Smoky Mountain Elopement | Yurt Glamping at Roamstead

Monday, December 11th, 2023

Roamstead · Cosby, Tennessee

On a November morning, we woke up in our yurt at Roamstead campground for a vow renewal experience. My partner, Colin, built a fire at the couple’s yurt while they rolled out of bed and began making coffee on the porch. Tunes as they rendezvoused in each other’s arms, and they made us all the best pumpkin pancakes. This was only the beginning of what would continue to be a soul-touching day in the Smoky Mountains.

we’re not really strangers

After enjoying heartfelt conversation with Déja Imani and Jessie over breakfast, we went back inside their yurt for a game of We’re Not Really Strangers. These cards are designed to build emotional connection and discover the depth within one another. The intentionality of adding this element to an elopement day meant to recognize the renewal of the vows between a couple is profoundly beautiful.

Portraits at the Campground

We took a long break so they could spend quality time alone before changing into their wedding attire and taking couples portraits throughout Roamstead’s property. With the sunset ceremony taking place at a heavily populated location in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, these woods allowed space to connect privately before recommitting to their marriage as the renewed Self they both are now.

Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Clingmans Dome is the highest point in Tennessee, chosen to symbolize the highest Self within Déja Imani and Jessie. To avoid the large crowd at the overlook, we chose to hold the ceremony on path located in the immediate vicinity of the parking area. For them it wasn’t so much about seeing the full view of the mountains as it was seeing each other for who they really were.

Smoky Mountain Elopement

As the sun faded behind the peaks, these two people and the love of my life talked about growth and divine union. I watched in awe as my partner officiated his first wedding ceremony, and we all cried while he spoke the last passage in Yung Pueblo’s The Way Forward. This third book in The Inward Trilogy was just released on the couple’s third wedding anniversary: October 10, 2023. Since his collection has been such an inspiration and tool for their healing journey, it was only fitting to include a reading from the final page that spoke to the moment.

The Way Forward

where do we go from here? forward. the only way is forward. this journey has been long for the both of us. when it started, we were totally different people. we were full of hurt, we were confused, we were exhausted of being on what felt like an endless loop of sorrow. at some point it clicked in the both of us that life could be better, that it didn’t need to be this hard, and that there had to be a healthier way to relate to the ups and downs. we searched, and we found our paths; we found our own ways to do the work. we used our effort to start chipping away at old patterns, to see things differently, and to finally lay to rest the past that we unconsciously carried. now we know that healing is possible, that change not only happens around us but also happens within us. we feel new, whole, yet still far away from perfect. if we are going to keep moving forward, we have to because that is the only real option we have, we need to stop pushing ourselves to be perfect and just focus on putting one foot in front of the other; step by step we will get there. the place of our goals, the feeling of home, the feeling of success that we can give to ourselves only by fully accepting who we are. the world will keep changing, everything will keep changing, we will keep changing. but we will have our lessons, our memories, our peace, and this growing feeling of love for ourselves and all beings to help guide us. you and i need to remember that the point of all this work was not to escape life or stop difficulty from ever happening again; it was actually the opposite: we taught ourselves to feel again so that we can embrace life. no matter how sweet, rough, or temporary it may be, let’s promise ourselves to feel it all and to remember how fleeting it all really is.

– Yung Pueblo

Glamping in the Smoky Mountains

We headed back to camp for the night, ordered takeout from Roamstead’s in-house restaurant, and got cozy in the yurt. It doesn’t get much better than a campfire under the stars, wine and pizza in bed, and slices of rainbow wedding cake!

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