a cycling couples scottish wedding in yosemite park california

Helen + Mike were married on 15th April 2018 at Cooks Meadow, Yosemite National Park in California, their story speaks for itself and I couldn’t not share it with you guys… an inspiring read! Thank you so much to John Johnston for sharing his images of the day with us. You can catch John on his website, Facebook or Instagram.

Please read more about Helen + Mike’s fantastic journey and the work they are doing for mental health services and charities like MIND on their website.

“Mike proposed in November 2016 and we left to cycle around the world in April 2017. We knew from the start that we wanted to get married in Yosemite Park, California but since we were travelling there by bicycle we didn’t set a date until we were in southern China, which was about September 2017. The only planning around it was getting the licenses, getting our wedding clothes made, requesting the presence of our small wedding party and getting our photographer out there with us. We weren’t even going to have a wedding cake until my maid of honour sneakily got one delivered, but I’m so glad she did.”

“We were already on such an amazing adventure and wanted it to be the most amazing adventure of our lives so getting married while we were on it only seemed natural.”

“Mike had visited Yosemite before and fell in love with it. It’s so beautiful that we decided that it would be the perfect place. Also Mike’s Tinder profile picture had been him on top of Half Dome in Yosemite.”

“Since there wasn’t a great deal of planning involved, the highlight was finding the right priced flight for everyone to fly out on! We were sitting outside a bakery in a tiny town in Australia when Mike checked the flight prices from Scotland to San Francisco. We couldn’t believe our eyes when we saw the extremely low price and we immediately emailed John, our photographer to see if he still had that weekend free! Mike and I were equal in the planning.”

“The biggest problem was when we were travelling through China because of the firewall. Our emails were through Google and even with a VPN it was occasionally a little difficult to send or receive emails. Fortunately we only had a small wedding so coordinating travel with guests was relatively easy and straight forward, and on top of that they were very understanding that we wouldn’t be able to do it all for them so they organised most of the logistics themselves. Our wedding party was parents each, one friend each plus their partners, our minister (also a friend) and our photographer and his wife. That made a total of twelve including us.”

“We got our wedding outfits custom made for us in Hoi An, Vietnam as we passed through. We had allowed ten days to rest and be present for any adjustments to be made. However, the clothes were made in a total of three days even with five fittings! I was a little nervous with getting the dress made without any female friends or family there to give additional feedback and assistance, but the shop we went to was extremely supportive. Mike’s suit turned out to be the most troublesome with getting his jacket to fit around his shoulders correctly, and to get the trousers right. Cyclist legs are a different shape to most.”

“Mike’s friend Sandra is a Presbytarian minister in Kentucky. They met at university in Scotland and have stayed in contact and we asked her to come to California to wed us. She did a secular ceremony for us and it was extremely personal.”

“There are certain viewpoints in Yosemite Park which are usually completely overcrowded by tourists, but for good reason. The views are like a painting and they really don’t seem real. Tunnel View is one of these points and we arrived at 7.00am as we descended from our lodge into the valley where the ceremony would be held. John, our photographer, had hoped to get a few shots at Tunnel View and we weren’t disappointed – it was practically completely empty and the early morning sun was perfect.”

“For both of us, the clearest memory was walking across the meadow towards our wedding location. We got married under a tree in Cook’s Meadow. Also indelibly inked into Mike’s mind was fluffing his vows when he spoonerised my first and second names.”

“Keep it simple, keep it small especially if you’re going abroad. Try and keep it relaxed and don’t panic too much about timings and placements and those sorts of things because if something goes wrong it’s not such a big deal if you keep a lot of flexibility in it.”


Location: Yosemite National Park, California

Wedding clothes: Kimmy Tailors, Hoi An, Vietnam

Bridal wedding shoes: Neiliansheng, Beijing, China

Wedding cake: Sweet Dreams Cakery, Oakhurst, California

Photographer: John Johnston Photography

“John provide unparalleled photography and is a genuinely lovely guy.”