Knot Your Typical Wedding|
Having Your Day, Your Way
Story: Krista Franks
"In a tranquil meadow in Yosemite National Park, Reverend Autrey sat on horseback facing a bride and groom also on horseback. As the couple formed an everlasting commitment to one another, photographer Dan Warsinger captured priceless images that would be treasured by the betrothed for years to come. As the only witness to the elopement, Warsinger created images that would allow the meaningful event to be shared later with those not present.Reverend Autrey and Donna Nassar of Yosemite Weddings create many such personally tailored events for couples from across the world. Autrey and Nassar are not the only wedding coordinators to receive unique requests for wedding ceremonies. People are seeking out originality rather than grandeur, according to Genie Chamberlain, wedding consultant and owner of WedEd in Northeast Georgia. Many couples are choosing to forego tradition in favor of making their wedding day a distinctly personal celebration of their love and common bond. Like the couple on horseback, many are finding creative ways to incorporate their passions into their wedding ceremony.
Those who love to ski might plan a winter wedding and ski holiday for themselves and their guests at Yosemite National Park. Hiking, horseback riding and nearly any other outdoor activity can also be incorporated into a Yosemite wedding celebration, and the ceremony itself can take place at a range of sites throughout the park. "In the winter and spring we have magnificent waterfalls," says Autrey.Weddings with ten or fewer people can take place anywhere in the park with minimal preparation. Larger weddings may take place at Yosemite Valley Chapel or one of the hotels in the park. The Ahwahnee, "one of the country's most distinguished grand hotels," according to the Yosemite Wedding website, offers a beautiful lawn where couples may wed beneath "soaring pines, towering granite cliffs and magnificent waterfalls on the Ahwahnee lawn."
Autrey often performs ceremonies for people from the South, he says. While some might be concerned with the logistics of planning their special day from afar, Autrey says he often conducts weddings which the bride and groom have never visited the wedding location in person before. The entire wedding has been planned through email."