Yosemite is becoming a popular elopement location, and for good reason – it’s STUNNING! I had the pleasure of photographing a sunset elopement at the park, and I picked up some great tips that I want to share. If you’re thinking of planning your own Yosemite National Park elopement – here’s what you need to do first.
How to Plan your Yosemite National Park Elopement
1. Choose your ceremony location and get a permit.
You’ll need to do a bit of research ahead of time to decide what type of area you’d like to have your ceremony at. You can find out how many guests are allowed at each location, as well as when each spot is open to the public.
It’s recommended on Yosemite National Park’s website that all wedding ceremonies take place during the early morning hours (before 10am) in order to avoid heavy foot traffic from other park visitors.
If you’re not even sure where to start planning your Yosemite National Park Elopement?
Here are some great elopement ceremony locations at Yosemite:
- Glacier Point
- Swinging Bridge
- Lower Yosemite Falls
- El Capitan Meadow
- Glacier Point Amphitheatre
- Cascades Picnic Area
- Taft Point
- Merced Grove and Tuolomne Grove (where you’ll find giant Sequioa trees!)
- Tenaya Lake Beach
- Sentinel Beach Picnic Area
- Cathedral Beach Picnic Area
You also need to keep in mind how many guests you’ll have at your elopement (if any), and what’s allowed on site and what isn’t.
Also, always, ALWAYS follow LNT (Leave No Trace) guidelines!
If you’re not sure about what Leave No Trace entails, you can ask your photographer or get more Leave No Trace info here.
2. Choose the time of day for your elopement.
It’s recommended that you opt for early morning at most locations. But if you have your heart set on a sunset elopement at Taft Point, then talk to your photographer about planning out your elopement day timeline accordingly.
You can also have your ceremony at one location, and then end the day with bridal portraits at another location in the park at sunset. I’m all for photos of my couples in stunning vistas and landscapes following their wedding ceremony!
3. Plan your elopement day timeline.
Make sure you leave time in your wedding day schedule to adventure and be spontaneous! Since you’re going to be in one of the most beautiful national parks in the world, why not go exploring a bit?
Even if you don’t feel like hiking, you can still venture to at least a couple of spots to take some photos or have a few quiet minutes alone.
4. Should you include family and friends in your elopement day?
This is a big one. A lot of people WANT to elope, but feel like they’d be disappointing their family if they’re not included in the wedding day. But eloping doesn’t mean you have to run away in secret together! If you’d prefer it that way, awesome! Go for it!
But if you’d love to include your parents, siblings, or close friends, then you can still have them be a part of your ceremony and just keep the guest list small. A lot of couples also have a private ceremony and vow exchange at sunrise, and then meet all of their guests later in the morning for a “second” ceremony and celebration.
Your elopement day is all about the two of you and your relationship together, and it doesn’t have to look any particular way. You do you!
5. Consider the weather/season for your elopement.
When you plan to elope out in the elements, you really need to think of everything ahead of time! You don’t have the luxury of heating or air conditioning, so try to plan your elopement during a season or time of year when you’ll both be relatively comfortable.
If you’re getting married during the hot summer months, choose a lightweight suit or dress made of light, flowy fabrics.
If you know it’s going to be a bit cold or you’re planning a sunrise elopement close to fall, choose your outfit accordingly. It seems obvious, but it’s easy to forget all about practicalities when you find “the dress”! When you shop for wedding attire, keep the weather in mind, and invest in a good pair of hiking boots if you know you want to do some hiking on the day of.
So, to sum it all up – here’s how to plan your elopement in Yosemite National Park!
- Choose your ceremony location and get a permit
- Choose the time of day for your elopement
- Plan your wedding day timeline
- Decide whether you want to include friends or family
- Consider the weather or time of year
I hope you found these Yosemite elopement tips helpful!
Looking for someone to help you plan your elopement?