When Lauren reached out to us nearly a year ago, she knew what kind of wedding day she wanted, and where she wanted. Yosemite’s high country was such a special place to her and Riley that she had no doubt! They were going to have a Tenaya Lake wedding, and explore hidden hikes around that area of Yosemite National Park.
As for us, we could not be more excited to check out some new spots and adventure around this underrated area of Yosemite!
We started the day bright and early, capturing some getting-ready moments at The Ahwahnee, also known as “The Majestic Hotel”.
L+R had their first look in a quiet area, where they could see one of their favorite mountains in the Park, Half Dome. From there, we went around the Valley for a couple of shots before heading up to 8,000 ft to escape the heat (and the tourists).
Tenaya Lake Wedding Ceremony
This whole day was already so chill and relaxed, and nothing changed by the time the ceremony came around. L+R and their families walked together to their ceremony spot, chatting and enjoying the beautiful breeze as if this was just a normal family outing.
They had a beautiful and intimate ceremony, and we headed to the reception part of the day: a picnic overlooking the lake!
During the picnic, I remember Lauren’s sister kept saying “this is great”; “I think this is the best kind of wedding”.
While elopements can be confusing to some family members during the planning stages – and also on the day of – we always see the transformation. We always see everyone enjoying themselves, enjoying *quality* time with each other, and having absolutely zero obligations.
After the family started heading down, the 4 of us went off to one of our favorite parts of the day! Which, of course, involved climbing some rocks, hiking paths we hadn’t before, and watching the sunset.
This day was a long one. We left the house at 6:30 am and came back at 10:00 pm. We were shooting for a solid 12 hours. And yet, we came back home with more energy than ever.
Photography – Stephan & Adriana
Makeup & Hair – Timeless Artistry
Flowers: Wildbud co.
Cakes – Nothing Bundt Cakes
Dress – Rue de Seine Wedding Dresses
Tips to plan your Tenaya Lake Wedding
While this area of Yosemite is BEAUTIFUL, I do have to warn you – it’s high in altitude, which means the road closes in the winter months. You can check out the opening and closing dates since 1980 on Yosemite’s official website.
- the road typically opens in late May/early June and closes at the beginning of November
- you still need to apply for a wedding permit to get married in Yosemite’s high country
- permit applications cost $150, and can be done by mail
- permits can be scheduled up to one year in advance
- you should apply for the wedding permit *at least* 30 days in advance
A couple of facts about this area of Yosemite National Park:
- there is ZERO service
- download the map of the area on Google Maps so you can navigate offline
- there are no food services around, bring your picnic!
- there are some restrooms, but they’re all pit toilets
- once the sun goes down, it cools down quickly, so bring layers
Honestly, Yosemite’s high country is absolutely gorgeous.
And if you want to get away from the summer crowds, then this is a GREAT option!
For more information about how to elope in Yosemite, check out our most recent guide here!