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Yosemite Elopement Guide

A starter's guide on how to elope in Yosemite

Yosemite elopement

©Jenna Stevens Photography. All images used on this blog are subject to copyright. It is prohibited to copy, redistribute, or republish any photo without prior written permission from us. We reserve the right to take legal action against anyone or business willfully infringing on our copyright. Please link back to the appropriate page on our website if you are allowed to share our content.


ELOPING IN YOSEMITE: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW


If you're thinking of eloping in Yosemite, you're in for a real treat. With its stunning landscapes and majestic forests, Yosemite is the perfect location for an intimate wedding. In this guide, we'll tell you everything you need to know about planning an elopement in Yosemite National Park. From where to get married to how to prepare, we've got you covered! So if you're ready to say "I do" in one of the most beautiful places on earth, keep reading!





If you know anything about me, you know I’m super passionate about elopements and Yosemite holds a VERY special place in my heart (it's where I eloped!!!)


I will never get tired of going to Yosemite for an elopement or wedding, and the more I go, the more I learn. So I’m gathering all of that good information, giving you my top tips, and telling you a few of the best locations for a Yosemite elopement!




What is an elopement and why might it be a good option for you


Eloping is often seen as a spontaneous act, and in many ways, it is. Eloping generally means running away to get married without telling anyone in advance. Often, elopements are spur-of-the-moment decisions, driven by a desire to escape the constraints of traditional weddings. But eloping doesn't have to be an impulsive act; it can be a well-planned decision. There are many reasons why couples may choose to elope, but one of the most common is that they want a more intimate and personal wedding experience. Eloping allows couples to focus on what's really important to them: their love for each other. without the distractions of a large wedding, they can truly savor the moment and create lasting memories. Plus, eloping can save you a lot of money! If you're looking for a unique and special way to get married, eloping may be the perfect choice for you.


Yosemite Wedding Permit


If you're planning on getting married in Yosemite, you'll need to obtain a special use permit from the park. This permit is required for all weddings and ceremonies taking place in the park. As of 2023, the permit fee is $150, and if event monitoring is required, you will be charged an additional $50 per hour. However, the fee is well worth it for the once-in-a-lifetime experience of getting married in one of America's most beloved national parks. Plus, there are plenty of breathtaking locations to choose from, so you're sure to find the perfect spot for your ceremony. If you're dreaming of a Yosemite wedding, be sure to apply for your special use permit early so you can start planning your big day. Applications can be submitted up to one year in advance but no later than 21 days prior to your event, so apply sooner rather than later!


©Jenna Stevens Photography. All images used on this blog are subject to copyright. It is prohibited to copy, redistribute, or republish any photo without prior written permission from us. We reserve the right to take legal action against anyone or business willfully infringing on our copyright. Please link back to the appropriate page on our website if you are allowed to share our content.





Yosemite Elopement Locations


There are plenty of beautiful spots to choose from. Some of our favorites include Glacier Point (for sweeping views of the Valley), Cook's Meadow (a serene meadow located near Yosemite Lodge), and Sentinel Bridge (one of the most popular spots for wedding photography). Ultimately, it all comes down to personal preference - pick a spot that has meaning to you and your partner.




Glacier Point / Glacier Point Amphitheater

If you're looking for an unforgettable place to elope, Glacier Point Amphitheater is a perfect option. With its stunning views of Half Dome and easy accessibility, it's no wonder this is one of the most popular places to get married. Whether you're eloping with just a few close family members or inviting guests to join you, there's plenty of seating and space at Glacier Point Amphitheater. And because it's such a popular spot for weddings, you can be sure that your ceremony will be special and intimate. So if you're dreaming of eloping in a truly beautiful setting, Glacier Point Amphitheater should be at the top of your list.


Taft Point

If you're looking for an epic elopement location with stunning views, look no further than Taft Point in Yosemite National Park. While it's become a popular spot for eloping couples, the views are truly unbeatable. The hike to Taft Point is relatively easy, but the trail is only accessible when Glacier Point Road is open. Glacier Point Road was closed in 2022 but plans to reopen in Late Summer 2023. Check the National Park site for updates.This spot is perfect for eloping couples planning on getting married from late May through October. Eloping here in November can be risky due to weather conditions.


El Capitan Meadow

El Capitan Meadow is the perfect place to elope if you're wanting an incredible view of the mountains without having to hike for hours. The fall colors in the area are gorgeous, and even in the dead of winter this spot is beautiful. Many people visit El Capitan Meadow to observe rock climbers on El Capitan, making it the perfect spot for adventure-seeking couples. Whether you're looking for a quick elopement or a longer ceremony with family and friends, El Capitan Meadow is a great option for all seasons.



Swinging Bridge Picnic Area

Swinging Bridge Picnic Area is underrated for elopements. The views are incredible and there are picnic tables and grills right there for you to use after saying "I do"! If you're wanting a waterfall in the background... this is your dream location! Easily accessible from the road and perfect for the couples who want a low-key and easy day.


Lower Yosemite Fall Paved Trail

This easy 1-mile loop is open all year round, and provides stunning views of the largest waterfall in America. The bridge can be a little slippery, but it's so worth it for the views of both the upper and lower parts of the falls. There's no parking nearby, but you can park at the Lower Yosemite Fall shuttle stop and walk the bicycle path. It doesn't add much distance to the walk, and there are amazing views along the way. So why not make your elopement dreams come true at Lower Yosemite Falls?


Bridalveil Falls

Looking to elope in front of a waterfall? Look no further! This location is open year-round and it’s not even a mile walk. I would be careful in the winter because it can get icy with the waterfall, but the location is stunning!! Even if you don’t elope here, I would recommend going and at least taking a few photos.



Planning your Elopement Ceremony


Eloping is a popular way to get married these days. After all, it's cheaper and less stressful than planning a traditional wedding. But just because you're eloping doesn't mean you can't have a beautiful ceremony. Here are a few tips for planning your elopement ceremony:


  1. First, decide on the location and visit the location ahead of time! You don't want any unexpected surprises coming up the day of your elopement. Unfortunately natural disasters can happen and wipe out your desired location!

  2. Next, choose who will officiate your ceremony. This can be a friend or family member, or even a professional officiant.

  3. Then, decide what kind of ceremony you want. Do you want something traditional, or something more unique? Are there any specific readings or traditions that you want to include?

  4. Finally, don't forget to plan for the logistics of your elopement. Make sure you have transportation arranged, and that everyone who is attending knows where to meet up. And of course, don't forget to pack your wedding dress!


With a little bit of planning, you can have the perfect elopement ceremony that is both personal and meaningful.



Yosemite elopement

©Jenna Stevens Photography. All images used on this blog are subject to copyright. It is prohibited to copy, redistribute, or republish any photo without prior written permission from us. We reserve the right to take legal action against anyone or business willfully infringing on our copyright. Please link back to the appropriate page on our website if you are allowed to share our content.



Tips for photographing your Yosemite elopement


Eloping in Yosemite is one of the most romantic things you can do. The scenery is breathtaking, and there are so many opportunities for amazing photos. Of course, you'll want to hire a professional photographer to capture your elopement. Here are a few tips to get the most out of your elopement photography:


  1. Plan ahead. Don't wait until the last minute to book your elopement photographer. The best photographers tend to book up well in advance, so you'll want to make sure you have your date locked in before you start shopping around.

  2. Do your research. Not all elopement photographers are created equal. Take some time to look at portfolios and read reviews to find a photographer whose style aligns with your vision.

  3. Be prepared. Once you've booked your elopement photographer, it's time to start thinking about what you want from your photos. Make a list of must-have shots and locations, and share it with your photographer in advance. This will help them plan for the best possible elopement photography experience.


Following these simple tips, you're sure to end up with beautiful elopement photos that you'll cherish for a lifetime.



Now it’s time to make the tough decisions. Do you want to elope with just you and your partner, or do you want a small group of friends? I always think the smaller the better! There’s nothing like having an intimate ceremony. Plus, you can always celebrate with a huge party later on!




Want me to shoot your epic Yosemite elopement? I would be honored! You can fill out a form to contact me here.


Yosemite elopement in el cap meadow

©Jenna Stevens Photography. All images used on this blog are subject to copyright. It is prohibited to copy, redistribute, or republish any photo without prior written permission from us. We reserve the right to take legal action against anyone or business willfully infringing on our copyright. Please link back to the appropriate page on our website if you are allowed to share our content.

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