Yosemite National Park Elopement Packages & Guide

I AM TAKING BOOKINGS FOR OCTOBER 2022 + 2023 BOOKINGS IN YOSEMITE!

Are you dreaming of a Yosemite elopement? If so, you’ve come to the right place! As your Yosemite elopement photographer, I’ve explored this park for more than 20 years and have worked with 30 plus couples for their wedding and have come up with this Yosemite elopement guide to help you get started!

Eloping in Yosemite gives you a massive glacial carved valley lined with epic waterfalls, a powerful river, ancient giant sequoias, and of course, Half Dome. This is the perfect place for adventurers, backpackers, photographers, and elopers!

As Yosemite is one of the most popular national parks it has also become one of the more popular spots for wedding ceremonies. The park has put in place a handful of rules that must be followed by those wishing to get married here and having an experienced Yosemite elopement photographer will absolutely elevate your Yosemite wedding experience.


Bride and groom sharing a kiss at Glacier Point in Yosemite.
Glacier Point Elopement

HOW TO ELOPE IN YOSEMITE

Your Yosemite elopement photographer should be familiar with the permit process, the best locations and time of day of your Yosemite elopement, timelines, and awesome vendors. To get started on your Yosemite elopement, you need to get a permit and choose a designated ceremony spot.

Eloping in Yosemite is pretty straightforward, as you are only allowed to have your ceremony at one of the assigned locations. However, you are still allowed to explore different areas of the park throughout the day to get the full Yosemite wedding experience! This is great for couples wanting to incorporate friends and family that need an accessible location but still seeking a bigger hike or different backdrop for their wedding day photos. The elopement photography permit covers you for a full 24 hours for as many locations as you’d like, which leaves you with plenty of time to capture all your favorite spots in the park!

Below you will find your ultimate Yosemite National Park Elopement Guide along with the designated ceremony spots!

“We live in Dallas and our elopement was in Yosemite. I was pretty apprehensive at first being so far away from the location but Sean made the whole process seamless by recommending the best vendors and guiding us through the application, license and permit process. I’m not photogenic and typically get very awkward in front of the camera, but Sean did a great job of making me feel comfortable and confident and the results as you can see are absolutely phenomenal. In addition to his expert photography skills, he is extremely personable and made us feel like we were lifelong friends. We couldn’t have picked a better photographer to explore Yosemite, swap stories, document our union and drink scotch with all the while gazing at the sunset over the gorgeous granite peaks.”

– Nadia & Andrew


A couple sharing a kiss with Half Dome in the background.
Sunset in Yosemite

THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT ELOPING IN YOSEMITE

  1. According to NPS.gov, there are thirteen designated wedding ceremony locations within Yosemite National Park, and entrance fees into the park are will not be waived for guests or the newlyweds.
  2. There is one road that goes around the valley in Yosemite, so be prepared for traffic, and plan accordingly! Yosemite Park is probably the most popular national park with over 4 million visitors last year according to statista.com. Make sure to follow this elopement timeline and pack list so you are well prepared!
  3. Timeliness is KEY for your big day so make sure to have it perfectly mapped out! Each site is a first-come, first-served basis and limited to two hours maximum.
  4. Sunrise or sunset? Your best chance to avoid the crowds is to start your ceremony at sunrise. Also, if good photography is important, you’ll want to avoid the mid-day hours, from 10-3, when the light is harsh and blown out. I send over a timeline to every couple to make sure we hit the best spots at the best times!
  5. Pets are not allowed to attend any wedding ceremonies BUT they are allowed in Yosemite National Park! This is great for couples wanting to incorporate their furry friends in some photos around the valley afterward.

“Once our Yosemite elopement came, we were overwhelmed with how easy Sean was to shoot with. He captured us, and our family, beautifully. More importantly, he captured all of Yosemite perfectly! We are super grateful for all of Sean’s help leading up to, on the day of, and after the wedding. It never gets old showing people photos from our Yosemite elopement and hearing “That looks photoshopped!” or “Is that real?!”. Book Sean for your Yosemite elopement, you won’t regret it!”

– Andrew & Karmyn


Bride and Groom Kissing Yosemite Elopement Guide and Packages
Bride & Groom Yosemite Elopement

WHAT TIME OF YEAR IS BEST TO ELOPE IN YOSEMITE?

Yosemite is really an all-year destination wedding location with each season bringing some new and unique to the table for your Yosemite elopement. Some of my favorite seasons in Yosemite are the shoulder seasons but you really can’t go wrong any time of year!

Keep reading below for more tips on the best months to elope in Yosemite National Park:

SPRING

Spring is one of my favorite times of year for elopements in Yosemite. Spring is peak waterfall season in the park and they make for some dramatic photos! You still might have some trail closures in early April because of snow, so I usually suggest late April – mid-May for spring elopements in Yosemite.

SUMMER

Summer in Yosemite is probably the most popular time for visitors as the park is fully open and school is out. The park is absolutely stunning this time of year but you’ll have to endure the many tourists and the summer heat that comes with it. The heat combined with the crowds makes summer the least desirable season to elope in Yosemite.

FALL

Fall in Yosemite is super magical as the valley is rustic and lit up in orange and yellow. I personally love the end of October in Yosemite as the park has started to cool off and the fall colors are going off. You’ll start to see road closures starting in November, so keep that in mind when planning your fall elopement in Yosemite. My yearly visit usually takes me to Yosemite in mid to late October.

WINTER

The valley is perfect for a winter wedding as Glacier & Taft Point both close for the winter months. The park is close to empty these months, so privacy and intimacy are in focus these months. You won’t have as many options for locations these months but if you’re lucky, you’ll get a fresh dusting the morning of your Yosemite elopement.

“Sean showed us some truly stunning scenery in Yosemite and took time for us to reflect on our journey to that moment. When we got the final photos, it was like reliving our day and each photo was truly stunning. I would 100% recommend him to anyone who is looking to elope in Yosemite” 

– Andrew & Misbath


A couple celebrating with whiskey overlooking Half Dome in Yosemite.
Glacier Point Elopement

WHAT IS INCLUDED IN MY YOSEMITE ELOPEMENT PACKAGES?

Yosemite Elopement Pricing:

  • STARTING @ $5,900 – Check out my pricing guide
  • ALL DAY COVERAGE: There is a reason people travel from all over the world to check out Yosemite – because it’s epic! Let’s spend the day together roaming the park and hitting all of the hot spots for your awesome photos.
  • LOCATION IDEAS: I’ll help come up with a timeline to make sure we don’t miss out on my favorite spots in the park based on your preferences like hiking distance, elevation, scenery, and features.
  • MAPS AND PERMIT INFORMATION: After booking, I’ll walk you through the permit process and help you lock in your Yosemite elopement location!
  • VENDOR RECOMMENDATIONS: I’ve teamed up with an amazing group of vendors who specialize in Yosemite elopements. Not only do these people crush it at their jobs but they will share their love and passion for Yosemite with backstories about the park and its history.
  • TEASERS: Wake up the next day with some teasers to share with friends, family, and the gram!
  • ONLINE GALLERY: You’ll receive an online gallery 6-8 weeks after your elopement with all of your fully edited photos from your Yosemite elopement! You can even work with my wife to create your own customized album.
  • UNLIMITED CONSULTING: Guess who is going to be there every step of the way? ME! Don’t worry about planning and coordinating your Yosemite elopement on your own. I will help guide you through the process and make sure you get to show up and enjoy your day without much planning on the front end!

Couples riding their bikes near Half Dome Yosemite.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO ELOPE IN YOSEMITE?

The cost of eloping in Yosemite is completely up to each couple! Why? Because some costs might not be as important from one couple to the other. Also, vendors in Yosemite tend to be more expensive because of travel to and from the park, so a lot of my couples actually skip things like hair & makeup, but again, this is completely up to each couple!

Looking for a general ballpark of what you can expect your elopement to cost in Yosemite? Check out below!

  • Yosemite Elopement Photographer
    • $5,900
  • LOCATION PERMIT
    • $250 – Yosemite requires a permit to get in married in the park. This permit not only gives money back to the park but allows you your designated ceremony spot for your big day.
  • HAIR & MAKEUP
    • $300 – $600 – Yosemite hair and makeup artists will most likely require a travel fee because of the distances from where they live. I would budget on the higher end for this type of vendor.
  • MARRIAGE LICENSE
    • $60Mariposa County is going to be the closest place to obtain a marriage license for your Yosemite elopement.
  • OFFICIANT
    • $400 + – Yosemite officiants are like no other. These folks are not only awesome at their jobs but are full of knowledge about the history of Yosemite. You can expect an amazing ceremony with lots of fun facts with these guys!
  • LODGING
    • $500 – $3,000 – Yosemite has some cheaper options for lodging outside of the park or you can ball out with a place right inside the valley. It’s completely up to you! Check out this guide for help!
  • PRIVATE CHEF OR DINNER
    • $200 – $400 – Private chefs are the rage right now and make for a stress-free dinner option. They can even come right to your cabin and cook your dinner under the open California skies!
  • FLORAL ARRANGEMENTS
    • $275 – $1500 – I’ve worked with some amazing florists for Yosemite elopements. They can range from $275 and up depending on your group size.
  • TRAVEL & ACCOMMODATIONS
    • Getting to Yosemite is pretty easy all things considered but you have to take into account your travel costs. If you are traveling from out of state, you can expect to pay for flights, food, a car rental, lodging, etc. – A lot of couples go in on a big cabin and split it with friends and family to cut down on costs for their elopement.

A couple sharing a hug at Tunnel View in Yosemite National Park.
Yosemite Valley

DO YOU NEED A PERMIT TO ELOPE IN YOSEMITE?

If you’re eloping in Yosemite, then you are going to need a special wedding permit. Permits are standard within National Parks but I do find Yosemite to have the easiest process out of all the parks I’ve worked in. Katherine has been handling permits for as long as I’ve been working in the park and I’ve never had a problem with getting a permit approved. However, Yosemite is very a very popular location not only for elopements but weddings as well, so you should book your date ASAP to make sure you get the time and location you desire.

Other things to remember about your Yosemite wedding permit:

  • Yosemite wedding permits are not granted for holiday weekends or holidays (Saturday, Sunday, and Monday).
  • You can reserve your permit up to one year in advance and no more than 21 days prior to your event.
  • If your group consists of 10 people or less, a specific location not listed on the Wedding/Ceremony Locations List may be requested. So if you have a special spot not listed on the location list, then you can ask for an exemption when filling out your permit.
  • Plan on getting your permit for either sunrise or sunset as this is the best time for photos within the park.
  • Please work with your photographer to obtain your permit. There are many instances where people don’t get permits and this might have a negative effect on the permit process for future couples.
  • Follow all of the Leave No Trace Principles when eloping in Yosemite. Don’t migrate off of the path and stay within the designated areas for your elopement in Yosemite.

Read more about Yosemite wedding permits.


WHERE CAN I ELOPE IN YOSEMITE?

Yosemite is set up to bring you all the fun, adventure, and love into one single space. The ceremony locations in Yosemite are laid out to that you can explore the valley before or after your ceremony seamlessly. Once you’ve completed your ceremony, you can head to the valley and enjoy the soft sun as it lifts above Half Dome followed by breakfast at the Ahwahnee Hotel.

Because Yosemite is very busy and the ceremony spots are first-come, first-serve, I would suggest starting at these spots early and then exploring new areas of the park afterward for more photos! As I mentioned before, you can have your ceremony in one spot and take pictures elsewhere after. Yosemite is a big national park, so there are plenty of places to duck away and avoid the crowds!

Check out the list of my favorite wedding locations along with the rest of the designated ceremony spots!


Bride and groom running down the road at Glacier Point.

GLACIER POINT

One of the most popular places in the park, where you are up close and personal with the most iconic peak in the world. Glacier Point is one of the most beautiful spots in Yosemite and is a big attraction for those getting married and tourists alike.

Make sure you head to Glacier Point at sunrise so you can avoid the crowds and catch the sun rising over Half Dome. This is a great spot for couples looking for epic views while also being accessible to them without having to hike! Just down the road you can get even closer to the iconic Half Dome and take in the valley below!

SEASON: Summer – Fall

PERMIT REQUIREMENTS – YES

MAX NUMBER OF GUESTS: 50

LOCATION: https://goo.gl/maps/4hU5mstQssR11C6v9

2022 UPDATE: Glacier Point road will be closed for the 2022 season. The only other way to get up to Glacier Point is via the 9.6 round trip hike.


Bride and groom sharing a huge at Glacier Point in Yosemite.
Glacier Point Elopement

TAFT POINT

Taft Point is an epic spot for a sunset where you can chase the sun as it sets behind the valley. You get beautiful views of El Capitan and the valley with sheer drop-offs to the valley below. This is a beautiful but dangerous spot for couples, photographers, and tourists. Make sure to be safe and smart! 

SEASON: Summer – Fall

PERMIT REQUIREMENTS – YES

MAX NUMBER OF GUESTS: I would suggest keeping the guest count lower because of the hike out to Taft Point

LOCATION: https://goo.gl/maps/agexYPRX7taGFWim8

2022 UPDATE: Taft Point will be closed via Glacier Point for the 2022 season. The only other way up to Taft Point is via the Four Mile Trail from Yosemite Valley.


A couple taking in sunset at Taft Point in Yosemite National Park.
Taft Point Elopement

EL CAPITAN MEADOW

Glacier and Taft might have the best views but you can’t beat exploring Yosemite Valley for your elopement. You are surrounded by waterfalls, beautiful trees, and thousands of feet of granite towering above you. Exploring the meadows of Yosemite should be a requirement for anyone getting married in the park!

SEASON: Year-Round

PERMIT REQUIREMENTS – YES

MAX NUMBER OF GUESTS: 50

LOCATION: https://goo.gl/maps/9A2bwxVyPTVcCKux8


A couple sharing a hug in El Capitan meadow in Yosemite.
El Capitan Meadow Elopement

CATHEDRAL BEACH

You are hard-pressed to find a better with of El Capitan than the one at Cathedral Beach picnic area. The views here are some of the best in the park and give you the full “Yosemite elopement” experience. Make sure to bring a wide lens and some binoculars to check on the climbers after your ceremony!

SEASON: Year-round

ELEVATION: 8,000 to 14,309′

PERMIT REQUIREMENTS – YES

MAX NUMBER OF GUESTS: 50

LOCATION: https://goo.gl/maps/6LKDLZgi9n52sDVc7

PRO TIP: This is a great spot at sunrise where you can watch the alpenglow hit the face of El Cap.

Bride and groom sharing their vow at Cathedral Beach in Yosemite National Park.

YOSEMITE FALLS

Yosemite Falls is one of the most popular elopement spots in all of Yosemite. The waterfall can be loud and busy during the summer months but it is right next to the Yosemite Valley Lodge and is very accessible for friends and family!

SEASON: Spring and the beginning of summer are best

PERMIT REQUIREMENTS – YES

MAX NUMBER OF GUESTS: 50

LOCATION: https://goo.gl/maps/JFdxNTez2xMrDP8D9


Bride and groom below Yosemite Falls in Yosemite.
Yosemite Falls

BRIDALVEIL FALLS

An awe-inspiring place to hold your elopement ceremony in Yosemite as Bridalveil towers and gushes above you. This area also has some woodsy vibes just below the waterfall where you can take intimate photos. (be prepared for mist!)

SEASON: Spring through the beginning of summer is best as the falls tend to dry up by mid-summer.

PERMIT REQUIREMENTS – YES

MAX NUMBER OF GUESTS: 50

LOCATION: https://goo.gl/maps/TJ3rGRwHujDi9C188

Bridal Veil Falls waterfall in Yosemite.
Bridal Veil Falls

TUNNEL VIEW

Tunnel View is one of the most popular spots in Yosemite National Park and for good reason! This might be one of the best views for weddings in Yosemite because it encapsulates the beauty in one spot. You have El Capitan to the left, Half Dome to the center, and Bridal Veil to the right. Be prepared to arrive early to avoid the crowds!

SEASON: Year-Round

PERMIT REQUIREMENTS – YES

MAX NUMBER OF GUESTS: I would suggest keeping the guest count down because of how popular this spot is.

LOCATION: https://goo.gl/maps/bDkRRNuRLTqnjV9DA


A couple celebrating their elopement overlooking Tunnel View.
Tunnel View

OTHER CEREMONY LOCATIONS

  • Wawona
  • Valley View
  • Cascades Picnic Area
  • Swinging Bridge
  • Sentinel Beach
  • Chilnualna Falls Trailhead Parking Lot
  • Tenaya Lake Beach – Elevation: 8,150 feet
  • Tuolumne Meadows Lodge Area – Elevation: 8,600 feet
  • Tuolumne Grove – Elevation: 6,200 feet
  • Merced Grove – Elevation: 6,000 feet

A couple walking across in a bridge in Yosemite during the fall.

THE BEST LODGING FOR YOUR YOSEMITE ELOPEMENT

Yosemite can be somewhat tricky to find lodging because of where it is located. The closest towns that I suggest are Fish Camp and Mariposa. These towns are awesome choices because they’re close to the park and they have unique lodging options to choose from. The Yosemite cabins and hotels in these two towns really give you that natural feels for your Yosemite elopement and can really elevate your experience.

Some things to consider when looking for lodging for your Yosemite Elopement:

  • Distance from the park should be at the forefront of your lodging decision. The last thing you want to be doing on your wedding day is driving 2+ hours!
  • You are going to be hard-pressed finding “bougie” lodging near Yosemite, so embrace the retro – old-school options like cabins and motels. It will definitely add to the nature feel of your Yosemite elopement!
  • Make sure your AirBnB’s allow a large number of guests if you plan on throwing a celebration afterward.
  • There are lots of unique options outside the park for you to choose from for your Yosemite elopement. From camping to Airstreams to cabins, you’ll have lots of fun options to choose from!

Check out some of my favorite lodgings for your Yosemite Elopement:

  • Auto Camp – This is one of my favorite lodging choices because of how fun it is. I mean, who wouldn’t want to sleep in an outfitted airstream and drink hot chocolate under the stars after their Yosemite elopement?
  • Yosemite Pines RV – This is a great “roughing it” option for those who aren’t into camping but don’t mind crashing in a yurt, cabin, or some good old fashion glamping.
  • Ahwahnee Hotel – Every national park has its own hotel within the park but there is nothing quite like the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite. This hotel sits beneath the towering granite peaks and is iconic in every sense of the word.
  • Tenaya Lodge – The Tenaya Lodge is located near the south entrance of Yosemite and is really the best of both worlds – close to the park and more upscale! You can even throw a breakfast or dinner reception here afterward.

YOSEMITE ELOPEMENT PHOTOGRAPHER

My name is Sean, and I can’t wait to help create your Yosemite adventure elopement! I’m a free spirit who has dedicated my life to exploring this wild world and connecting to the people in it.

I know firsthand what an important and personal decision this is—my wife and I eloped to Northern Ireland. You’re trusting me to capture this amazing day, and I make it my responsibility to make sure you have an incredible experience from start to finish.

My passion has led me here, where I can follow my heart and share my love for the outdoors with others on their wedding day. It’s truly an awesome experience, and I’m stoked every time I get to document your day.

When I’m not photographing couples in Yosemite, I love to go exploring with my wife and our corgi.

Ready to book me as your Yosemite elopement photographer? Reach out so we can get started on your epic Yosemite elopement!

Yosemite National Park Elopement Photographer

Last Updated on August 4, 2022 by vowsandpeaks