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How to elope in Yosemite!

You are doing it! Congratulations on making the decision to elope in the beautiful Yosemite!

There are going to be lots and lots of decisions to make but, hopefully we can walk you through it. I know first hand how the process is for getting married in Yosemite since my wife and I eloped back in 2019.

First thing to think about!

Choosing your date.

There are many things to think about honestly. Some areas are closed after a certain date. Some areas are going to be much more heavily trafficked. And you want to take in consideration of the weather as well. Are you wanting spring, summer or winter?

Here’s whats going on each season!

Spring

You want to visit in the late spring! So think late April to early June! During this time most of the snow from the mountains is beginning to melt and Yosemite Falls is in full force! If you are wanting waterfall photos then this is the time to go!

Summer

The busiest time of the year for sure! But there is good reason! Weather is always nice, the waterfalls are still flowing and if you are thinking about heading to Olmstead point or Taft Point the roads open back up and you wont be freezing!

Fall

My personal favorite time of the year! A little less busy than the summer with great weather to go along with it! If you are thinking about Taft Point or Glacier Point you definitely need to plan before the end of September because the road up to there closes beginning October!

Winter

Prepare to be cold! There is something about Yosemite in the winter that brings out the magic! There is snow EVERYWHERE and it is beautiful! Although most of the park is closed, the valley is open and incredible!

Choosing a location.

This one also ties in with choosing your date! Some areas are closed off at a certain point in the year. For instance, the road to Taft point and Glacier point shuts off sometime in the Fall and won’t reopen till later in the spring! You can check out the historical closing dates of all the roads and trails in Yosemite here. This will give you a better understanding of when might be the best time to go.

But with each location in Yosemite comes a beautiful adventure! Some are going to be harder than others and that is something to keep in mind as well.

Will you have guests? You might want to look into locations such as Cathedral Beach, Glacier Point and the Chapel in Yosemite Valley!

These locations will have enough room for everyone, places to park, seating and restrooms as well!

Want to make an adventure?

Looking to be a bit more intimate and adventurous? The whole park is a ceremony location! As long as your group is smaller than 11 in total then you can have a ceremony in any location of your choice as long as we are on a designated trail. We can absolutely do some research together to find the perfect place for the two of you! Here’s a list and some information about all of the locations in Yosemite!

Is there a permit? Marriage license?

Yes there is! And with a little time ahead and planning the process is super easy! To apply for the permit you will need to complete the application, pay the nonrefundable fee of $150, send it off and wait for confirmation. For small intimate elopements fewer than 11 people in total (including vendors) where you will be getting married really anywhere that application process is easy I recommend 8 months in advance. But if you were wanting to reserve let’s, say Glacier point where there might be more people then you need to keep in mind that it is a first come first serve situation. Please submit your application as early as possible to ensure that you reserve your spot in advance. I recommend at the very least 8-12 months to make sure you reserve the location!

The permit application is so incredibly easy and we are here to help you throughout the entire process!

You will also need to apply for your marriage license as well. California may be different than the state you are living in currently. You will need to visit the courthouse of the county you are getting married in! in the case of Yosemite that will be Mariposa County just outside of the park! You can find all of the application details here!

How many people can attend?

Having guests might be super important. The park allows a maximum of 50 guests. But, not all locations allow that many. You make sure how many guests are allowed in each location here. Keep in mind some locations might not have seating or restrooms for your guests so plan ahead!

Where do I stay?

There are tons of places for you to stay in! There is quite a bit to think about here than you might think.

There is plenty of lodging in the park if you are wanting to make things as eas
First thing to think about is what type of stay are you looking for? Cabin, Hotel, Bed & Breakfast, just a simple AirBnb? You have TONS of options to choose from

First BIG thing to think is Where?

There is lodging to be found everywhere in the area. The great thing about yosemite is you will always find somewhere to stay that fits exactly what you are looking for. This is always something that is overlooked in my experience, so let's talk about a few things really quick!

Distance

Probably THE most overlooked part of choosing a place to stay in! Of course staying inside the valley at Yosemite Valley Lodge is going to the best access to the valley and most of the trailheads! But, When choosing your location to stay definitely make sure to check out the distance to your ceremony location. If you are staying in Oakhurst expect over an hour and a half just to get to Tunnel View.

Availability

Yosemite has it's seasons for sure! The most busiest times of the year are going to be late April to beginning of August. Be sure to plan accordingly when choosing a place to stay! Lodging in the park sometimes gets booked up 6-12 months in advance. If you are throwing a quick elopement together soon you might have better (and cheaper!) options outside the park near Oakhurst or Mariposa!

Bringing Family?

If you are thinking about bringing along family and wanting to have everyone stay together then a small room at Yosemite Valley lodge probably isn't the best idea! I would absolutely recommend finding a cabin or AirBnb outside the park that can accomodate everyone!

Who else am I missing?

The great thing about Yosemite is that it is home to some of the best vendors out there!

Here are some friends of mine that I highly recommend!

How do I get to Yosemite?

Unless you plan on taking a road trip here is where I would recommend flying to!

Fresno

Definitely the most direct flight to get to Yosemite! Fresno is about a little over an hour away from Yosemite entrance and only about a half hour to Oakhurst! This is a pretty small airport with only about 4 gates so not many options when it comes to flights.

San Francisco

The next closest BIG city! This will put you about 3 hours from the Yosemite entrance! It's a huge airport so there's always going to be great deals going on!

Los Angeles

Probably the biggest airport option with usually great prices from your major city! Be prepared for a bit of a drive with it taking about 4 and a half hours to get to the Yosemite entrance!

Other than my marrying my best friend, what else can I do?

The great thing about Yosemite is that it is massive! This is something I definitely underestimated when I eloped there. To really enjoy the full experience of the park you need a good solid 4 full days. That means on other days you are kissing each other the trails and hikes are definitely something you need to do.
Here's what I recommend!

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