As John Muir once wrote, “no temple made with hands can compare with Yosemite.” One could journey far and wide and find few places that equal the majesty of Yosemite National Park, and if you long to join your lives in a natural setting, there’s nothing quite like a Yosemite wedding or Yosemite elopement, and I can provide you with photography that captures your couples’ heart and soul.
In every season, Yosemite is a treasure and I truly believe that this transcendent land is a part of me; it’s in the DNA of my history from childhood to the present. It’s been a place to give myself to, to belong and to just be and explore my soul.
Through this investment, I have discovered new depths of myself by uncovering gems this landscape has to offer. It is with a grateful and humble heart that I offer my services to help you peek into the depth of what this landscape has to offer.
Yosemite Wedding Venues
If you prefer a wedding ceremony with guests, there are some great options to consider. For instance, we can hike to Taft Point, which affords sweeping vistas of Yosemite Valley, including El Capitan. This is a relatively easy 2.2-mile hike, but, as you can see above, the view is extraordinary.
Glacier Point is a highly popular site for small weddings and wedding and elopement photography. In a previous blog, I talked about the frequently asked question – “is Glacier Point Road open?” This road had been closed for some time for improvements and while it’s set to be open in the Spring of 2023, this year’s immense snowfall and rainfall could push that date back. Still, by summer, the road should be open and available for those that are hoping for a summer or early autumn wedding or a Glacier Point elopement.
However, while we can shoot wedding photos at Glacier Point, it is not yet known when the Glacier Point Amphitheater will be open for weddings. Keep in mind, for adventurous couples, we may be able to hike up to Glacier Point for pictures even if the road is closed. It’s a strenuous hike, but I am always up for adventure and happy to lead the way.
Lower Yosemite Falls is another wonderful spot for a wedding ceremony and wedding photography. Bridalveil Falls and the Ahwahnee Hotel are other popular wedding sites in the park, but neither of these is likely to be available soon. Bridalveil may open as soon as July 2023, but it’s not likely that the hotel will be scheduling weddings until 2024.
The Yosemite Chapel is a popular option if you’d love a church wedding surrounded by amazing scenery. The chapel can hold up to 120 people, but you must arrive dressed and ready, as they don’t have any bathrooms or private rooms available.
Hosting a reception can be difficult inside the park. One fun option would be to book multiple sites at one of the Yosemite campgrounds and enjoy a rustic campground reception or use one of the picnic areas for a low-key reception. You won’t find more beautiful surroundings, and if you love nature, this can be a great option to consider.
If you do want a formal reception, you do have a few great options outside the park. We can have some fun in the park shooting your wedding photos and then head to your reception site. Options include the Wawona Hotel, The Redwoods or the Narrow Gauge Inn, all of which are in nearby Wawona. There are also some options to consider in Oakhurst and Mariposa, which are just a few miles outside of the park.
Yosemite Elopement Venues
For a Yosemite elopement, we can truly head just about anywhere in the park. I am up for backcountry hikes, kayaking down the river or snowshoeing through a snowy meadow to find the perfect spot for your adventure elopement photography. I have spent years exploring Yosemite, and I can find those hidden spots that are perfect for your destination elopement.
Yosemite is the perfect place for an elopement or an intimate ceremony with just a few people. We can hike to a waterfall, dance through a meadow, weave in and out of a forest of sequoia trees or climb to the top of a rocky peak. We can capture stunning daytime shots or pictures under a blanket of stars, whatever you wish for, I will do my best to make it a reality.
For either Yosemite elopements or Yosemite weddings, you will need to purchase a wedding permit, which costs $150. Weddings also are not allowed on weekends or holidays, but, frankly, the park can be crowded on these days that you will enjoy the experience all the more when it’s less crowded. Of course, as a seasoned Yosemite wedding photographer, I can find secluded, off-the-beaten-path locations where crowds won’t be an issue.
Wild Weather = A Yosemite Reality
Weather has and always will make a big impact on our world, and this year will present some very unique photographic opportunities with all of the snowpack. For instance, I love the reflections of a flooded meadow and a raging waterfall.
Our planet is so dynamic, and weather fluctuates, the storms rise and fall, giving life, taking it and receiving it. Nature is merciless and harsh, but it also is generative and full of grace. It shows us how to hold our darkness and light; it breaks our polarized vision of “either-or” and requires us to sit in tension with “both and.”
The fragility of each moment, the passing pain and beauty, it all belongs, because we are part of it. We are more connected than we know and nature helps teach us this truth, and it is a truth that you will know throughout your lives together. You are invited to this holy tension, into these sacred lessons. Though we forget, we will be reminded again and again. Life is beautiful, but it is not easy.
Whatever conditions your day might bring, we will capture the magic of nature in action and the joy of bringing your lives together. Expect the unexpected, and, as a wise person once said, “life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass – it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” We may dance in the rain, bask in the snow or savor a night sky full of stars, and the memories we create will be forever eternalized in your wedding photography.
There’s something special about an LGBT wedding, and I have enjoyed serving as an LGBT wedding photographer on many occasions. For these blessed events, I am always struck by the sheer joy of the occasion.
We live in a world filled with cynicism and too often people truly take love for granted. With LGBT couples, this just isn’t the case. They’ve fought too hard and for too long to take for granted the miracle of finding that one person that completes their world and, I, for one, love to capture these moments and preserve them forever.
Let’s Plan Your Photography Experience
Whether you opt for a Yosemite wedding or Yosemite elopement, I can provide you with spectacular photography that you will treasure for a lifetime. Take a look through my portfolio and then contact me at any time to discuss your wedding photography. In addition to Yosemite wedding photos, I also am a Lake Tahoe Wedding photographer and Lake Tahoe elopement photographer.