Yosemite Wedding – Intimate Elopement

Yosemite wedding

Can you guess what date Michelle & Joe picked for their Yosemite wedding? Yup, 4.3.21 – one of the coolest wedding dates this year! Back in 2020 when they reached out, they were set on the date but weren’t sure of the location yet. Fast forward a couple of months and their hearts were set on a Yosemite wedding, and you know what else? At sunrise!

Sunrise Yosemite Wedding

In many of my blog posts, I always advise getting married on a weekday and/or at sunrise. In a place as famous as Yosemite National Park, chances are you’ll encounter a big crowd of tourists on the weekends. Obviously, I couldn’t be happier when Michelle told me my blog posts made them decide on a sunrise elopement! Not only they were getting married on a Saturday, but it was also a holiday weekend, just before Easter, so you can imagine how crowded the Park would be.

We started our day by getting up at 4:15 am to start the drive to the Park. Meanwhile, Michelle woke up at 3:30 am and started her makeup at 4 am! And by now you are probably thinking that getting married at sunrise is not for everybody, right? And you’re right, it isn’t.

However, when you think about the perks of waking up SUPER early, you’ll quickly change your mind, so let’s chat about them:

  • watching the first light of the day hitting Yosemite Valley is magical
  • the Park will most likely be empty until about 11 am or so
  • your chances of having a peaceful ceremony are way bigger than later in the day
  • it will be easier to get the wedding permit approved by the Park
Yosemite wedding

We were also able to go to one of the most popular waterfalls in Yosemite and get to shoot there without too many people! And we scored not one but TWO rainbows! How crazy?!

Why elope?

From Michelle & Joe’s first look all the way to their ceremony at El Cap Meadow, the whole morning felt relaxed and intimate. Joe’s brother was the officiant and their ceremony was seriously so beautiful! They read personal vows to each other and you could tell they were so comfortable the whole time. This is one of the reasons we love elopements so much. There’s no pressure to be perfect. You can be 100% comfortable when you’re surrounded by people that truly know you. You can be yourself all day – and this is what elopements are all about.

Michelle & Joe went back to their Airbnb to eat and hang out with their families, and we started our drive back home. Stephan and I couldn’t stop smiling, it was such a good morning. And then something else made us smile even more… the huge line of cars waiting to get in the Park. And we were going in the opposite direction. All I could think was how much I love sunrises… and elopements… and Yosemite.

Photo: Stephan & Adriana

Makeup & Hair: SesentirAimee Artistry

Flowers: Tallulah Rose Artistry

What does it take to have a Yosemite Wedding?

Getting married in Yosemite is nothing short of magical. So here’s a quick overlook on what you need to know to start planning your Yosemite wedding:

  • pick a date + ceremony location – you can find the list of ceremony spots here
  • apply for a permit – download the application here
  • start planning your dream wedding in Yosemite – find lodging, hire your vendors, and build your timeline, and etc!

PS. due to COVID-19, Yosemite National Park is only allowing weddings with up to 10 people. This will most likely change throughout the year. I’ll keep this article updated.

This is just a quick step-by-step on how to get married in Yosemite. However, if you want to read more in-depth about permits, best times to visit, Yosemite wedding venues, where to stay, and more – check out my Complete Guide to Elope in Yosemite!

Important Information!

Starting May 21st through the end of September of 2021 – Yosemite will require visitors to purchase reservations online before visiting the Park.

This is something Yosemite did last year to limit the number of people visiting the Park. The reservation system started due to covid, but it’s honestly a great idea to make sure the Park doesn’t get overcrowded – believe me, it can be insane.

You can see how the Reservation System works, what dates the tickets will start being sold and a lot more information HERE. Please read this page thoroughly, everything you need to know is there.

I’ll keep updating this throughout the year, as things continue to change. You can always follow Yosemite’s Instagram Page and visit their Official Website for more information.

Let’s chat!

We are Stephan & Adriana, California Elopement Photographers specializing in weddings and elopements at Yosemite National Park. We’re here to help and can’t wait to hear from you!

Yosemite Wedding Photographers
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Leave a Comment

  1. Sunrise elopements in Yosemite are truly magical and have so many perks! Highly recommend them too. And that Tunnel View first look is so dreamy! Great resources here for your Yosemite elopement!

  2. Afton says:

    Hoooly that light at Tunnel View for their first look is so magical! I love the way you guys captured and edited the day; the photos and the couple look so natural and effortless.

  3. I am blown away by this sunrise flooding over the Yosemite Valley! Beautiful images, I love how you captured all the emotions of the day!

  4. Sunrise in Yosemite is to die for – soooo beautiful! Looks like these two had a super special day!

  5. Sydney says:

    Sunrise elopements are seriously underrated! Yosemite is a gorgeous backdrop to their photos and vows, you captured it all so beautifully!

  6. Sunrise elopements are my absolute favorite! I wish there were more morning people lol. Their elopement was pure magic. Thank you for all the great tips. Having links to the main park sites is so helpful for those of us who are local.

  7. beautiful! I bet its so cool there at sunrise with like no one in the park yet. What a sweet couple.

  8. Jacqueline G says:

    What an absolutely magical sunrise elopement! That lighting for the first look is just creamy and dreamy!

  9. […] Yosemite Valley Wedding in the Spring […]

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