Yosemite wedding venues come in many forms. The park is without a doubt one of the most stunning places on earth. Its outstanding natural beauty draws in people from all over the world. That makes it the perfect destination for an elopement. There are hundreds of incredible spots to perform the ceremony. Plus, exploring with your photographer to get those special moments is a blast! If you’re considering eloping in Yosemite National Park, there are a few things you’ll need to know. I’ll provide you with some of the best spots and tips for your special day in Yosemite.
There’s tons of incredible ceremony and romantic photo areas in Yosemite National Park. Here are a few of my favorites.
This is hands down one of the most breathtaking Yosemite wedding venues. It’s also one of the most popular spots in all Yosemite National Park. After the hour drive up hill, you’ll find incredible views of the valley and Half Dome! There are also tons of gorgeous pine trees and other scenery nearby. It all adds to the already amazing vibes. Also, the sunsets at Glacier do not compare to anything you’ve ever seen. It is magical!
Taft Point is at the end of a mile hike right down the road from Glacier Point. I actually prefer Taft point to Glacier Point as my favorite of Yosemite wedding venues. The hike is gorgeous and there is a huge expanse of cliff views. Taft Point overlooks El Capitan and Yosemite Falls (no Half Dome views). It’s 7500 feet from the valley below. There are so many amazing spots here but the one pictured below is the most iconic. It’s extremely dangerous though so you need to wear the right kind of shoes! At sunset, you can see the light streaming across the valley below.
On the way back from Glacier Point, you’ll find Tunnel View. It’s a famous landmark with iconic views. You can see The Three Brothers, El Capitan, Bridal Veil Fall, and Half Dome. Imagine exchanging vows with your love with a view this epic! It’s a once in a lifetime moment you’ll never forget. That being said, it’s one of the more noisy and congested of the Yosemite wedding venues.
Surrounded by beautiful trees and mountains, this “beach” location is pretty unbeatable. El Capitan is in the background too. You might even get some reflections of it in the water if conditions are right. It’s a great river spot with awesome backdrops and perfect for a small wedding ceremony.
This whole area has wonderful views. Especially of the lower Yosemite Falls and nearby Sentinel Meadow. There are many meadows, trees, and other hidden gems around the bridge as well. It’s a good starting point for hiking to nearby destinations. This is one of the best Yosemite wedding venues during the Spring.
It’s a tiny spot on the south side of Yosemite Valley. It offers iconic views and plenty of parking. It’s a great Yosemite wedding venues if you have some friends and family tagging along!
Running through Yosemite’s valley, this river offers a ton of amazing shooting spots.
With Yosemite Valley Lodge directly across the street, there’s a lot of parking. It’s flat and very walkable. The falls are also very beautiful!
There are more than these Yosemite wedding venues. There are also plenty of “off the beaten path” areas we may find along the way. I may yell “freeze!” at a random location if I envision something absolutely beautiful through my lens. With so many other nooks and crannies in Yosemite, it’s truly an incredible location.
Even if your elopement will only consist of you two, the photographer, and officiant, you still need a permit. U.S. National Parks allow ceremonies to take place on their grounds. But you will need a “special use’ permit which requires an upfront fee of $150 at Yosemite. If you risk it and don’t get a permit… think of how awful it would be to have to pause your big day if a ranger stops by to see your (nonexistent) permit? It’s not worth it. Plus, the money goes towards the national parks!
Tip: Plan to submit your permit application a few months in advance just to be safe.
At 4,000 ft in Yosemite, most people will be fine. It’s when you start to climb other Yosemite wedding venues such as Glacier Point where it gets iffy. It’s especially true when it’s hot! If you feel dizzy, sit down, take deep breaths and sip water. It’ll only last a few minutes, but it’s smart to take precautions and know beforehand it could happen to you!
One of the most popular reasons to elope is that couples don’t want to deal with the stress of wedding planning. Who can blame them? There’s no guest list, no reception planning, and a whole lot less money spent. Elopements are very special. It’s entirely about celebrating the love and commitment being shared together. It’s for you two, no one else!
Say goodbye to stress, and say hello to unbelievable photos and a fun-filled day of memories. Yosemite will not disappoint!
I can help make your day exactly the way you envision. You’ll leave with beautiful photographs that will last a lifetime. Learn more about me and what makes me different than other wedding photographers.
To see more, here is a Yosemite wedding I photographed last Fall.
Similarly, please check out more tips for how to plan an elopement and making your wedding day a more intimate affair.