So, due to the crazy-ass, ever-evolving, cluster#### of the Covid-19 pandemic, the info here may not be entirely accurate at all times. Sorry about that, it’s not my fault, I swear! 🙂 I’m local, I’m constantly working to stay abreast of changing conditions and requirements, and I’m in the park on a regular basis. So definitely get in touch to chat about your plans!

Also, this page is still under construction with new info and photographs being added all the time. There are lots of places to get married not listed here – get in touch!

Couple standing on ledge during their wedding at Taft Point looking over Yosemite Valley

YOSEMITE ELOPEMENTS AND INTIMATE WEDDINGS

Eloping in Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon, Lake Tahoe, Big Sur, or any “secluded spot in the woods” can be a fantastic, magical experience. Just you, and maybe a small handful of those closest to you, proclaiming your commitment to each other. It’s a wedding distilled to its bare essence, in a space befitting the magnitude of the day, free of the distractions that come with the traditional wedding.

I put together this info specific to Yosemite weddings, but many of the ideas can be applied to an elopement or intimate wedding anywhere. I have photographed weddings all over the Sierra Nevada, and the Central California Coast over the past 15 years, and I would love to hear your plans and help you plan your perfect wedding!

Bride and groom eloping in Tuolumne Meadow in Yosemite National Park

I grew up outside Yosemite, just down the mountain in Fresno, CA. Being raised by an avid photographer and outdoor enthusiast, meant days upon days were spent in Yosemite and the surrounding Sierra Nevada mountains camping, hiking and taking pictures. I’m intimately familiar with the park and surrounding areas and I can’t wait to show you around!

I hope you find a ton of information, and I definitely hope we get a chance to talk about your wedding plans – call, text, or email. Thanks!

Click here to send me an email!

WHERE SHOULD WE DO THIS THING?

Let’s get into this question right up front! I’m sure that finding the perfect spot for a wedding is at the top of yours, and everyone single other couple’s planning list. It’s going to set the theme, set the adventure, and is going to be the canvas for your wedding pictures. With a venue like Yosemite National Park, there are literally dozens of possibilities. Some are hard to get to, while others are easily accessible; some are only open in summer, while others are open year around but in the thick of tourist crowds. The list below is not exhaustive by any means, but it includes the main ceremony locations from the NPS website WITH pictures.

NOTE: If you have 10 or less people (including yourselves, officiant, photographer, and any guests), you can have your wedding virtually anywhere – let’s talk about your dreams and come up with the perfect spot!

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK ELOPEMENT AND INTIMATE WEDDING LOCATIONS

Click the “Load More Posts” button to see more locations!

PERMITS AND LICENSES

Bride and groom kiss while standing on an island in the Merced River in Yosemite Valley

To have an elopement or a wedding in Yosemite, you will need a permit from the National Park Service. The permit is $150 and you can get all the details, as well as download the permit application here (click!). This fee also applies to wedding related sessions like engagement sessions and proposals even if there is no ceremony involved. Holidays, and holiday weekends are blacked out, and truthfully for everyone’s enjoyment, weekends in general should simply be avoided whenever possible.

To be legally married in Yosemite, you’re also going to need a marriage license. If you live in California, you can get one at your home County Clerk’s office. If you’re traveling from outside California, you can stop at a County Clerk’s office wherever you fly in, or you can stop by the Mariposa County County Clerks office (closest to Yosemite) on your way to the park. Here’s a link to the Mariposa County website for all the details.

WHEN SHOULD WE HAVE OUR YOSEMITE WEDDING?

Yosemite is magnificent in every possible season, it’s literally impossible to make a bad pick. That said, there are unique aspects to each season.

My first choice is fall, hands down – October and November in particular when the leaves are changing colors, the temperatures are mild to cool, and the crowds are minimal. It’s like some magical Tolkien Middle Earth Elvin land, with the only possible downside a potentially dry Yosemite Falls (Bridalveil Fall typically flows year around).

Close behind is spring, April to early June, before the summer masses show up, but the water falls are pounding, the trees have their leaves back, the meadows are green with blooming wildflowers, and my favorite of May – Dogwood blossoms!

Then there is winter – rain and snow are common, but that means rain and snow are common! Weather, low hanging clouds clinging to the cliffs, all that moody atmosphere makes for an amazing space. Don’t sell winter short, even if it’s cold, it’s beautiful.

Finally, that leaves summer – clear blue skies with afternoon thunderheads, green meadows, the falls may be dwindling, or they might not. The summer brings the crowds, sunrise weddings are the rule of the day, but if you find a weekday sunrise to celebrate your elopement, you’ll be rewarded with a quiet, stunningly beautiful scene.

Note, if you’re looking to access the high country – Glacier Point, Taft Point, Tuolumne Meadows, Tenaya Lake, Olmstead Point, or other locations along Tioga Pass Rd, you’ll want to look at June through late October-ish as they’re inaccessible after the snow begins to accumulate.

Bride and groom on a trail in Yosemite National Park with fall color
Bride and groom snuggling against a tree at Olmstead Point in Yosemite National Park
Portrait of bride and groom in front of El Capitan
Bride and groom laugh with their wedding party during their ceremony at The Majestic Yosemite Hotel

SUNRISE

Don’t tell anyone, but sunrise in Yosemite National Park is by far the most magical of times. Even in the busiest parts of the year, the masses are still in bed and if they’re up, they’re having breakfast. If you can make it out, you’ll be rewarded with solitude and grandeur unequaled anywhere in the world. The light can be tricky down in the deep Yosemite Valley, but locations on the rim, like Glacier Point, are spectacular.

Wedding couple at sunrise at Glacier Point with Half Dome, Vernal Falls, and Nevada Falls Below

SUNSET

Of course sunset is equally majestic, but you do have to accept that there will be a few bonus guests at your elopement if you’ve chosen one of the most iconic of locations. It’s all fun though, and I love how excited other visitors get for couples getting married in Yosemite. In fact after this particular ceremony, we did a huge group photo of all the strangers from around the world who ended up celebrating the couple’s wedding day! There are ways to avoid even small crowds like these, and that’s one of the huge advantages of having a local lead the way.

WHY SHOULD WE HIRE YOU?

I’m going to assume you like my pictures since you made it this far! My best quality is that I can’t stay serious for longer than 30 seconds at a time. This means we’re going to laugh…a lot! I’ve been photographing weddings for 15 years (over 400 of them!) and if something’s going to happen at a wedding, I’ve probably seen it at this point. This is important, because heading into wilder places, especially the National Parks, brings a whole host of other potential challenges with it. With me you get a local – someone who’s been roaming this park since he was eight years old. I know where you can always find a parking spot, where to find the perfect light, when the shuttles will bail us out on a blown up schedule, where all the real FLUSHING toilets are, the best places to stay, how to avoid a crowd no matter the day or time, and of course I know amazing locations both easy to reach, and those for whom a little adventure is the goal.

PRICING

Of course if you’re going to get married in Yosemite, you’re going to want some jaw-dropping, mind-blowing photography to immortalize the adventure. I hope my photography fits what you’re looking for, and I have several different options to fit most budgets and imaginations.

Note – the Basic and Expanded options are only available Monday to Thursday year around, and Monday to Friday from October to April.

PEAK

  • Full Day Rate
  • Custom Crafted Adventure for Two
  • or, Traditional Wedding at the Hotels
  • Ceremony + Extended Portrait Session
  • Preparations Coverage
  • High-Res Files
  • Online Gallery + Download
  • $3900

BASIC

  • 90 Minutes of Coverage
  • Ceremony + Short Portrait Session
  • High-Res Files
  • Online Gallery + Download
  • $950

EXPANDED

  • 3 Hours of Coverage
  • Bonus Hour for Location Travel/Hike
  • Ceremony + Extended Portrait Session
  • High-Res Files
  • Online Gallery + Download
  • $1500

ADVENTURE

  • 6 Hours of Coverage
  • Ceremony + Extended Portrait Session
  • Preparations Coverage
  • Extended Travel/Hike
  • High-Res Files
  • Online Gallery + Download
  • $2900