Michelle and Jonathan: Muir Woods wedding

Earlier this year Michelle and Jonathan hiked 140 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail in just 15 days. I can only imagine the peace and connectedness that one feels with nature after experiencing it the way they did.

In April 1898, John Muir said

Walk away quietly in any direction and taste the freedom of the mountaineer. Camp out among the grass and gentians of glacier meadows, in craggy garden nooks full of Nature’s darlings. Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. As age comes on, one source of enjoyment after another is closed, but Nature’s sources never fail. … The petty discomforts that beset the awkward guest, the unskilled camper, are quickly forgotten, while all that is precious remains. Fears vanish as soon as one is fairly free in the wilderness.

When they planned their wedding, Michelle and Jonathan looked for a naturally beautiful and enchanted setting “with big trees.” And they found the perfect ceremony site in a small clearing on the Muir Woods Fern Creek Trail.

Dick and I were more than happy to make the drive north. Of course, on the morning of the wedding we had to stop on the way to get a photo of the Golden Gate bridge.micjon_01

Michelle and a small group of ladies gathered at a beach house in Muir Beach to prepare for the day.micjon_02micjon_03micjon_04

the ring story: they were the first of the San Francisco tourists to purchase a pearl oyster that morning. Before opening it, the man selling it had them place their hands over the oyster as he offered a blessing. When they opened it, this stunning little beauty revealed itself. They later took the pearl to be appraised and discovered that it was flawless and quite valuable.  Jonathan then incorporated it, along with diamonds that had been in the family, into a setting that he designed for her.

Jonathan’s wedding day card to his bride-to-bemicjon_06micjon_07

“As we walk this journey from beginning to end, I’m glad I have my true love and best friend”micjon_08

Muir Woods has restrictions on the types of foliage that you are able to bring into the park. So to play it safe, Aunt Di made bouquets out of artificial plants, and they turned out lovely.micjon_09micjon_10micjon_11micjon_12

It’s strange to think that I’ve known this beautiful, strong woman since she was a tiny little 11-year old.  I could not be more grateful that photographing this wedding gave us the opportunity to reconnect. A gorgeous bride.  And no, that’s not Photoshop. Her eyes really are that amazing!micjon_13micjon_14

Good friends who travelled to celebrate with her

We knew it would be dark when we returned to the house later to cut the cake, so we took a few photos in daylight before heading to the ceremony. It was just too adorable to not capture in the best light possible… micjon_21micjon_22

Jonathan and his guys dressed and took some photos at a nearby hotel.micjon_23micjon_24micjon_25micjon_26micjon_27

Meanwhile, in the woods, Dick got some great shots of the guys waiting to get started.micjon_40MSJW_1007_1

Michelle makes her way down the trail to the ceremony sitemicjon_42micjon_43micjon_44micjon_45MSJW_1177_1micjon_47MSJW_1201_1The park required us to enter after the official open hours, and given the time of year, it got dark pretty quickly.  But even in the dark, we were able to capture a few formal photos right after the ceremony.

The crowd helped light up the happy couple as we exited the trail.micjon_53micjon_54

Next, a delicious dinner at The Barrel House Tavern in nearby Sausalito. MSJW_1431

Then, back at the house, it was time to enjoy good company, drinks, and of course, wedding cake.micjon_55micjon_56micjon_57micjon_58micjon_59micjon_60micjon_61micjon_62