HEART+          .


An Intimate Airbnb and Taft Point Elopement in Yosemite

Eric and Kathy. I met them for the first time at a casting call that I did for a HOLIDAY COLLECTION in 2018 which you can see here. It was a day I’ll never forget because I found myself talking to them in the parking lot of the Kern County Museum after our session as if I’d known them all of my life. Feeling super compelled, I begin speaking to them about their future and I don’t remember the exact words that I spoke, simply the intense feelings I felt trying to express to them that I knew they were meant for one another. Aka, I knew they’d be married one day.

Fast forward to 2019 when I get the news from Kathy that ….Eric proposed in SF, literally the same weekend I was there and that I would get the joy of documenting this moment/season for them! You can check out their gorgeous engagement session here.

The plan…that they would marry on 10.10.20….the verdict….COVID!

Like several of the 2020 couples, Eric and Kathy were left rethinking their wedding and what that would look like with covid involved. I received the call from Kathy that they wanted to elope! It was going to be their anniversary in July and they were ready to elope. We were only just about 3 weeks out when they decided this, so I went on full swing planning mode helping Eric and Kathy decide where they would elope and then helping them to create the right experience involving plans for an AirBNB getting ready moment down to the very end where they would have a sunset dance.


The hike. Kathy, in her hiking boots and stunning wedding gown just swept through the forest with intensity and desperation to get to Taft Point to see her man. It was so beautiful to watch. She reminded me of a warrior princess. While Eric calmly made his way to the peak of the mountain and waited patiently for his bride to arrive. Along the way other hikers congratulating Kathy and letting her know that her soon to be husband was up just a ways ahead of her. This sweet older man asked if the bride was wearing hiking boots, and if she was, he just had to see it for himself. He runs into Kathy, takes a peek at her boots and then says “I’ve never seen a bride on these hikes actually wear hiking boots, my day has been made!” He just glowed with delight and we just smiled at that very simple sweet moment.

After the ceremony and portraits at Taft Point in Yosemite, we headed back to the AirBNB to find what smelled like a homestyle italian restaurant! I’m not kidding. [I’ll share why in a minute]. When we arrived, Eric and Kathy changed out of their wedding attire and changed into their comfortable Mr and Mrs outfits. I smiled, because this is who they are together, they find comfort and home in each other. Right there, at sunset, outside of the AirBNB cabin, they had their first dance while witnessed by us and their friends. It was playful, romantic, flirty, passionate…all of the things that identify them as a couple wrapped up in this small segment. It was breathtaking and we all felt it. They ended the night by cutting a small cake, eating a delicious home cooked meal and toasting to a beautiful day and the start of their new chapter as husband and wife.


Brian Yanez: Videographer for Behind the Scenes. Thank you Brian for creating such a beautiful story of how it felt to be in that space feeling everything we did with Eric and Kathy. It is breathtaking. See the video here.

Jacob Tovar: Second Photographer. Jacob, thank you so much for being all in. For giving me amazing tips about shooting in Yosemite and for creating with me and helping me to make this collection more wholesome!

Jose: Best Man/Officiant. Jose, it was so hard to believe that their wedding was the first wedding you officiated. You spoke beautifully and presented yourself with such poise. You are an amazing best friend and I was certain that Kathy could not get married without you there and I found it so exciting that you became the officiant. Beautiful job!

Abbi: Best Man’s Girlfriend/Secret Weapon. Abbi, I do not know how you’re not doing stuff like this for a living but wow was I impressed by EVERYTHING that you did! You amazed me. You were calm and elegant in your approach and you had everything down to the T! The display of snacks while getting ready. The snack bags you sent of amazing food for us photographers. The detail in the gift basket. The home cooked italian food that awaited Kathy and Eric and the cake, I mean, how did you bake a cake and decorate it while we were gone! You were so supportive to us all. I can go on and on about you and I look forward to working with you in the future. I’m determined to! Thank you so much.

Eric and Kathy. Thank you for welcoming me into your lives and your heart. You have a friend [sort of like a big sis] for the rest of your lives. I will always think of you guys and I’ll always be here for you guys. Cheering you on, year after year, and available any time you need it. I’ll always go back to the day at the parking lot of the museum where I knew you’d be together forever. Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Fernandez! [Ahhhhhhhhh]

With all my heart and soul, Rubi Z