Yosemite National Park is one of the best places to get married in California and is considered California’s most famous national park. With dramatic cliffs, towering waterfalls, luscious meadows, and tons of wildlife, Yosemite is the perfect place for an elopement.

Within this guide, I included everything you need to know about how to elope in Yosemite, including Yosemite elopement locations, packages, activities, lodging, and permit information!

Top 7 Yosemite Elopement Locations

Yosemite has pre-approved ceremony sites for weddings and elopements that are on a first-come, first-serve basis. If you have less than 11 people attending your elopement (this includes your photographer and officiant), you are not limited to the following locations. Keep in mind that some of these locations can only be reserved during certain months. To see season availability and view all locations within the park, check out this list.

Taft Point

Max capacity: 11

Season availability: The Tuesday after Memorial Day to September 30th.

Taft Point is one of the most iconic lookout points in Yosemite. It’s one of the busier locations, especially during sunset. At the top of Taft Point, you can see Yosemite Valley, El Capitan, and Yosemite Falls. This venue definitely isn’t for the faint of heart though, as the height of Taft Point is 3,500 feet high! 

Important: The road up to Taft Point will be closed in 2022. The only way to reach it is via the Four Mile Trail, a long and strenuous 9.6-mile hike.

Glacier Point in Yosemite.

Glacier Point Amphitheater

Max capacity: 50

Season availability: The Tuesday after Memorial Day to September 30th. Weddings are not scheduled in July or August.

Glacier Point Amphitheater is one of the most popular locations in Yosemite. One great thing about this area is the seating that is provided for guests, something a lot of the elopement locations in Yosemite don’t have. There are various trails around the area for photos, though keep in mind this location isn’t ideal if you’re wanting something more secluded.

Important: Glacier Point road will be closed in 2022. The only way to reach Glacier Point is via the Four Mile Trail, a long and strenuous 9.6-mile hike.

El Capitan Meadow in Yosemite.

El Capitan Meadow

Max capacity: 11

Season availability: Open year-round.

El Capitan Meadow is one of the most accessible locations within the park. The area is fairly large and not as popular as other locations, making this one of the more private places to exchange vows. El Capitan is famous for its rock climbers. It’s a unique experience to see, especially at night as their headlamps flicker on and off under the stars.

Sentinel Dome in Yosemite.

Sentinel Dome

Max capacity: 11

Season availability: The Tuesday after Memorial Day to September 30th.

If you’re looking for those sweeping views of the park without all the people, Sentinel Dome just might be the location for you. While you’ll certainly encounter tourists, this spot has arguably the best views of the park without the crowds you’ll find at places like Glacier Point or Taft Point. This location requires a 1-mile hike.

Merced Grove in Yosemite.

Merced Grove

Max capacity: 30

Season availability: Open year-round, though the hike is difficult in the winter with snow.

If you’re more of a forest-loving couple, consider getting married amongst the Giant Sequoias within Merced Grove. The 4.1-mile roundtrip hike will take you through a quiet and unpopulated grove of Sequoias. It’s also worth checking out Tuolumne Grove, though that hike is much more populated.

Tunnel View

Max capacity: 10

Season availability: Open year-round.

Yosemite National Park’s most famous and photographed spot is Tunnel View. With sweeping views of El Capitan, Bridalveil Falls, and Half Dome, this location is truly one of the best places to elope in Yosemite. Because this location is so beautiful, it’s extremely popular. Don’t even both trying to get a parking spot unless you plan your ceremony around sunrise!

Yosemite Falls

Max capacity: 50

Season availability: Open year-round. The falls flow from November to July with peak flow in May.

Yosemite Falls is one of the most iconic waterfalls in the U.S. and makes for one heck of an elopement backdrop. While you’re not allowed to have the ceremony at the base of the falls, there is a designated spot with a backdrop of the top of the falls. The trail to reach the spot is heavily trafficked, so be sure to plan accordingly. See the designated ceremony site on the left, taken by Fifth Photography.

Other Notable Yosemite Elopement Locations

Tunnel View in Yosemite National Park.

Yosemite Elopement Rules

Like all national parks, Yosemite has specific rules and regulations when it comes to ceremony locations, decor, and more. Below are the most important things you need to note. To see all the rules about ceremony locations, check out both this page and this page.

  1. Wedding permits are not granted for holiday weekends or holidays (Saturday, Sunday, and Monday).
  2. Pets are not allowed at wedding ceremonies.
  3. Wedding permits are not granted for holiday weekends or holidays (Saturday, Sunday, and Monday).
  4. Baby’s breath (a type of flower) is prohibited.
  5. Chairs, tables or other furniture are not allowed at the ceremony site.
  6. Decorations or signs are not allowed.
  7. Butterfly releases, and all other living and/or inanimate object releases or dispersal, including birdseed and rice, are prohibited. 
Glacier Point Road in Yosemite National Park.

How to Get a Yosemite Elopement Permit

Yosemite’s permit process is very straightforward, though it’s recommended to submit your permit application as soon as possible, as each ceremony location is on a first-come, first-serve basis.

To obtain a Yosemite elopement permit, you’ll need to fill out the special use application found on the park’s website here. Once you have filled out your application, send a $150 nonrefundable check or money order to the permit office. Once again, you can find the address on the park’s website here.

Your permit must be submitted between 1-year and 21 days before your elopement date.

If your event requires monitoring (usually weddings with 30-50 guests), you may need to pay an additional $50 an hour for monitoring.

Once your permit is approved, you will receive a copy that you will then need to sign and mail back. Once this is complete, the park will send you an official permit you will need to take with you into the park.

How Much Does a Yosemite Wedding Cost?

Having a Yosemite wedding or elopement is going to potentially cost you a bit more than you may expect. Of course, this depends on a few different factors.

In total, it will cost you $425 (or $275 if your photographer covers the photo permit) to elope in Yosemite.

  • Wedding permit: $150
  • Photo permit: $150 (I cover this, but some photographers don’t!)
  • Marriage license: $90 (this is dependent on each county)
  • Entrance fee: $35

Keep in mind that this doesn’t cover any additional costs such as lodging, flights, dress, suit, etc. This is purely the legal cost. To help you get a better idea of what your budget may look like, check out some of these examples below!

High-End Yosemite Wedding

  • $500 – plane tickets
  • $90 – marriage license
  • $150 – wedding permit
  • $2,000 – three nights at a luxury resort
  • $6,500 – photographer
  • $700 – florist for bouquet
  • $3,000 – dress, accessories, and shoes
  • $500 – hair and makeup
  • $800 – suit, accessories, and shoes
  • $500 – private chef
  • TOTAL: $14,740

Mid-End Yosemite Wedding

  • $500 – plane tickets
  • $90 – marriage license
  • $150 – wedding permit
  • $1,000 – three nights at a 3-star hotel
  • $4,500 – photographer
  • $400 – florist for bouquet
  • $1,500 – dress, accessories, and shoes
  • $400 – hair and makeup
  • $500 – suit, accessories, and shoes
  • TOTAL: $10,040

Low-End Yosemite Wedding

  • $500 – plane tickets
  • $90 – marriage license
  • $150 – wedding permit
  • $500 – three nights at a simple hotel/airbnb
  • $2,500 – photographer
  • $200 – florist for bouquet
  • $700 – dress, accessories, and shoes
  • $300 – hair and makeup
  • $300 – suit (rented)
  • TOTAL: $5,240

The Best Time of Year to Get Married in Yosemite

Fall

Fall is definitely the best time to get married in Yosemite. More specifically, in October. The weather is still pretty nice, the trees become vibrant and colorful, and the biggest perk is that there are minimal crowds. You seriously can’t go wrong with a fall wedding within Yosemite. November is also a good month to visit the park, but you get a much higher chance of snow, and therefore, less accessibility to certain areas of the park.

Winter

Winter is a great time to visit if crowds are your main concern. The park is close to empty during the winter. During this time, most of the iconic Yosemite wedding venues, like Glacier Point, are completely shut down. However, the entire valley is open and is a great spot to have a ceremony, especially if you want the magic of the snow.

Spring

Spring is also another great time to get married in Yosemite. This is when all the waterfalls in the park are at their peak. If you’re lucky, you might see some wildflowers during late May. It’s much more peaceful than summer, and much more accessible than winter. Again however, some of those higher ceremony locations might still be closed due to the snow.

Summer

Summer offers the best weather in Yosemite, and the park is fully open. However, this means that there are tons of people. I’m talking 5 million people in July and August. Not even a sunrise ceremony could lessen the crowds, so I personally don’t recommend Yosemite for your wedding during the summer months if privacy is something you’re expecting on your wedding day.

Sequoia trees in Yosemite National Park

The Best Places to Stay in Yosemite

Yosemite and the surrounding area has a variety of different lodging options you can choose from for your elopement. If you want something within the park, I recommend checking out The Ahwahnee. It’s a 4-star hotel and a romantic place to stay that’s close by to most things within the park. I also recommend the Yosemite Valley Lodge. This is a 3-star hotel that offers everything you’ll need for your stay in the park. Lastly, I can’t forget about the famous AutoCamp. Situated within the park, these one-of-a-kind airstreams are perfect for pictures, but they sell quick. If you get your hands on one, it will be an unforgettable experience!

If you prefer to camp for your elopement, Yosemite has a ton of different campsites around the park, but they sell out super fast. Be prepared to book your camping site 4-5 months before you arrive, You can check out how to reserve your spot and the camping calendar for Yosemite here.

There are also plenty of areas to stay in Yosemite on Airbnb and just outside of the park as well. Below are some of my favorites!

The Yosemite Cabin – One of my personal favorites, The Yosemite Cabin, is situated within the heart of Yosemite National Park. The cabin is modern, clean, bright, and very spacious. There’s also plenty of natural light, perfect for portraits.

Yosemite’s Chateau East – Located within the Park, Yosemite’s Chateau East is a cute and quaint home with a beautiful wrap around deck and blue exterior. It almost reminds me of the fake homes you can find around Disneyland.

The Alpenglow Cabins – The Alpenglow Cabins are also located within the park. These cabins are very modern, neutral, and bright. It’s the perfect getaway for those looking for a bit of luxury during their elopement.

Mountain View Cabin – If you’re looking for something secluded, Mountain View Cabin is for you. This spectacular cabin is located on top of a mountain just outside the park. Not only does the cabin have an epic patio, but there’s plenty of room and natural light.

Taft Point in Yosemite.

Important Yosemite Elopement Tips

#1: It’s extremely crowded. Many people don’t realize how popular Yosemite is for weddings and elopements. More often than not, you’ll end up waiting in lines for pictures. There are thousands of people within the park at any given time, and dozens of couples taking pictures in the same spot you are. If you don’t want crowds at your elopement, I highly advise going with a different location.

#2: Traffic is insane. Especially midday, traffic is insane in Yosemite, we’re talking bumper to bumper traffic. In fact, it’s not uncommon for drivers to follow pedestrians to their cars in order to snag the parking spot. It’s pure madness sometimes!

#3: Cell service is limited. Always plan ahead and communicate well with your vendors. The cell service in Yosemite is almost nonexistent, and even the WiFi can be very weak at the popular lodging options.

#4: Enjoy it! Yosemite is unlike anywhere you’ll ever go. It’s absolutely incredible and one of the best places in the world. Take time to slow down and take everything in.

Yosemite Elopement Activities

There is an abundance of activities to do in and around Yosemite! Below is a short list of some ideas you can steal for your own wedding or elopement.

Yosemite National Park in California.

Yosemite Elopement Packages

I’m Brianna, an elopement photographer based in California, and offer wedding/elopement packages for California, U.S., and destination elopements. To view all my packages, click here.

Yosemite Elopement Package Pricing:

  • 4 hours – 1.5 days of elopement coverage anywhere in California
  • A personalized elopement planning experience with unlimited assistance
    • Personalized elopement location recommendations
    • Vendor, lodging, and activity recommendations
    • Assistance and information to help you with permits, licenses, etc.
    • 90+ page elopement planning guide filled with tips and tricks
    • Customized elopement timelines
    • Optional complimentary officiant services
  • Online gallery with full resolution images and printing rights
  • 24-48 hour sneak peeks to share with the world
  • Travel fees to anywhere in California are already included
  • Starting at $5,500

Want more elopement inspiration? Check out this Big Sur elopement guide, beach elopement at Sunset Cliffs and more resources to help you plan your elopement!

FAQ

How much does a wedding in Yosemite cost?

It costs $185 to get married in Yosemite. The $185 cost comes from the wedding permit and entrance fee.

Where can I get married in Yosemite?

You can get married in any of the locations allowed by Yosemite National Park, including Glacier Point, Taft Point, Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, Sentinel Dome, etc.

Is Yosemite Park dangerous?

Yosemite National Park is not more dangerous than other national parks. As long as you’re careful and are aware of your surroundings, you’ll be just fine.

NEED HELP PLANNING YOUR DREAM ELOPEMENT?

Snag your FREE elopement guide to help you plan your dream elopement in California, Alaska, or even Spain! Learn everything you need to know about how to plan a “just us” experience.

A free guide all about how to elope, created by a California elopement photographer.
A girl holding a camera and smiling.

ARE YOU READY FOR AN ELOPEMENT EXPERIENCE LIKE NO OTHER?

I’m Brianna, a California elopement photographer who inspires, encourages, and empowers couples to push traditional boundaries and create experiences they’ll remember forever.

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