Joshua Tree National Park Elopement

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Sunrise in the California desert

Few places in the world are as striking as Joshua Tree National Park, especially in spring after a heavy, wet winter. There were flowers blooming absolutely everywhere, Joshua trees were starting to fruit, cactus with brightly colored flowers dotted the desert floor. Diana and Isiah picked the perfect time and location to elope—no decorations more stunning than the blooming desert landscape itself.

I’ve loved the Southern California desert since the first time I went there probably ten years ago. It’s only grown in my heart since hiking the length of it a few years ago. There are fantastic colors in the plants and strong smells of sage, there’s wild chia growing along the trail, sunsets that stretch along the valley floor for miles. It’s an extremely inspiring and nostalgic place for me, so when Diana and Isiah started talking about spending their wedding day exploring around the cholla and granite boulders, we were all in.

We were so content sharing one of our favorite places in the world with a couple who loves it just as much as (maybe more than) we do. We spent all day with them, from spending sunrise watching the light gracefully warm the Joshua trees, to their ceremony at the base of Cap Rock, to getting tattoos (epic), and watching the sun go down behind mount San Jacinto. They did it their way. No rules, no strict timeline—just love for those around them, love for the desert, love for the one they stood next to.

Tattoos and sunset on the wedding day

Every part of Diana and Isiah’s day felt real and right. Traditions that mattered remained, while things that didn’t were thrown to the wind. And after their ceremony they made it permanent by getting tattoos together, each on their middle finger, representing the alchemy symbol for air.

After all the scheduled events were over, we went back into the park for a short hike to watch the sun go down. There’s something that happens when you’re tired, when all the hype settles, when you’re in a quiet place with the one you love—it finally hits. Since Diana and Isiah had a traditional Jewish ceremony that includes a ketubah instead of vows, they decided to write some more personal words to each other and read them during sunset. The warm California sun went down behind them as they read vows to each other. The perfect way to end the most adventure filled day.


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.