Hi! I'm Sam Bond, a destination wedding photographer/videographer based out of Tennessee! I have fallen in love with national parks and traveling! I would absolutely LOVE to document your wedding day! I am also ordained and would be great asset on your elopement day! I wanted to write this blog to make planning your elopement even easier! Hope it helps! Feel free to message me If you have other questions!
Eloping has taken off in the last few years and I'm not surprised at all! Planning a full wedding day with hundreds of guests can be a major task and can sometimes leave you missing out on that connected feeling with your partner. If you're wanting that super connected feeling to your partner and not spend a fortune on your wedding, I highly recommend eloping!!
We're going to talk about eloping specifically in Yosemite National Park. Yosemite is arguably one of the BEST national parks in the world! Depending on what time of year you go, you can see amazing roaring waterfalls or incredible mountain views down into Yosemite Valley. Yosemite is incredible YEAR ROUND for so many amazing reasons. Picking which time of year you'd like to go might be the hardest part of all of this! haha
Picking a wedding date in Yosemite
Summer- arguably the best time of year to visit the park. Depending on the weather, all the roads should be open and you'll have access to the entire park! A con is that the park will be at its busiest! In this case, eloping on a weekday is definitely the most recommended for an intimate feel.
Spring- This is the best time to visit the park if you are all about the waterfalls! In the spring, Yosemite's snow will start to melt, which means those waterfalls will be ROARING. A con of this time of year is most likely not all of the roads will be open.
Fall- If you're a lover of fall colors, you will love Yosemite in the fall! The yellows and oranges of the trees are just gorgeous!!! Con is depending on which date you go with, not all of the roads will be open anymore!
Winter- The most peaceful season in the park. If you want a super intimate experience, this might be your best bet. This time of year is definitely off-season. You may get a fresh blanket of snow in your photos which is so dreamy. On the other hand and potentially a con is the weather can get pretty wild and tire chains may be required to travel the park. Not all roads will be open this time of year.
How much does it cost to elope in Yosemite National Park
The park has a fee of $150 to have a ceremony in the park. Yep, $150! That's it. Eloping is looking better and better isn't it?
Some additional fees might be required based on needs and size of party but typically, this is the price!
Getting a Permit to Elope in Yosemite National Park
This is going to seem like the most daunting part of the process but I PROMISE it's really not bad!!! All you have to do is print out your permit application, fill it out, add your check/money order and send it in! It's THAT simple! You can fill this permit out up to a year in advance but no more than 21 days before your elopement. Personally, I would not wait that long to be extra safe. I'd work on it as soon as you have a date picked out!
This button is a link to wedding/elopement permit info straight from the National Park Service website! Below it is a link straight to the permit you will need to fill out!
Postal mail:Special Park Uses/Film and WeddingsYosemite National Park, National Park ServiceP.O. Box 700El Portal, CA 95318
Overnight (FedEx/UPS):Special Park Uses/Film & WeddingsYosemite National Park5083 Foresta RdEl Portal, CA 95318
This is where you will mail your application into!
Picking a Ceremony Spot for Your Elopement in Yosemite National Park
To fill out your application, you will need to have some choices made about where in the park you would like your ceremony. This location is for your ceremony only. You are free to take portraits anywhere in the park with your permit!
The national park has made an awesome list of locations you are free to choose from to have your ceremony at. Some of these locations such as Glacier Point are only available based on road conditions and time of year. If you are sold on a specific spot, make sure it will be accessible the time of year you choose!
Don't worry! This process is much easier than you think! Yosemite National Park does an amazing job of being easy to work with on these permits! If you have sent in your application and you haven't heard from them, give them a call at (209)379-1858 or email them by clicking the link below!
That's all for now! I truly hope this gave you some clarity and eased your mind with planning your big day!! Thanks so much for reading!!