I am so excited to share these 5 Tips for Eloping in Yosemite National Park!! As a photographer myself, it’s important to know how to get married in a National Park and guide my clients through the process of it all. But also as someone who just eloped IN Yosemite a couple of months ago, I wanted to share tips I learned from a bride’s perspective.
Yosemite National Park is one of the most popular and busiest National Parks, especially during the months of May through October. When you and your partner decided on a date you want to get married, please book a hotel, Airbnb, VRBO, etc. as SOON as you can! Let me tell you it felt like I was battling the internet trying to find something for eight people! I waited a little too close to my elopement date because I kept going back and forth on how many people, I wanted to invite to our elopement but in the end, we found an Airbnb right outside the park that was perfect!
Like I said before Yosemite’s busiest times are May through October but what I didn’t know what that the weather is dramatically different than the rest of California and can change temperatures. My elopement date was May 10th, and I was under the impression that it would be warm! I looked up what the weather was like the previous year during that time, and it was in the upper 80’s. With that in mind I picked out my wedding dress and a couple weeks before we leave, I check the weather and it says it’s going to be 30 degrees with a chance of SNOW! I was freaking out!!!! SO, I bought a long sleeve dress and decided to wear that instead of the other dress I bought… which was bittersweet, but we were having a reception with all friends and family when we got back from Yosemite so that dress wasn’t a total waste of money! Just remember to check the weather and be prepared for anything!
Let me tell you I was stressing a couple of days before we had to leave because I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t forget anything! But I’m pretty sure I overpacked! I didn’t need as much as I thought I did! We drove from Arizona to Yosemite, so it was a bit easier to pack the car up. Here’s a list of what I used and hopefully this can help you with your packing list! If you’re flying this list can also help!
For you to get legally married in Yosemite, you must get your marriage license from Mariposa County as well as have a wedding permit and park reservation from May 20th, 2022 through September 30th, 2022. Since we got married on May 10th we didn’t have a park reservation but we did have our marriage licenses from Mariposa County and a Wedding Permit. We arrived two days before our elopement day, so we had time to get our marriage license. They don’t take walk-in’s so you can make an appointment online or call the Mariposa County Government Office to make an appointment in advance. You can make an appointment as far in advance as you want, I did mine three months in advance.
With obtaining a Wedding Permit and Photography Permit you must go through the National Parks website, fill out the form and send it in via mail. There’s a lot more info on their website that you can read up on!
What my husband and I decided to do was have a sunrise elopement and the day before we would do a first look with just us and then take sunset photos! Boy oh boy am I SOOO glad I did this!!! From a bride’s perspective, it was way less stressful, and I could just enjoy the day of us getting married! Of course, I was still nervous, but I didn’t have to worry about him seeing me at 3 am! Plus, we got so many photos out of it!! I highly recommend hiring your photographer for two days to do sunset photos the day before, a first look, or a picnic! I promise it helps calms your nerves and you get to enjoy the intimate moments of spending time together before you officially say ‘I DO’!
What’s so great about elopements is that you get to make the experience however you want! You get to customize the day according to what you and your partner like to do! Not everyone will want to do a sunrise elopement like me and that’s okay! I just love being able to help and share these 5 tips for eloping in Yosemite National Park that I learned along the way – that I honestly didn’t really think about as a photographer!
Of course, if you need a photographer who’s experienced in getting married in Yosemite National Park, you know what button to click 😉
Photographer/Videographer: Cam + Larisa Photo + Film
Wedding Permit Link: Yosemite National Park Weddings
Marriage License Link: Mariposa County Marriage Licenses and Civil Ceremonies