Backyard Wedding in the Tetons


Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Where words fail, where photos fail, an experience can describe. I could tell you how amazing it is to see alpenglow on the Grand Teton and show you the images I took, but nothing will accurately describe seeing something as mysterious and majestic as the Teton range under the bright pink light of sunrise like actually being there would. We always aim to live these experiences with our couples, and make our most valiant efforts to capture it, though the truest description of the moment will only live in our minds. These photos serve as an attempt, though futile at best, to remind us of those memories that are sealed in our hearts. Capturing and sharing it will always bring me joy, and part of that is because I know that there’s this sort of secret we share only with the people who were actually there. The photos will always hold a mystery in them and I love that.

And there are the moments of vulnerability that happen when we’re shooting that I find so much inspiration in. More than inspiration—hope. I deeply believe in the beauty and truth of the moments we capture. That in a few seconds of walking across a path, a photo can capture a brief, unnoticeable, half-second of an intimate glance shared between a couple. It’s this that I find the most beautiful. Subtle moments of honesty, unscripted truth. So while we give little directions when working with a couple, the end goal isn’t whatever “pose” we give—it’s the small way he touches his bride’s shoulder while moving into that position. It’s the way he breathes in the smell of her hair while holding her close. It’s the way she looks up at him in between shuffling her feet to a more comfortable position. That’s the real stuff. No amount of scripting, posing, directing can force those moments to happen. They happen on their own, without warning, and I always aim to be ready to capture it. Chris and Mara’s interactions were full of these moments. It was so apparent in their engagement session, and again while we marveled at the sunrise we watched together on the morning of their wedding.

Chris and Mara aren’t the type to be overtly affectionate in front of others. In fact, they opted for a sunrise first look so they could have as much time alone on their wedding day as possible. Without the eyes of others on them, they watched the sunrise cast it’s light on the Grand Teton, looking on over the National Park where they’ve each had memories. So embracing, alone, while one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the world is lit up by the warm light of sunrise, opened up the more vulnerable parts of their connection to each other.

Intimate Backyard Wedding in Jackson

After sunrise, we went back to Chris’s aunt’s cabin where they had their ceremony in the backyard with an unreal view of the Grand Teton. I love backyard weddings for their familiarity and lack of pretense. A wedding venue can be beautiful of course, but getting married somewhere you’re familiar with, a place you’ve had some memories in, with the people you love most in life watching, only establishes a deeper connection to place you already love. I love that familiarity.

And to further establish that familiarity, we’d actually already photographed parts of this family before. We shot Chris’s sister Alison’s wedding in Zion a year and a half prior to this. We felt welcomed in as friends to Chris and Mara’s wedding, a privilege to see the growth and change in a family, and to meet the new additions. This one felt close and warm.

Wedding Portraits in Grand Teton National Park

We of course couldn’t get enough of the Tetons, so we met Mara & Chris in the park the next day to explore without the pressure of a timeline or other events going on. After a long wedding day and entertaining friends and family for a weekend, Mara & Chris finally got some time to take in the fact that they were now married. I love day-after sessions for this reason—all the pressure is off, and you get to just be with your best friend.

Mount Moran and the background of the Teton range isn’t a bad place to celebrate :)

Cedar & Pines is an adventurous wedding and elopement photographer duo made up of Nate and Megan Kantor, a married couple living on the road in their Airstream and traveling the American West. They believe in honest wedding photography, capturing the small candid moments to the epic landscape views. They travel to photograph adventure elopements and destination weddings in Colorado, California, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Wyoming, Washington, Patagonia and the ends of the earth.