Yosemite Elopement Guide

As Yosemite photographers who have photographed countless Yosemite elopements, we'll guide you through everything you need to know while planning your Yosemite National Park elopement. Discover the best locations for your ceremony and photos, where to stay, the best time of year to visit, elopement packages, pricing and more.

With it's massive mountains, rushing waterfalls, peaceful meadows and buzzing wildlife- Yosemite National Park is the most beautiful location in California for weddings and elopements.

Table of Contents

Yosemite Elopement Packages

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How To Elope In Yosemite

a step-by-step guide

Atlanta Wedding Photographers

Is this your first time trying to plan an elopement in Yosemite? Don't worry- we've not only photographed, but have also helped plan, elopements every year in Yosemite since 2019. We have quite a few of these under our belt and we're here to help you through the whole process!

HIRE A PHOTOGRAPHER

PLAN OUT THE DETAILS

Most couples hire us before they start planning anything! The reason for this is because we help our couples with logistics such as choosing the right date, which location(s) are perfect for them, how to obtain a wedding permit, find local vendors, etc. You don't have to do it all yourself, we're experienced with Yosemite weddings and are here to help you.

Next, you'll book your lodging, transportation and any additional vendors such as hair and makeup, a florist, officiant, etc. (don't worry, we'll send you ideas for all of these). We'll collaborate on a timeline to fit in all the locations and activities you want while getting the best photos throughout the day!

GET MARRIED!

APPLY FOR YOUR PERMIT

You'll have the best day ever and we'll be there capturing every moment! Within a few days you'll have sneak peek photos in your inbox, and the full gallery within 2-3 months. All that's left is to choose which photos to print!

After you've set a date and have decided on your top choices for your ceremony location, you'll apply for your Yosemite wedding permit. The permit is just $150 and is quite easy to obtain.

When To Elope In Yosemite

Spring and early summer are the best seasons for rushing waterfalls, warm weather and lush greenery. We typically shoot weddings in Yosemite from late May to mid June for this reason! Check our travel schedule below for available dates.

The waterfalls can dry up around August depending on the previous winter's snowfall. Fall is beautiful for Yosemite wedding providing gorgeous colors and mild weather. Winter is cold and often snowy, but can make for gorgeous images with less crowds.

We always recommend having your wedding on a weekday (Monday-Thursday) to minimize the amount of tourists that will be in the park. We highly recommend considering an early morning (around sunrise or the hours following) ceremony for the most intimate experience.

Winter Wedding

Spring Wedding

When selecting your wedding date, it's also important to know the typical opening and closing dates for the different locations you may be interested in. Glacier Point Road (access to Glacier Point, Taft Point and other trails) typically opens in April, May or sometimes as late as June depending on snowfall. It usually closes in November or early December. Tioga Road (access to Tenaya Lake and tons of other trails) typically opens late May and closes October or November. Here's a link for the historical opening/closing dates.

Another thing to consider is that natural disasters such as wildfires can cause the park to temporarily close, which is a higher risk during the late summer months. In the winter, too much snowfall can cause the park to close as well (which was the case briefly in March of 2023). It's always good to have a back-up plan!

Our Travel Schedule

no travel fees during these dates

May 27th - June 7th 2024

We offer waived travel fees and special offers during these dates. Contact for more info.

INQUIRE WITH US

Yosemite Ceremony Locations

WHERE TO GET MARRIED

There are designated ceremony locations for weddings with 11-100 guests, or you're able to get married pretty much anywhere within the park if you are eloping with 0-10 guests.

Yosemite Valley

Yosemite Valley has some of the most beautiful locations for wedding ceremonies. A benefit of having a Yosemite Valley wedding is that the valley is quite compact- it's not huge, but there is SO much to see and do. This means that you'll be able to go to multiple locations and get a variety of scenery on your special day by just staying in the valley. There are waterfalls, meadows, mountain views, rivers, lakes and beaches!

The Yosemite wedding venues in this area are very accessible, with the locations being just a short, easy walk from the parking lot. It's true that you don't have to hike to get beautiful views in Yosemite! Also, a lot of the locations in the valley are open year round due to the lower elevation. If you're staying outside of Yosemite and are driving into the park for your wedding, these locations are a shorter drive than the other options as well.

SENTINEL Beach

Sentinel Beach is our favorite ceremony location in Yosemite Valley for weddings or elopements taking place in the morning. The lighting in the morning hours is absolutely stunning, with the Merced River and mountain views in the background.

Guest count: 0-100

Season: Closed November through Memorial Day Weekend.

VIEW A SENTINEL BEACH WEDDING

Cathedral Beach

Cathedral Beach is the best location for epic views of El Capitan and the Merced River. Like most Yosemite valley weddings, we typically recommend sunrise ceremonies here to avoid crowds that gather on the beach in the evenings.

Guest count: 0-50

Season: Closed November through Memorial Day Weekend.

VIEW A CATHEDRAL BEACH WEDDING

SWINGING BRIDGE

Swinging Bridge is a popular location as it offers gorgeous views of Yosemite Falls, the meadows and the Merced. This location gets very busy, so we'd recommend a sunrise ceremony here. Last time we shot an elopement at Swinging Bridge we saw a family of bears!

Guest count: 0-20

Season: Open year round except on holiday weekends (Saturday, Sunday, and Monday).

view a swinging bridge wedding

Lower Yosemite Falls Paved Trail

This location offers a close-up view of Yosemite Falls. The ceremony location is located in a small area beside the main paved trail. Early morning is recommended to avoid crowds.

Guest count: 0-50

Season: Open year round except on holiday weekends (Saturday, Sunday, and Monday).

contact us about this location

BRIDALVEIL FALLS

*Photo not accurate of ceremony location* A waterfall ceremony location surrounded by forest. Location lies at the forest clearing on your right where the fall comes into view.

Guest count: 0-50

Season: CURRENTLY CLOSED

contact us about this location

Cascades Picnic Area

This ceremony location offers a close-up view of Yosemite Falls. You can even take couple photos at the base of the falls after your ceremony- as long as you're okay getting a bit wet due to mist from the falls!

Guest count: 0-30

Season: Open year round except on holiday weekends (Saturday, Sunday, and Monday).

contact us about this location

Yosemite Valley Chapel

Built in 1879, this iconic chapel is located in Yosemite Valley and is available for small weddings. To book this location you have to go through Yosemite Valley Chapel Weddings and there is a minimum of a $1200 fee. Or, just take photos here for free!

Guest count: 0-50

Season: Open year round except on holiday weekends (Saturday, Sunday, and Monday).

contact us about this location

WAWONA

GLACIER POINT

Glacier Point is the most popular location in Yosemite National Park. It offers iconic views of Half Dome and the surrounding area with no hiking required. If you have a wedding with 11 or more guests, you must have your ceremony at the Glacier Point Amphitheater. However, if you're planning an elopement with 10 guests or less, you're able to have your ceremony at other locations around Glacier Point.

Guest count: 0-50

Season: Not available in July or August. Usually closes Nov-Dec and reopens April-may. Glacier point road will be closed in 2022 but is planned to reopen in 2023.

VIEW GLACIER POINT GUIDE

Chilnualna Falls Trailhead Parking Lot

Location is located to the west of a large house (personally owned inholding), at the southwest end of the parking area, down slope from the parking lot.

Guest count: 0-50

Season: Open year round except on holiday weekends (Saturday, Sunday, and Monday).

contact us about this location

Big Oak Flat Area

Tuolumne Grove

This ceremony location is a 2.5 mile rt hike through a wooded area. There is an incline from the parking lot to the ceremony site which has giant sequoias.

Guest count: 0-30

Season: Open year round. From late October to June there may be snow on the trail.

RESTRICTIONS: CEREMONY MUST BE ON PATH, NO STANDING ON ROOTS OR NEAR TREES.

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MERCED GROVE

This 3 mile rt hike takes you to a small patch of sequoia trees. It's a dirt path which at the time of our hike, was lined with cut down trees. There is a moderate slope down to the ceremony spot.

Guest count: 0-30

Season: From late October to June there may be snow on the trail.

contact us about this location

Tuolumne Meadows

Tenaya Lake beach

Tenaya Lake is a much less travelled area than locations in Yosemite Valley or along Glacier Point Road. This is one of our favorite beaches to hang out at during the summer months. The crystal clear blue water and mountain views are to die for!

Guest count: 0-50

Season: The road to access Tenaya Lake (Tioga Road) opens late May/June and closes September 30th.

contact us about this location

Tuolumne Meadows Lodge Area

*photo not accurate* Site is located upstream from Tuolumne Meadows Lodge on the Dana Fork granite slab. Take dirt path toward the river stay left and follow for approximately 250 yards (300 meters), until you reach the cascade area.

Guest count: 0-25

Season: Road opening until September 30th. There may be snow still in the area.

contact us about this location

Yosemite ELOPEMENT LOCATIONS

If you're eloping with 10 guests or less, you're not restricted to having your elopement ceremony in one of the designated ceremony sites! If you do have over 10 guests but love these locations, you can still take couple photos here.

We keep our favorite locations as hidden gems exclusively for our couples, in order to maintain the privacy and intimate experience in these locations. It's important to hire a Yosemite wedding photographer who's familiar with the park so that they can guide you to the best places for photos. Here are some popular spots!

Taft Point

Taft Point features dramatic cliffs and views of Yosemite Valley that are sure to take your breath away. This is personally one of our favorite views in Yosemite. However, it is an extremely busy location and you will not have privacy.

Guest count: 0-10

Season: The road to access Taft point (glacier Road) closes during the winter due to snow.

HIKE: 2.2 miles roundtrip

view taft point GUIDE

Tunnel view

Tunnel View is a stop right along the road that offers an iconic view of Yosemite Valley with El Capitan, Half Dome and Bridalveil Falls in view. This location is super busy starting at sunrise. However, we know of a couple trails that offers the same view but even better, without the crowds!

Guest count: 0-10

Season: open year round

HIKE: 0-2 miles roundtrip

contact us about this location

YOSEMITE MEADOWS

Yosemite Valley has countless meadows that are beautiful for photos. We prefer to keep the locations of our favorite meadows just for our clients, as people have been disrespecting the meadows by not staying on the designated trails. All photos you see of ours are taken on trails.

ceremonies are not allowed in open meadows

Season: open year round

HIKE: NONE

contact us about this location

Hidden gems

There's lots of hidden gems around Yosemite we love taking our couples to. From places in Yosemite Valley that offer better vantage points than the popular spots to less traveled locations along Tioga and Glacier Point Road.

These are spots we don't share online to keep the privacy of these locations for our couples. Our couples have access to our exclusive location guides after booking.

contact us TO GET OUR LOCATION GUIDE

we'll show you the best locations

You won't find the best locations online. You need a Yosemite wedding photographer who has spent time hiking around the park and scouting these locations in person.

We provide our couples with exclusive location guide, custom timeline and vendor recommendations!

CONTACT US

Yosemite WEDDING RECEPTION VENUES

Even if you're having a small wedding or elopement, "receptions" can be a great way to celebrate after your ceremony! This is when you can have dinner, share your first dance, eat some cake, and even have guests give toasts.

Reception venues include Yosemite Valley Lodge, AutoCamp Yosemite, Rush Creek Lodge, Wawona Hotel, Curry Village, Yosemite Bug, Redwoods in Yosemite or other restaurants, AirBnB/VRBO's outside of the park. Here are a few of our personal favorite reception locations:

Majestic Yosemite Hotel Wedding

The Ahwahnee Hotel is not to be missed! On the outside the hotel is a bit unassuming, but once you step indoors you can really see how grand this location is. This is the nicest hotel and reception venue, conveniently located inside of Yosemite Valley.

PRICE: $$$

DISTANCE FROM YOSEMITE: IN THE VALLEY

GUEST COUNT: 0-180

contact us about this location

This reception venue doubles as a quaint restaurant and bed & breakfast! That means you and your guests can celebrate your wedding here, then walk back to your room to rest for the night. We've shot multiple receptions here and absolutely love it. The venue is stunning and the food and drinks are fabulous.

PRICE: $$

DISTANCE FROM YOSEMITE: 1.5 hour drive

GUEST COUNT: 0-120

contact us about this location

AN AIRBNB

There are many AirBnB's, VRBO's and other rentals that allow small parties and receptions on the property. The best way to find these is to browse rental properties and contact the owners directly for more information.

PRICE: Varies

DISTANCE FROM YOSEMITE: varies

GUEST COUNT: Varies

contact us about this location

You'll have the option of having your ceremony onsite at Wapama Grove, or apply for a permit to have your ceremony in the park and have dinner with your guests at Evergreen Lodge! Located about an hour drive out of the Valley near Hetch Hetchy.

PRICE: $$

DISTANCE FROM YOSEMITE: 1 hour drive

GUEST COUNT: 0-200

contact us about this location

Tenaya Lodge is just outside of the park and is an affordable option for receptions with on-site lodging. They have ceremony options as well, but we suggest getting married in the park for the best views!

PRICE: $

DISTANCE FROM YOSEMITE: 1 hour drive

GUEST COUNT: Varies

contact us about this location

How much does it cost to get married in Yosemite?

The cost to get married in Yosemite starts at $245 which covers your wedding permit ($150), marriage license from Mariposa County ($60) and the park entrance fee ($35/vehicle, unless you have a National Park Pass). At a minimum, you'll likely want to purchase wedding attire, hire a photographer, videographer, florist, hair and makeup artist. You may also need to account for travel, transportation and lodging. The average total for a Yosemite wedding is $16,195 after all wedding expenses and vendors.

The total cost for your wedding will vary significantly depending on the style of wedding you choose to have. For example, a simple elopement with no guests will be much more affordable than a wedding with guests which you will then need a venue to host a reception, cater food, hire additional vendors, etc.

It's important to note that elopements can be as simple or as extravagant as you desire, there is no set cost for this type of wedding! The great thing about eloping is that you can allot your funds towards an experience and things that you value rather than an expensive venue and material items.

The couples that hire us value their photos and experience more than anything, which is why they typically spend majority of their budget on their photography package. Below is a breakdown of the estimated expenses for a Yosemite wedding. This is not a quote or elopement package.

Multi-Day ELOPEMENT

(with guests, photo + video)

Full Day ELOPEMENT

(no guests, Photo + Video)

Half Day Elopement

(NO Guests, Photo only)

Yosemite Wedding permit - $150

Marriage License - $60

Entrance fee - $35/vehicle

Photography - $14,000

videography - $3,500

Officiant - free (included with our services)

Wedding Attire - $3000

Forals - $500 (Bouquet + Boutonnière)

Hair & makeup - $500

lodging - $450 (three nights at an airbnb in oakhurst)

Yosemite Wedding permit - $150

Marriage License - $60

Entrance fee - $35/vehicle

Photography - $15,000

videography - $3,500

local Officiant - $500

Wedding Attire - $4000

Forals - $1000 (Bouquet, Boutonnière & ceremony arrangement)

Hair & makeup - $800

lodging - $1,800 (three nights at the AHWAHNEE)

reception venue & dinner - $100+/guest

Yosemite Wedding permit - $150

Marriage License - $60

Entrance fee - $35/vehicle

Photography - $12000

Officiant - free (included with our services)

Wedding Attire - $1500

Forals - $300 (Bouquet + Boutonnière)

Hair & makeup - free (diy)

lodging - $108 (three nights camping in yosemite valley)

estimate ~ $14,153

estimate ~ $22,195

estimate ~ $28,845

Hey, we're Savannah & Greg!

Yosemite Elopement Photographers

We're a husband and wife team specializing in elopement photography and videography in Yosemite. We believe eloping is the best way to get married, so much so that we did it ourselves! We know it can feel overwhelming not knowing where to start, which is why we help couples set a date, pick a location, make a timeline, etc!

learn more about us

Yosemite Elopement Packages

Photography Packages

Included Services

Photography & Videography

It might seem counterintuitive to look for a photographer before you have an exact location and date set, but trust us on this one. If you're looking for some help finding the perfect location, an elopement photographer who specializes in the area you're considering will be a huge help to you.

Professional photography and optional videography services from an experienced husband/wife team who've photographed over 150 weddings together. Posing guidance and direction to make you feel and look great in front of the camera, no experience necessary.

VIEW PRICING INFORMATION

Planning Guide

A 50+ page digital planning guide to help you through the whole elopement planning process. Including tips on booking travel and lodging, buying your attire, activity ideas, packing checklists, including family and more.

Custom Location Guide

A list of all the most beautiful locations in the area you choose based on scenery, accessibility, permits and logistics. We do the work so you don't have to!

Timeline Creation

We'll craft a timeline that fits all the locations, activities, and moments you have planned for your day as well as consider ideal lighting and making sure your whole experience is relaxed and stress free.

Vendor Recommendations

Looking for a florist, hair and makeup artist, or other vendors? We've got you covered with local recommendations.

Yosemite Wedding Photos

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