Tiny Wedding with Family in Yosemite Valley: Milly + Hector

This beautiful tiny wedding in Yosemite National Park is the perfect example of how to include some family while still having an elopement feel to the day.

Milly and Hector were joined for their I do’s by Milly’s 3 children as well as their parents and Hector’s grandma. They were literally surrounded by the people that love them the most!

They had their ceremony in the Valley with the gorgeous mountain and changing fall landscape as their background. Then the couple took off for some photos around the park with their photographer Dawn Kelly.

Check out the gorgeous photos and some Q&A with the couple below.

Photography: Dawn Kelly Photography

Location: Yosemite National Park

Beauty : MUAH by Summer

Flowers: The Enchanted Florist 

Q: How did you meet? Tell us about the proposal.

A: Hector and I met through an online dating app in 2006. I was a single mother of three working a lot and with little time to go out and date. He was single and living alone with his two dogs (a belgian malinois and miniature schnauzer and working a lot as a police officer. Our schedules made it very difficult to go out and meet people so we both relied on online dating. Thankfully we were both looking for a serious relationship and found each other. We quickly found that we had many things in common such as our love for visiting historical towns and our interest in nature and visiting National Parks.
Hector proposed on Thanksgiving day in 2018. He knows Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Every other year my children spend Thanksgiving with their father and this was the case in 2018. When that happens, my parents and I would make a trip to have Thanksgiving dinner in St. Augustine, FL. the oldest city in the U.S. Hector, his parents, my parents and I made the trip to St. Augustine where Hector planned to propose right by the towns Christmas tree. However, as soon as we arrived there it began to rain hard. We had dinner and even after we were done it was raining so much. Hector and his father disappeared and I thought they went to get the car so we could leave as it was impossible to walk through the town with that much rain. To my surprise, Hector and his father returned with a total of 6 umbrellas. We walked all the way to one of the gazebos in town and that is where he got on one knee and proposed to me. In my favorite town, during my favorite holiday.

Q: Tell us about your wedding! What was the inspiration behind your day? Did you have a specific theme, style or color palette? Did you incorporate any cultural or religious traditions in any part of your day?

A: We wanted our wedding to be inspired by nature. We chose Yosemite National Park for our wedding because we love the views there and we wanted our ceremony to be outdoors. We chose fall colors for our color palette because we were marrying in the fall.  I chose yellows/mustard to match the leaves in Yosemite during this time of the year.  We also used navy blue because my husband is a police officer and his uniform is blue. His suit was gray to match half dome. My husband’s suit had wood accents. His tie clip and cuffs links we made out of wood and had mountains engraved on them. We both wore boots. The box that held out rings was also made out of wood and engraves with our names and the date of our ceremony. Everything for our ceremony was planned around nature, fall, and Yosemite.

Q: What was the most anticipated or special moment of your wedding day?

A: Our vows! Hector has always given me the most beautiful cards. I have a collection of birthday cards, valentines day cards, anniversary cards, Mother’s Day cards… from him. They all have the sweetest messages written by him. I am not so great at gifting cards and writing messages on them. So when it came to writing our vows,  he would out do me big time. I was so nervous about reading my vows. I think in the end we both did really good but Hector made our officiant, myself, and both our parents cry just as I knew he would.

Q: Let’s talk fashion. How did you both choose your wedding day look? Describe the looks in detail.

A: My dress was a v neckline mermaid dress with a train. The entire dress was lace. The reason I chose lace is because I knew I would be traveling via airplane from Florida to California and needed a dress that would not wrinkle easily. Lace was perfect for traveling. I wore a silver accent belt with my dress to give the dress a classy detail. I wore rustic brown Merrell boots with my dress. They had a bit of a heel and were perfect for walking all over Yosemite while taking photos. My hair and make-up was done by M.U.A.H by Summer. I asked her for some brown gold tones for my eye shadow and a lighter color lipstick. This was my first time wearing fake eyelashes and it definitely took me a couple of minutes to get used to having them on. My hair was loose with soft curls and the side was picked up with a silver and pearl pin. My husband wore a gray suit. His tie clip and cuff links were made out of wood and had engraved mountains on them. His tie was plaid tie with white, navy blue and gray colors. He also wore brown boots with his suit. We chose rose gold for both of our wedding rings.

Q: Did you personalize the day in any way (food trucks, guest entertainment etc.)? What were some of your favorite parts of your wedding?

A: One of our favorite parts of our wedding was our dinner. We had initially booked a reservation at a restaurant. However, Dawn Kelly found an amazing caterer and baker (Jennifer from Cakewalk Heirloom Baking Company and Micro Farm). Initially we were only going to get the cake from her. However, after much thought and discussion, we felt the catering services in our Yosemite cabin would be a better option for us and our guests. The caterer came to our cabin while we were out for our ceremony and photos. She prepared a table and decorated with flowers, lights, plates and silverware. The design was rustic to go with our nature theme. She played soft music in the background. We were served champagne, wine, hors d’oeuvres, salad, an entree, cookies, cake, and espresso. Everything was freshly made from farm to table. Once we were done, the caterer packed and cleaned everything for us and left our cabin exactly how it was before. Our guest were so pleased they still talk about our wedding day dinner.

Q: Let’s talk wedding decor. How did you decorate your space for the ceremony and the reception? Was any part of the decor DIY?

A: We did not have any decorations for our ceremony. One of the reasons we chose Yosemite is because the views are so grand and beautiful, we felt we wouldn’t need any decorations. We were married in Cathedral Beach with a complete view of El Capitan.

Q: What were the florals like in your wedding? Did you use flowers in any of your design elements like the bridal bouquets, centerpieces or ceremony backdrop? Did they play an important part in the overall style of your wedding?

A: My bouquet was from The Enchanted Florist which is one of Dawn Kelly’s vendors. The bouquet was a mix of wild flowers and garden roses. The colors of the flower were yellow, blue, white and green. My husband’s boutonniere consisted of the same flowers as my bouquet.

Q: Do you have any wedding planning or marriage advice that you’d like to share with other couples planning their day?

A: My advice to any couple would be to start looking at the benefits of having an elopement rather than a big wedding. Elopements provide the couple with the ability to focus on their wants and needs rather than stressing over all the aspects of planning a large event. During the planning of our elopement, Hector and I were very connected and involved in every aspect of the planning process. Hector and I both wanted to have a stress free simple ceremony while also having the ability to make new memories with our immediate family. We took my children, my parents, his parents and grandmother all the way to California to watch us get married and experience the beauty of Yosemite National Park. We gave them something much more meaningful that a venue and a DJ. We gave them an experience and adventure they will never forget. As for Hector and I, we could not have been happier. Dawn Kelly Photography made the process so easy for us. She had all the vendors we needed, she knows Yosemite National Park and her work is amazing. We can honestly say our wedding day went perfect from beginning to end.