Yosemite Elopement Packages & Guide


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 over 30 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 Merced 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 elopement and 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 experienced Yosemite elopement photographers will absolutely elevate your Yosemite wedding experience.

"Sean knew spots in Yosemite that you wouldn’t even know were there. Most importantly for us, he made us feel comfortable and at ease. We had so much fun just talking to him about everything and anything, which helped us feel more relaxed when having to pose for photos. If you’re not good with posing (I’m not), don’t worry, he will suggest poses for you. The photos in Yosemite turned out UNBELIEVABLE. Everyone loves them! Personally, I’m convinced he’s a magician. I don’t know how he does it, but he knows how to catch the perfect lighting at the right angle with a gorgeous backdrop, all while talking to you and making you feel like you’ve been friends with him your whole life!"

- Paola & Carlos

Bride and groom near reflections of Yosemite falls in the background.
Yosemite Valley Elopement


Your Yosemite elopement photographers should be familiar with the permit process, the best locations and times of day for 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 in Yosemite for their wedding day photos.

The Yosemite wedding 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 wedding photos all your favorite spots in the park!

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

"Sean has a magnetic personality and you can tell how much pride he takes in his craft. He’s extremely communicative, a great listener, and so incredibly talented. My husband and I were lucky enough to have him for two days for our elopement in Yosemite. The first time we met face-to-face was at 3:30 am at the trailhead and I was thinking, “Well hopefully we all like each other!” At the end of the second day when we said our goodbyes, Sean felt like an old friend."

- Cami

Bride and groom overlooking half dome under the stars for their Yosemite elopement in the fall.


  1. According to NPS.gov, there are thirteen designated wedding ceremony locations within Yosemite National Park, and entrance fees into the park 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 3.29 million visitors in 2021 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! If you want to avoid the tourists, you'll have to be prompt and get to places on time. Also, you can get free entry into the park if you enter before 7 am.
  4. Sunrise or sunset? Your best chance to avoid 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 Yosemite 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


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 is one of my favorite times of year for elopements in Yosemite. Spring time is peak waterfall season in Yosemite 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 to mid-May for spring elopements in Yosemite.


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.

Also, keep in mind that summer is peak fire season in California and the park has been known to shut down because of nearby smoke and fires.


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.


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 of snow on Half Dome for 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 & Misbah

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


Yosemite Elopement Pricing:

  • STARTING @ $6,000 - 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.
  • YOSEMITE 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.
  • YOSEMITE WEDDING PERMIT AND MAP INFORMATION: After booking, I'll walk you through the permit process and help you lock in your Yosemite elopement location!
  • YOSEMITE 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.
  • PHOTO TEASERS: Wake up the next day with some photo teasers to share with friends, family, and the gram!
  • ONLINE PHOTO 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.
  • YOSEMITE WEDDING CONSULTING: Guess who is going to be there planning 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!

"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

Couples riding their bikes near Half Dome 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!

    • $6,000
    • $250 – Yosemite requires a wedding 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.
    • $300 – $600 – Yosemite hair and makeup artists will most likely require a travel fee because of the distance from where they live. I would budget on the higher end for this type of vendor.
    • $60Mariposa County is going to be the closest place to obtain a marriage license for your Yosemite elopement.
    • $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!
    • $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!
    • $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!
    • $275 – $1500 – I've worked with some amazing florists for Yosemite elopements. They can range from $275 and up depending on your group size.
    • 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


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 wedding 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 Yosemite 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.

2023 UPDATE: Yosemite no longer requires portrait photography permits for non-ceremony bridal shoots within the park.

Read more about Yosemite wedding permits.


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!

"Sean's photo skills are something else. He truly knows his way around the most beautiful spots around Yosemite and how to capture couples in their element. It's been a few months since we got our pictures back and we can't decide which ones to print! Thank you Sean for helping make our Yosemite elopement day an unforgettable one!"

- Jennifer

A couple standing on a log below El Capitan in Yosemite National Park


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



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

YOSEMITE PRO TIP: This is one of the most popular locations in Yosemite, so be sure to arrive early to avoid crowds.

2023 UPDATE: Glacier Point Road will have to thirty-minute delays from spring through fall of 2023 for cars. The other option is hiking up from the valley.

Bride and groom running at sunrise near Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park for their elopement.
Glacier Point Elopement


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


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

YOSEMITE PRO TIP: The best time to get Yosemite Falls in the backdrop of your photos from Taft will be in the springtime and early summer.

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


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



YOSEMITE PRO TIP: The natural light does not hit the valley until late morning.

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

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


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



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

YOSEMITE 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 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. Just be prepared to get wet!

SEASON: Spring and the beginning of summer are the best time to visit Yosemite Falls.



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

YOSEMITE PRO TIP: The best views of Yosemite Falls are going to be from below or on the walk-up.

Bride and groom below Yosemite Falls in Yosemite.
Yosemite 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 to visit Bridalveil as the falls tend to dry up by mid-summer.



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

2023 UPDATE: Bridalveil Falls is scheduled to reopen this summer.

A couple standing below bridal veil falls in Yosemite.
Bridal Veil Falls


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 of Yosemite 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


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

YOSEMITE PRO TIP: There are plenty of places around Tunnel View that you can explore away from the crouds.

A couple celebrating their elopement overlooking Tunnel View.
Tunnel View


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


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 to find "bougie" lodging near Yosemite, so embrace the retro-old-school options like cabins and motels. It will definitely add to the natural feel of your Yosemite elopement!
  • Make sure your AirBnB allows 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? Auto Camp is also a great place to throw a reception after your 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.

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



The best way to get to Yosemite National Park depends on if you live in California or if you're traveling from out of state. If you are traveling to California, the closest major airports are San Francisco, Oakland, and Sacramento International Airport. The closest airport to Yosemite is technically Fresno, but it might not have as many direct flights as the major airports listed before. From there, you can rent a car and head toward Yosemite!

I prefer going via the 140 route to Yosemite because I find the scenery better. Also, it's the only route open year-round. If you are staying in Auto Camp or Fish Camp, then I suggest taking 41 from the south.


If you are staying outside the park, then I would suggest driving yourself into Yosemite, especially on your elopement day. This allows you to avoid public transit and be on your own schedule for your elopement. On the days outside your elopement, you can take the free Yosemite Valley shuttle system that provides access to the best spots around Yosemite valley. This is a great way to get around Yosemite and jump out at the best trails in the valley!


If you're leaning towards a wedding venue to host your Yosemite wedding, you'll find a selection of absolutely awe-inspiring options that will transform your special day into a genuine work of art. Here's the scoop on some wedding venues near Yosemite:

  1. Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite: Nestled just beyond Yosemite's south entrance, Tenaya Lodge is your ticket to a blend of indoor and outdoor wedding magic with some incredible views of the back end of the park with less visitors. Win-Win!
  2. Evergreen Lodge at Yosemite: Calling all rustic-chic enthusiasts! This gem is located near Hetch Hetchy entrance, hooks you up with stylish cabins and outdoor venues that'll elevate your wedding celebration game.
  3. Rush Creek Lodge: If you're looking for some modern comfort, this one's for you. Close to the Big Oak Flat entrance, Rush Creek Lodge is your gateway to a sleek, cozy vibe with both indoor and outdoor wedding options that even offer elopement packages.
  4. Yosemite Valley Chapel: Looking for some timeless romance? Right within the park, the Yosemite Valley Chapel offers you a chance to go back in time and get married right inside the park at the iconic Valley Chapel.
  5. Redwoods in Yosemite: Ready to get lost in the majestic embrace of towering redwoods? This venue is all about that serene, outdoorsy setting, giving you the choice between outdoor and indoor wedding setups.


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!

A couple with their elopement photographer in Yosemite.

Last Updated on September 16, 2023 by vowsandpeaks