Any Other Photo {Allyson and Victor}

When Allyson’s AOP dropped into my inbox I did a double take.  To my left was a window, and outside of that window was rain, and a street, and a bin.  In front of me, on the screen, was a bride and groom in front of a backdrop so much bigger than they are.  I then thought: “hmmm, you don’t need a fancy backdrop to be married” and then I read Allyson’s text and shut the hell up.

I love this AOP.  I love that Allyson and Victor got married in the place that meant the most to them in the world, and I love how this picture tells a thousand stories of their history and interests and each other.  They share something with this beautiful part of the world, and given their history with it, that’s exactly as it should be.  It’s not nature over mankind, it’s a joining of the two.  Over to you, Allyson:


(Photo by the extraordinary Matt Theilen, and you can see more photos from Allyson and Victor’s beautiful wedding here.  Anyone with me for lying down on a giant slab of granite in a wedding dress?)

Victor and I were very lucky to be married in our cathedral, Yosemite National Park in California. We both like to rock climb and after we moved to California in 2007, Yosemite became a very important place for our relationship. We enjoyed making the four-hour drive away from the hustle and bustle of San Francisco as often as we could, into the mountains where we had many adventures and made many good friends. We were sad to leave the park when we moved away from California in 2009 to North Carolina where I had been accepted to law school. After Victor proposed during my first year, we were so happy that our families were supportive of our wish to marry in Yosemite. And, the planning began.

I love this photo. It captures everything we wanted our wedding to be: sensual and blessed…and epic. There was not a cloud in the sky and we were in our favorite place on the planet. We joked leading up to the wedding that even if everything was a nightmare, at least we would be in Yosemite. But, nothing was a nightmare (of course!) and the feeling we both had in this photo was, “Let us bask in our luck and in the joy that is pulling off our wedding, shall we?!”

It’s difficult to plan a wedding, as every bride, groom, bride-to-be, mother, father, bridesmaid, etc. knows. The moments leading up to our ceremony and afterward were colored by joy, of course, but also by relief. Relief that the day had finally come! Relief that we had pulled it off! We had been selfish enough to plan our wedding in a place that is a little (ok, a lot) hard to get to, and yet, dozens of family and friends had made the journey and there we were, having our picture taken with the entire Yosemite Valley behind us.

I also love Victor’s shoes in this photo because they are a little bit of non-tradition poking out and so indicative of our adventuresome nature. (Victor is wearing climbing approach shoes because we had just stomped around the park with our photographers, climbing around and posing in hard to reach places.) There’s the Valley in the background, I see El Capitan on the left and think of the time Victor and I climbed it (yes, even five days trapped together on a granite wall 900 meters tall couldn’t break us!). I see Bridalveil Fall on the right, a place that gets first light in the morning, where we met many friends, many times to share cups of coffee before heading off for our adventures. And way in the back is Half Dome, something we haven’t climbed together yet, but are looking forward to conquering as husband and wife.

This backdrop–the mountains, granite walls, waterfall–and the serenity we’re showing remind me that even through all the hectic months leading up to the big event, it was all worth it. And, now we’re married!, I’ve finished school, and we’re moving back to California.

Categories: Any Other Photo
27 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Vivienne
    Posted June 29, 2012 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow.

    The words are good, very good….but that picture is perfection.

  2. Sandra C
    Posted June 29, 2012 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    My goodness, those photos took my breath away. Not the location so much (which is stunning) but they have captured the love. I also love that the wedding has totally reflected you as a couple which can be lost in the mix sometimes. Amazing. xx

  3. Carly
    Posted June 29, 2012 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Such a beautiful photo.

  4. Posted June 29, 2012 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    Gorgeous – Feel like I’ve breathed in lungfuls of fresh air ready to start the day. Happy Friday.

  5. Posted June 29, 2012 at 7:26 am | Permalink


  6. Lexie
    Posted June 29, 2012 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    The photo is just stunning and always would be, but how cool is it to know a little bit more behind the scenes, really does add another dimension!

  7. Sarah
    Posted June 29, 2012 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    Wow!! Can’t find any other words… Amazing AOP!!

  8. Mahj
    Posted June 29, 2012 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Holy crap, this is amazing! I love Yosemite but had no idea you could get married there (shows how much i know).

    Officially putting my vote in for the next AOParty to take place in Yosemite!


  9. Katielase
    Posted June 29, 2012 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Oh my holy WOW!

    That image is beyond stunning, and I thought the text would never be able to match up to something that breathtaking but it absolutely does, and then some. Gorgeous.

    K x

  10. Posted June 29, 2012 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    That is a staggeringly beautiful photo. Love how meaningful it is for the couple :)

  11. Posted June 29, 2012 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    This is so very beautiful. Every couple that marries somewhere meaningful for them is so so lucky, I wish the two of you a lifetime of adventures together x ps. I love his walking boots

  12. Esme
    Posted June 29, 2012 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Yey! I was at this wedding! And it was mind-blowingly gorgeous. Allyson (one of my very most favourite people in the world) looked stunning (you think she looks good here? You haven’t even seen the 2nd dress!) and the whole thing was SO special.

    And this photo – got to go down as one of the most BEAUTIFUL pictures EVER. I love how they look so at peace in their favourite place but mostly that Vic is looking at Allyson with so much love.

    I look forward to seeing them again in Yosemite (or anywhere else in the world) as soon as possible.

    Big smiles and few tears here…


    • Posted June 29, 2012 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      Esme. I am beyond jealous that you were a guest at this wedding. So far beyond, that jealousy is a mere speck on the horizon. Waaaaaa!

  13. Fiona
    Posted June 29, 2012 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Wow, this is just beautiful!

  14. Posted June 29, 2012 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Just lovely. What a special place to be married.

  15. Sandra Trionfini
    Posted June 29, 2012 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    As mom of the bride, all I can say is I am very proud of this couple, and not just because of the wedding! Thanks for the fun this morning, Esme.

  16. Peridot
    Posted June 29, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Wow – what a setting.

    We’re actually going to Yosemite as part of our honeymoon and I’m very excited. We don’t climb but do love to hike. Any tips from Alyson or Esme would be great! For example, I have no idea if the place we want to stay is well placed or not. Either way, I will NOT be looking that good in the photos!

    • Esme
      Posted June 29, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      I’m going to write some reviews of places for Emma at the Honeymoon Project – take a look there soon! Or tweet me @Real_Married

    • Allyson
      Posted June 30, 2012 at 12:46 am | Permalink

      I posted a bit of information below and would be happy to share more. I hope you have the best trip! Thank you for your comment.

  17. Posted June 29, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Becci…you made me snort laughing…I’m with you all the way!

  18. Allyson
    Posted June 30, 2012 at 12:45 am | Permalink

    Thank you, everyone. It was such a pleasure to see this post when I got home today. And all these lovely comments! I really debated sending this photo for exactly the same thought Anna had, “You don’t need a fancy backdrop.” But, alas, this was the photo I wanted to write about the most and I’m so glad I was able to share.

    I would be so very happy to share information about Yosemite. If you’re driving from San Francisco, you can avoid Old Priest Grade if you want–it’s really steep–by staying straight on Route 120 (New Priest Grade). Once you get into Yosemite Valley, an easy hike for a half day is to Mirror Lake. The Falls Trail (it’s a bit dusty in parts) and the Four Mile Trail are a bit more difficult and also popular. And, if you get a chance, grab a cocktail (or two!) at the Ahwahnee bar! I recommend the El Capitini. :) In Tuolumne Meadows, there is a more alpine landscape. You can hike part of the John Muir Trail, but you need a permit for this and I’m not sure how difficult they are to get. I’ve also heard that the hike to Elizabeth Lake is beautiful. Wherever you go, bring sunscreen! (The sun is soo strong there.) Also, fill up on gas before you get into the park and try to pick up as many groceries as you can. There are markets (no gas station in Yosemite Valley, but there is one in Tuolumne Meadows and at Crane Flat, before the Valley inside the park), but the prices are a bit higher than you’d find along the road.

    I could go on and on! Please, just reply if you want more information. I love to give tips about our favorite place. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

    • Peridot
      Posted July 1, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

      Wow – I’m going to print this out and take it with me. And I’ve signed up to the Honeymoon Project in anticipation of Esme’s post.

      Allyson – is this a good place to stay? It sounds fabulous but I don’t want to have to drive an hour or more to start hiking every day. And the pressure of getting everything perfect for a honeymoon! Argghhhh.


      • Allyson
        Posted July 4, 2012 at 12:46 am | Permalink

        I know just where this is–Buck Meadows–it is outside the park, so you’re right, it would take about an hour to drive in and out. But, it’s already in the “mountains” and by the time we get to Buck Meadows, we usually feel like we’re almost there. It’s difficult to find accommodations in Yosemite Valley unless you book six months in advance (Curry Village is the easiest) and there are some places in the park that are even farther than Buck Meadows (Wawona). When you weigh all that, this really isn’t a bad location at all.

        A couple things to consider: How long are you staying? If it’s just a couple days, and you want to go to Tuolumne, too, being farther out of the park might not be as bad. But, it might get tiring if you plan to stay for several days and want to go into the park each day. What type of place do you need? If you can camp, you’ll have more luck finding a spot in the park. There’s another hotel on Rte 140 called Yosemite View Lodge a bit closer, just outside a park entrance (still about 30 minutes into Yosemite Valley). I find it a bit expensive–still not as expensive as the Lodge inside the park–but it has everything (restaurant, pools, hot tubs, river views). It is also more difficult to get to Tuolumne from there, since you have to go back toward San Francisco on Rte 120 for a ways until you turn right on Tioga Road.

        Hope this helped!

        • Peridot
          Posted July 4, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Permalink


          We’re only there for 3 days. Don’t really want to camp on honeymoon but don’t want to take out a 2nd mortgage either! I am slightly entraned by the hand-feeding hummingbirds thing. And maybe the cookies a bit too….!

          @Becci – yeah, that wouldn’t take up my luggage allocation at all! No veil for me either – would a tea-towel do you?!

  19. Aunt Dani
    Posted June 30, 2012 at 3:09 am | Permalink

    Beautiful setting, beautiful bride, beautiful wedding. It was one of a kind and we were so happy to be there to share it with such a loving couple!

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

More here.

image by Lucy Stendall Photography

Find me a random post