I know they were all in on the secret. Raych proposed at a cabin up in Idyllwild, California. She planned a beautiful dinner and surprised me by including my best friends in our celebration.
Wedding planning was intimidating because we were both very clear about wanting our vendors to be LGBTQ+ inclusive. Having to ask vendors, “Are you LGBTQ+ friendly?” made us sad, but luckily, every vendor we contacted was warm and welcoming. For our officiant, we wanted to ensure that our individuality, dedication to personal growth, and love for the outdoors was a center focus. Raych and I wanted our guests to feel our love through shared stories and laughter.
We knew we wanted to have an intimate outdoor wedding when wedding planning started. Yosemite had always been a place that stood out to us during our travels. There is no place like it. We found a venue just one mile from Yosemite’s western border. Evergreen Lodge at Yosemite felt like Dirty Dancing meets summer camp, and we knew this was the place we wanted to get married. We wanted to provide our guests with a unique experience. With a guest list of 26 people, Raych and I dreamt up what we wanted our outdoor wedding to look like, but more importantly, what we wanted it to feel like.
We planned a weekend of activities from hiking the Mist Trail in Yosemite National Park to swimming at the Rainbow pool and provided guests with welcome boxes filled with snacks, local Yosemite beers, and a “Welcome to Yosemite” postcard.
We got married on 6/26/22, just seven years after gay marriage was legalized in the United States.
For our wedding, we went for a chill, woodsy boho vibe with a horse trailer photo booth, lawn games, lounge area and a fire pit. We also included a horror movie seating chart and table names that all take place in the woods, cabins, summer camps, or camping. A nod to Raych’s love for horror movies. We even created our own wedding playlists from the pre-ceremony, ceremony, and reception.
Another primary reason we wanted to get married up in Yosemite was the opportunity to take pictures in the park. We decided to take day-after photos in the park, with the original plan to do sunrise photos. Our photographer approached us just days before our wedding about the idea of doing sunrise to sunset photos. Hesitant at first, due to the long day we had planned, we decided to go for it. When were we ever going to do this again? After just 45 minutes of sleep the day after our wedding, we got up and started preparing for our sunrise photos. Although we were incredibly sleepy, it was one of the most memorable experiences of our lives. Our photographer was amazing and a Yosemite local, so we got to experience Yosemite in a different way.
Raych and I are absolutely thankful for our friends, family, and vendors for making our wedding day possible, and we cannot wait to continue exploring the world together.
Photography by Kate Michelle Photography
Accessories Lili Claspe, Ellie Vail, Thursday Boots
Cake Simply Delish
Cake Topper & Florist Willow Floral Design
Catering & Venue Evergreen Lodge at Yosemite
Decorative Elements T.J. Maxx, Big Lots, Oriental Trading, Marshalls, Quick Candles, Luxe B Pampas Grass
Desserts Donuts A Go Go
Dress Boutique Dreamers and Lovers
Drinks Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Company
Engagement Rings VRAI
Hair Annie Ainley, Danny
Makeup Alyse Jones
Officiant Kathleen Malloy
Photo Booth The Mirrorage
Printer Prints of Love
Shoes Steve Madden, Thursday Boots
Signage & Stationery Splendid Moment
Suit Designer Men’s Wearhouse
Shirt Nordstrom Rack
Wedding Rings VRAI, Mullen Jewelers