Yosemite National Park is hands down one of the most beautiful places to elope or host an intimate destination wedding in California. The location is known for its endless valleys, waterfalls, and of course, stunning mountain views. Saying “I do” in Yosemite is way easier than you think and has everything you can dream of for your wedding day.
However there are a few important details that need to be squared away before you say your vows. Keep reading for the important can’t miss details you need to know when planning your Yosemite National Park elopement or destination wedding:
As of Spring 2021, any non-commercial vehicles pay a $35 entrance fee that is valid for seven days. Advance payment is preferred on the website or you can pay with your credit card upon arrival. Admission is free for all US military and veterans. You can also purchase an annual pass to Yosemite National Park for $70!
If you and your fiance are feeling adventurous, consider the America the Beautiful – National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass for $80. This annual pass will cover standard entry and amenity fees for other national parks and federal fee areas for up to 12 months! For more on entry fees and passes, click here.
Permits & Marriage License Requirements
Securing your Yosemite National Park destination wedding or elopement is as easy as submitting your application with a $150 permit fee. An additional $50/hour is charged for an event monitor for outdoor activities of 30-50 people or more. Yosemite National Park’s ceremony locations are available on a first come, first serve and can be reserved anywhere from 21 days to one year in advance for a 2-hour maximum. Permits will not be issued on holidays or over holiday weekends due to heavy visitor activity.
For your marriage license, there are several neighboring county clerk offices you can visit if you plan on getting married at Yosemite National Park:
Visit their websites for more details on applications, requirements, and fees!
Film & Photography Permits
Times are changing in videography due to a recent decision regarding commercial filming issued by the US District Court for the District of Columbia! Having a permit for videography or photography is no longer required if the footage or images will not be used for commercial activities. However, we recommend contacting the National Park Service for more details and confirmation in advance.
We believe in supporting the National Park Service and not putting our couples at risk of having their wedding day cut short. It is always better to be safe than sorry in our book!
Please Note: Drones are currently not permitted, but we can still use it to film the surrounding areas!
Picking your Yosemite Ceremony Location
Yosemite National Park has a pre-approved list of ceremony locations for your elopement or intimate destination wedding, which you can view here. If your party has fewer than 11 people, you are not limited to these locations, with the exception of open meadows and riparian environments.
Regardless of where you say your vows in Yosemite, you are guaranteed plenty of natural beauty and many stunning views. You can wed in picnic areas, groves, beaches, or even near a waterfall! As videographers, we are experts in recommending the best locations for your, and you can view more of our suggested Yosemite ceremony sites here.
Also take note of the following rules & restrictions the park has in place to preserve the environment:
Working with experienced videographers, especially in a government-regulated national park area, is essential so that you don’t miss any permits, fees, etc. Plus, you don’t want to accidentally break the rules and end up with an unfortunate, hefty fee on your wedding day!
Yosemite National Park Elopement & Destination Wedding Inspiration
Still looking for inspiration for your Yosemite National Park elopement or intimate destination wedding? Check out our past films and stories here.
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