Yosemite Elopement Guide

Yosemite Elopement Guide

Sunset Taft Point Elopement photographed by Christina Perhac Photography

Yosemite National Park offers an unparalleled backdrop for couples seeking an adventurous and unforgettable elopement or wedding experience. With its towering granite cliffs, majestic waterfalls, and ancient sequoia groves, Yosemite provides a breathtaking setting unlike any other. From exchanging vows against the iconic landmarks like El Capitan and Half Dome to exploring secluded trails and scenic viewpoints, couples can create cherished memories in this California gem. With a rich history, diverse ecosystems, and endless opportunities for adventure, Yosemite is the perfect destination for couples ready to embark on a remarkable journey together.

There are many things to consider when planning a Yosemite Elopement. Whether it’s just you and your love or a few of your favorite people you will have the most memorable elopement experience. From choosing the perfect time of year, including guests, selecting a ceremony location, information on how to get a wedding permit, the best places to stay, how to choose the right time of day, vendors, and expectations, this Yosemite elopement guide will walk you through all the things you need to know to start planning your elopement or adventure wedding.

Glacier Point elopement adventure at sunrise. Located at the end of Glacier Point Road.

The first thing you will want to consider in planning your elopement in Yosemite is the time of year and day of the week (Mon-Thurs and holiday considerations). Think about your values, what you enjoy doing as a couple and how you want to feel on your day. Yosemite experiences different seasons, each offering its unique charm. Consider the weather, the availability of your preferred officiant, and any potential crowds. Spring and fall are popular seasons due to milder temperatures and fewer visitors.

Late spring and early summer is the best time for waterfalls! The crowds are not as big as the summer rush and there is more room to enjoy the park. The weather is also at its most comfortable temp and clear skies.

Mid to late summer is peak season in Yosemite and among some of the hottest months. Driving through and parking is very difficult and the popular areas will be filled with people.

Fall is a beautiful time in Yosemite! The weather is mild, crowds start to die down and some of the colors change. Snow can arrive in October and blanket the valley by November. Trail and road closures usually start late October to November depending on conditions.

If you are a winter sport enthusiast or just love the quiet of the snow, this is the time for you! Be prepared and willing to accommodate the conditions. Tire chains may be required. 

Afternoon Elopement adventure at el capitan meadows. Located on on Northside Drive, near the west end of Yosemite Valley.

What kind of experience do you want to have on your wedding day? Do you envision just yourselves or bringing your closest loved ones? There is a way to have both. That’s the cool part about Yosemite! You can wakeup and enjoy the sunrise just the two of you as you exchange vows overlooking the valley. Later, friends and family can join you for your ceremony and you can head off on an intimate adventure to take in the beauty of the day. After you can all come together back at your beautiful place of stay for an awesome meal with a private chef. The day is yours to design.

There is something for everyone to enjoy in Yosemite. Make sure your guests are well informed of the logistics, reservation requirements, parking accommodations, accessibility and the weather. Additionally, knowing how many people will join you is important in selecting your ceremony location. Each location has a different amount of people allowed. Leave your worries behind. Together we can discuss all of the options and make the best plan that works for you and your guests!

Iconic spots makeup Yosemite Valley like Yosemite Falls, El Capitan, and Bridalveil Falls. Glacier Point and Taft Point also provide stunning panoramic views. Choose a location that resonates with you and your partner from one of the assigned locations. Each location has a limit on the number of people and parking places available.

If your group consists of 10 people or less, you may request a specific location not listed on the Yosemite Wedding Ceremony Locations. Ask for an exemption when filling out your permit. Please keep into consideration that park visitors may use the locations at any time. Early morning weddings are recommended from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm.

Lower Yosemite Fall Paved, Swinging Bridge Picnic Area, Sentinel Beach Picnic Area, Bridalveil Falls, Glacier Point Amphitheater

Together we can dive into all the places and decide on the best location for you!

  • Site use is on a first-come, first-served basis and limited to two hours maximum, at all locations. Once an application and payment is received, Yosemite’s Special Park Uses permit program manager will contact you by email within two to seven business days. If, however, the location requested has already been booked or is unavailable, permittee will be contacted immediately to discuss an alternative location or preferred date.
  • Wedding permits are not granted for holiday weekends or holidays (Saturday, Sunday, and Monday).
  • The use of amplified music (& microphones); speakers (with exception of iPods with 2- to 3-inch, portable speakers); throwing of bird seed, rice and flower petals; decorations, and the use of drones are prohibited.
  • Must avoid standing or walking on plants, grasses and tree roots. Standing under sequoia trees within sequoia grove locations is prohibited.
  • Pets are not allowed at ceremony locations. However, leashed dogs are allowed on fully paved roads, paved sidewalks, and bicycle pathways. Dogs (leashed or not) are not allowed on trails, within the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, in non-developed areas (including beaches and dirt surfaces) and Wilderness areas, on the O’Shaughnessy Dam, within Camp 4 and backpackers campgrounds, or in specific areas as posted by signs. Learn more about Yosemite’s pet regulations.
  • The use of hardy flower bouquets and boutonnières are preferable, to ensure seeds do not fall and germinate. Baby’s breath is prohibited. The use of native flower arrangements is also preferred.
  • If your party is fewer than 11 people, you are not limited to the following locations with exception of open meadows and riparian environments.
  • Please respect park resources and tread lightly. LEAVE NO TRACE.

You may request a permit once you know the date and location of your ceremony. A special use permit is required for any wedding or commitment ceremony held at any location within Yosemite National Park. The permit cost is $150 with an additional $50 per hour if monitoring is required. Monitoring is typically for larger groups.

Weddings or ceremonies can be scheduled up to one year in advance and more than 21 days prior to your event. The Yosemite team is responsive and easy to work with. I here to ease your stress and walk you through the permitting process.

Visit the state of California’s website for information about marriage licenses.

Yosemite has various accommodation options. These include hotels, cabins, and campsites. I highly recommend staying for multiple days to enjoy this beautiful time. There are so many great places to stay. My advice is to stay inside the park or as close as you can to the park to minimize time spent in the car.

My favorite area is Yosemite West! Renting a house/cabin in Yosemite West is just 20 minutes from the park’s entrance. This is super nice for a sunrise or sunset shoot. Staying inside Yosemite minimizes your drive time. Yosemite is vast and locations within the park can be up to an hour away. Consider how much drive time you want when booking your stay. Places like Mariposa and Groveland can be an added 45 minute drive from the park’s entrance.

Yosemite Hotels

The Ahwahnee Hotel and Yosemite Valley Lodge are the only in-park hotels open year round. The Ahwahnee is great for its location in the heart of the park. Yosemite Falls, Half Dome and Glacier Point all surround this historic hotel. Rush Creek Lodge and Spa is nearby too and is just outside the park at the West Entrance.

Yosemite House/Cabin Rentals

VRBO, Vacasa, Yosemite and Scenic Wonders are great search tools for rentals in Yosemite West. These locations are just 20 minutes from the Park’s entrance.

Some stand out rentals in Yosemite West include:

Finding beautiful unique places to stay is super fun for me and I’d love to help you more through this process as your Yosemite elopement guide and adventure photographer!

Yosemite Campsites

Yosemite Autocamp is a must if glamping/camping is your thing! It’s super cute and has a ton of fun activities around it. The Autocamp is located an hour outside of the park. It is a fun place to stay. You can enjoy your own space and stay close to your guests.

A sunset adventure and ceremony at Taft Point.

Eloping in Yosemite offers you so much room to explore and enjoy some of nature’s most beautiful landmarks. You can craft a day full of adventure from sunrise to sunset. Or you can break up the day and take a nice siesta in the mid afternoon. We can meet backup for sunset and stargazing. We can even plan a multi-day experience. There is so much to do, see and explore! You can get as adventurous as you want. Yosemite is accessible for all nature lovers.

Here are some ideas and things to think about when planning your elopement day in Yosemite:

Experiencing the sunrise and sunset in Yosemite National Park is an absolute must! Imagine waking up early and driving up to Glacier Point. Your excitement is building, the cool brisk air makes you feel so alive! After parking and taking a short walk to Glacier Point you take in the vast area and wait for the sun to peak over the horizon. The colors of the light dance and change as the valley awakes.

OMG this is my favorite! This is a beautiful time to share a first look, finish getting ready together, take some quiet time to write and exchange your vows and have a beautiful ceremony once the sun is all the way up. After you can explore and go on some short hikes or head back down into the valley for more fun.

The afternoon is a time to explore or head back to your place of stay to freshen up and recharge. Together we will design an itinerary that meets your vision and goals for your Yosemite elopement experience. If you are seeking more adventure we can hike and visit the iconic and more off the beaten path locations.

We can arrange for a stunning picnic setup with delicious food or we can incorporate some of these fun experiences throughout the park: Bike Rentals, Horseback Riding, Climbing, Hiking, Fishing, Swimming, Rafting, Cross-Country Skiing, Snowshoeing.

Taft point is a stunning hike for sunset! The views will absolutely blow you away! This is why you came to elope in Yosemite. Together we get to take in the beauty all around, make amazing memories and take some gorgeous pictures! After the sun goes down we can nerd out over the stars!

Here is an overview of video of Yosemite in the Winter, and a full experience highlight video! As your elopement planning guide, I am here to help you craft an unforgettable wedding celebration and can’t wait to document all of your memories!

Stunning dried flower bouquet by kelseawinchell.

Vendors share their knowledge and talents in making your experience that much more incredible!

Here are additional vendors to consider:

  • Hair and Makeup
  • Florists, Officiants
  • Videographer
  • Photographer
  • Private Chef

As your adventure photographer and Yosemite elopement planning guide, I am here to help connect you to some amazing talented people!

Yosemite is absolutely breathtaking and brings a lot of attraction year round. Some months more than others. There may be times where you have to wait for traffic or parking. Arriving early and adventuring off the main path is a way to have more space. Understanding what to expect will take away any pressure or stress.

Cell service and GPS can be spotty throughout the park. Downloading maps beforehand can be helpful! Some airbnbs can have spotty service too!

Planning ahead and adding on extra time to get to point A and B will help you stay on schedule. As your Yosemite adventure elopement photographer, I got you! Together we will make the best timeline for your day with backup plans in mind.

Hi! I’m Christina! Documenting love in the great outdoors and helping my couples create an unforgettable meaningful experience is my everything! That is what this is all about! I’m here to celebrate you and get to know what is most important to you so we can make it happen! Eloping in Yosemite is truly an amazing way to celebrate the future you are building together.

My elopement packages offer a half, full or multi-day experience! I offer a ton of flexibility in designing our time together and would love to get to know you more to help you plan! To learn more, head over to my contact form and we can get together on a call!

  • Help you hand pick a location
  • Provide resources and custom location guides on lodging, activities and the best places to indulge in delicious foods
  • Scout locations with boots on the ground to find the best places and lighting for your ceremony and photos
  • Secure the right location permits to make sure your wedding is legal!
  • Recommend vetted vendors to help make your dream of a day come true. 
  • Create your custom timeline (2-3 options to choose from!) with room to breathe and enjoy your day.
  • Deliver a joyful experience along with swoon worthy photos in your own online gallery!
  • Have a backup plan for it all!
  • Deliver sneak peaks within 72 hours and a full wedding gallery within 6 weeks! 
  • Provide a Fine Art Wedding Album design for you to print and hold onto your photos to thumb through for years to come. 

I'M CHRISTINA

YOUR NORTHERN CALIFORNIA elopement PHOTOGRAPHER 

Serving the PNW, Lake Tahoe,
San Francisco, Big Sur,
Santa Cruz and beyond.

Here for the madly in love, adventurous at heart seeking to celebrate their love for each other and the great outdoors in a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Ready to take you to some incredible places and help you create unforgettable memories. 

My warm and whimsy storytelling style and approach will have you in all your feels, staying present and in the moment so you can have the time of your lives. Your stunning photos will help you relive all of your joy for years to come.

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