Are you starting to explore options for a Yosemite elopement? Have you already decided that you absolutely want to elope in Yosemite? Congrats!
If you’re wondering, can I elope in Yosemite? The answer is a definite YES! An elopement in Yosemite is an amazing option for adventurous couples and those looking for outdoor adventure images. Whether you love the epic heights of a granite rock outcrop or a rushing waterfall backdrop, there’s something for you at Yosemite.
This guide will take you through everything you need to know about eloping in Yosemite National Park.
We’ll cover the following topics:
This post will guide you through how to elope in Yosemite. If you’re planning to elope just the two of you or have a larger ceremony with up to 50 guests, there are elopement locations in Yosemite National Park to fit your needs.
When planning a Yosemite National Park wedding, the first thing you’ll want to do is decide on your elopement ceremony location. (But we’ll have plenty of photo ops throughout the park!)
All Yosemite National Park ceremonies require a permit, and your desired ceremony location will need to be indicated when you send in your permit application.
So let’s start there!
Yosemite is a little different than some of the other national parks because there are twelve ceremony sites designated for groups of 11 or more people.
Remember, we can always move to a more private location to get additional shots before or after the ceremony! The possibilities are endless.If you have 10 or fewer people in your party, your group is not limited to the list of ceremony locations outlined by the National Park Service. Let your imagination run wild.
Maybe you already have your ideal location in mind, or you’d like some help finding the right location for your elopement. Maybe you want a lesser-traveled, more private site for your elopement photos.
Whatever you’re looking for, I’m here to help! I offer location research to all of my clients to make the process easy for you.
Keep in mind that if you’ll have more than 10 people at your ceremony, you will be limited to the twelve designated ceremony locations at Yosemite.
But don’t worry — we’ll have plenty of options to take photos in other locations!
Yosemite is a magical elopement location for its incredible scenery, breathtaking views, straightforward permitting and fees, and some great accessible options. Here are some of the best places to elope in Yosemite!
Taft Point is the iconic mile-high granite rock that offers incredible panoramic views of the valley below. This is a popular area with heavy traffic, but we can always get your adventure photos here, then move to a more private ceremony location.
Glacier Point Amphitheater is one of the official sites that accommodates larger groups and offers gorgeous views at Glacier Point plus seating in the amphitheater. This popular spot has heavy foot traffic at times, but we can always move to a more private location before or after.
Half Dome is possibly the most recognizable landmark in Yosemite. This granite dome formation rises over 4,700 feet above the Yosemite Valley. This location is definitely for the adventurous! Hiking to the top of Half Dome is a strenuous day hike that’s very popular, so expect crowds. This location can be enjoyed no matter the season, and nearby you’ll find accommodations and dining options. Again, we can get your epic photos and move to a private location to capture additional special images!
Tunnel View is one of the most popular spots in Yosemite National Park, so expect there to be a crowd — but you’ll have breathtaking views of the valley below. If Tunnel View is on your must-do list, we can get your iconic shots and then move to a more private location for additional photos to capture the magic.
For the gorgeous backdrops of pine groves, Merced River, and a view of Yosemite Falls, this area is perfect for scenic photographs. And, it’s easily accessible from the road with limited parking nearby.
Bridalveil Fall, the name says it all. This stunning location features the most prominent waterfalls in Yosemite, making it a popular wedding ceremony site.
This gorgeous location gives you a wilderness feel, breathtaking views, and it’s easy to access from the main roads. Nearby waterfalls, domes, and Tenaya Lake give you a ton of options within a small radius in Yosemite. As a lesser travelled area, you can expect a bit thinner crowds in comparison to some of the larger spots!
Beach views with a backdrop of granite rocks and pine trees — what more can a nature lover want? This incredible location is most popular in the summer, where water activities abound. Be sure to consider the Tioga Road conditions for other seasons.
This is an amazing site for a wedding in Yosemite National Park where we can capture some truly jaw-dropping images with amazing views and a little less foot traffic than some of the other big spots.
You’ve chosen your destination for your ceremony. Now, how do you elope in Yosemite exactly? Let’s first talk about permits and fees.
It’s not the most fun part of planning your elopement, but luckily Yosemite makes permits and fees pretty straightforward!
The National Park Service requires everyone getting married or taking part in wedding-related photo shoots in Yosemite to apply for a wedding permit (also called a special use permit).
Here’s a link to download the wedding/ceremony permit application that you’ll fill out and mail to the NPS.
In your application, you’ll be asked to include:
Then, you will need to:
Yosemite does require a photography/videography permit, which I’ll take care of. I take care of all photography and videography-specific permits that might be required at any location.
Many couples choose to elope on short notice. That’s absolutely no problem when scheduling an elopement in Yosemite.
As long as you send in your application and schedule your Yosemite elopement more than 21 days in advance, you’re good to go.
You can schedule your ceremony up to a year in advance. This time frame gives you plenty of options to plan your elopement between now and the big day.
This is the dream of so many engaged couples — and with just one look at these photos, you can see why.
With Yosemite micro weddings and elopements, there’s still location planning to be done. I love helping my clients plan locations! It takes some pressure off of you and I truly love helping my clients discover new locations that are a little more off the beaten path (i.e. no huge crowds and plenty of space for private photos)!
One important thing to note: weddings and ceremonies have a 2-hour time limit at all locations within Yosemite National Park. I always work with you efficiently within this timeframe to get you all the photo ops you want without feeling rushed.
And, the options for photographs are limitless before and after your ceremony. We’ll make sure you get all the images you’re hoping to capture during this once-in-a-lifetime experience getting married at Yosemite.As a Yosemite elopement photographer, I love helping couples discover scenic locations that fit their personalities to capture memories of their love and the entire experience at the park.
Here’s a little bit about how the process works:
NPS highly recommends visiting the park prior to finalizing your plans and ceremony site. However, if it’s not possible for you to visit the park prior to your elopement, I’m here to help!
Before you plan to elope in Yosemite, be aware of the rules set in place by the National Park Service. You can view all the rules and regulations here on the plan your visit page on the park service’s website.
To take advantage of the endless beauty of Yosemite, many couples I work with plan to spend a few days in the area so they have plenty of time to explore!
There are so many beautiful rental properties from rustic cabins to getaway houses to choose from. No matter your style, you’re bound to find something you love.
Extended vehicle passes are available through NPS for longer stays, which is great if you’re planning to stick around and make more memories together as newlyweds.
Autocamp Yosemite is another great spot right outside the park! One of my other favorite options is that you could also rent an RV or campervan from Outdoorsy (this link will give you $50 towards your RV rental!)
Ready to start dreaming up your Yosemite elopement?