How to Elope in Yosemite | Guide to eloping in Yosemite in 2023

Elope in Yosemite

Yosemite National Park is one of the most popular National Parks to visit in California. There’s no going wrong with this park no matter what time of year you visit. Located in the Eastern Sierras, it’s known for the iconic Bridal Veil Falls, ancient sequoia trees, and granite cliffs of El Capitan and Half Dome. Yosemite Valley offers a lot of restaurants, shops, lodging and museums. The whole park is breathtaking. 

As an experienced Yosemite elopement photographer I will be talking about everything from permits, best time of year to elope, locations, and more in this blog. The park has become extremely popular over the last few years for wedding ceremonies so if you’re wondering how to elope in Yosemite I’ve got you covered!

Do I Need a Permit to Get Married in Yosemite?

A Yosemite wedding permit is required to get married anywhere in the park. You must apply for your special use permit here. Since Yosemite is extremely popular for weddings, you need to apply months in advance. Permits may be applied for up to a year in advance. The permit cost is $150. 

Locations for Your Yosemite Elopement

Glacier Point Road will be closed to all traffic in 2022 for construction. In 2023 the road will have access with 30 minute delays. However, Glacier Point will be available for access through strenuous hikes. 

Glacier Point

You can’t go wrong with having a Glacier Point elopement. This is one of the most popular spots in the park where you see iconic pictures of Half Dome. Glacier Point is best at sunrise with the sun rising behind Half Dome. If you’re looking for iconic views with no hike this is your spot! You’ll get the ultimate “Yosemite elopement” experience here.

Yosemite Wedding Permit Required: Yes 

Season: Summer – Fall 

Special Note: If you’re looking to elope in the Glacier Point Amphitheater, it’s not available during July and August. 

Glacier Point Elopement

Taft Point

This is another iconic spot in the park where you can take pictures on a cliff overlooking the valley. The best time of day to elope here is for sunset when the sun sets behind the valley.

Yosemite Wedding Permit Required: Yes

Season: Summer – Fall

Taft Point elopement

Tunnel View 

This is a very popular spot in the park! This spot captures Yosemite’s beauty with El Captian on the left, BridalVeil Falls to the right and Half Dome in the middle. This spot is very easy access along the road with no hiking required. 

Yosemite Wedding Permit Required: Yes

Season: All year round

El Capitan Meadows

These meadows turn golden when the sun hits the valley and look gorgeous. You’re surrounded by waterfalls, tall trees and granite cliffs towering over you. 

Yosemite Wedding Permit Required: Yes

Season: All year round 

Yosemite elopement

Cathedral Beach

If you elope here you’ll have some of the best views of El Capitan in the park. Sometimes you can even see climbers on El Capitan if you bring binoculars!

Yosemite Wedding Permit Required: Yes

Season: All year round

Cathedral Beach Yosemite Elopement

Yosemite Falls

This is one of the most popular spots in Yosemite. The summer months have the most tourists here and it can be hard to find privacy. 

Yosemite Wedding Permit Required: Yes

Season: Spring and beginning of summer

BridalVeil Falls

This location is stunning for your Yosemite elopement! You can stand underneath the falls (be prepared for a little mist). The surrounding area has woods surrounding it to get a different vibe for photos. 

Yosemite Wedding Permit Required: Yes

Season: Spring and beginning of summer

When to Elope in Yosemite

If you’re thinking about eloping in Yosemite it’s important to keep the time of year in mind. The best time to elope in Yosemite is during the spring and fall months. Summer months June, July and August are the most crowded and it’s hard to get privacy. On average Yosemite sees around 100,000 less visitors in September compared to August. During winter Glacier Point Road is closed due to snow. Even during spring/late fall Glacier Point Road will occasionally shut down due to risk of snow storms.

You’ll also need to decide if you want to elope during sunrise or sunset. Certain locations in the park are better for either sunrise or sunset. So if you’re set on a specific location and want to make sure you have optimal lighting for photos. It’s good to check if the location is better for sunrise or sunset. If you’re not sure you can reach out to me and I’d be happy to help. 

Glacier Point elopement

How Much Does it Cost to Elope in Yosemite?

The cost of eloping in Yosemite varies for each couple! It really depends on how much you want to spend. Things to consider when factoring cost are a photographer, florist, makeup artists, and a videographer. Finding vendors for Yosemite can be more expensive because of travel costs. So you can decide what vendors are important to you if you want to keep costs lower! 

Here’s a breakdown of estimated costs for your Yosemite elopement:

  • Yosemite Elopement Photographer: 
    • $3,500-$7,000
  • Special Use Permit
    • $150
  • Photo/Film Permit
    • $150
  • Marriage License
    • $60 (Mariposa County is the closest place near Yosemite to obtain your marriage license)
  • Makeup & Hair
    • $300-$600- Most will require a travel fee so it can vary
  • Florist
    • $300-$3,000 – If you want to have a nice floral set up, I would estimate that it’ll be on the higher end. To save money, you can always get a nice dried floral bouquet for your elopement. 
  • Officiant
    • $400+ 
    • I recommend getting a Yosemite officiant to add on to your elopement experience! 
  • Lodging
    • $250+
    • This really varies! You can get a cheaper hotel outside of Yosemite in the El Portal area. Hotels in the park are a lot more expensive, but also more convenient. If you’re having guests for your Yosemite elopement you can always rent a large cabin and split costs.
  • Private Chef
    • $200+
    • Private Chefs add a really cool touch for your elopement. They will come to your cabin and cook for you! 
  • Travel and Accomodations
    • Depending on where you’re traveling from you’ll need to calculate costs of flights, gas, food costs, rental cars, etc. 
Yosemite elopement

Meet Your Yosemite Elopement Photographer

Hi, my name is Tiffany and I’m an adventure elopement photographer! Not only do I help document your elopement, but I also help to craft it. I’m here to help make sure that you have the best experience ever. I help assist in finding the best location for you, handcraft your timeline, give you vendor recommendations/an elopement guide and so much more! 

I’m a huge outdoors lover and adventure seeker which is where my passion for documenting adventurous elopements comes in. I firmly believe that your wedding day deserves to be intentional and focused on you. Elopements absolutely have my heart!

I offer Yosemite elopement packages! So if you’re looking for a Yosemite elopement photographer contact me so we can start planning your dream elopement! 

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