Yosemite National Park Wedding Permit Policies


yosemite wedding permit for adventure elopements in the National Park


This blog post is in no way endorsed by Yosemite National Park or any National Park of the USA. For more information, please visit the Yosemite National Park website.


Yosemite’s wedding permit department is responsible for managing all the wedding requests, permits, and licensing in the Park. There has been some confusion. Some of you have heard that Yosemite has been cracking down on photographers and couples without a permit, and that is true. Others have been turned around without a permit.

To be fair, Yosemite is trying to keep track of the weddings in the park while trying to maintain a generous park experience for all. I support this endeavor.

It is well known that if you are a couple getting married inside Yosemite National Park, you (the couple) must apply for a permit and be approved before having your ceremony. As a Yosemite wedding photographer, I assist my couples in getting their permits. However, the NPS of Yosemite is working on revising rules for photographers and weddings in the park for a better experience.


Surely, if you are a photographer hired to photograph a wedding or elopement in Yosemite National Park, or even an engagement session, photo shoot, etc., whether it is at the top of Glacier Point or at the Majestic Hotel, your couple is currently required to apply for a PERMIT. You must be with the couple and they must have a permit. Apply here for a permit YOSEMITE WEDDING PERMIT

Steps to Obtain a Wedding Permit in Yosemite National Park

Obtaining a wedding permit for Yosemite National Park involves several important steps to ensure your special day goes smoothly amidst the park’s natural beauty and regulations. Here’s an expanded explanation of each step:

  1. Choose Your Date and Location – The first step in planning your Yosemite wedding is selecting both a date and a specific location within the park. Yosemite offers a range of breathtaking settings, from iconic viewpoints like Glacier Point to serene meadows and historic sites like the Ahwahnee Hotel. Consider the time of year and the weather conditions, as well as the accessibility of the location for you and your guests.
  2. Research and Prepare – Before applying for a wedding permit, familiarize yourself with the regulations and guidelines set forth by the National Park Service (NPS). These can typically be found on the Yosemite NPS website under the “Special Use Permits” section. Understanding these rules will help you plan your ceremony within the park’s framework and ensure compliance.
  3. Complete the Application Form – The next step is to fill out the Special Use Permit application form provided by Yosemite National Park. This form collects essential details about your wedding plans, including:
    • Date and time of the ceremony
    • Specific location within the park
    • Estimated number of attendees
    • Contact information for the responsible party (usually the bride, groom, or wedding planner)
  4. Application Fee – Alongside the completed application form, you will need to submit a non-refundable application fee. As of the last update, this fee was $150. This fee covers administrative costs associated with processing your permit request and is payable by check or money order. Ensure the fee accompanies your application to avoid delays in processing.
  5. Submit Your Application – Once your application form is completed and your fee is ready, you can submit them to the designated Special Park Uses office. This office handles all permit applications and inquiries related to weddings and other special events within Yosemite National Park. Applications can typically be submitted via mail or email, as specified on the Yosemite NPS website.
  6. Await Permit Approval – After submitting your application, the NPS will review your request. It’s advisable to submit your application at least 3-6 months in advance of your desired wedding date to increase the likelihood of securing your preferred location and time. During peak wedding seasons or holidays, demand for permits can be high, so early submission is key.
  7. Receive and Review Your Permit – If your application is approved, you will receive a formal permit from the NPS. This permit will outline the specific conditions and guidelines for your wedding ceremony within Yosemite National Park. It’s crucial to review these conditions carefully to ensure compliance on your wedding day.
  8. Prepare for Your Wedding Day – With your permit approved and conditions understood, you can now focus on finalizing your wedding plans. Coordinate with vendors, guests, and any additional services you may require for the ceremony. Remember to share the permit details with your wedding party and guests to ensure everyone understands the rules and expectations set by the NPS.
  9. Enjoy Your Special Day – On your wedding day, take time to appreciate the natural beauty surrounding you in Yosemite National Park. Capture memories with stunning photographs against the backdrop of iconic landscapes and create unforgettable moments with your loved ones.

Additional Tips and Considerations

  • Weather Contingency Plans – Yosemite’s weather can be unpredictable, especially in mountainous regions. Have a backup plan in case of inclement weather to ensure your ceremony goes smoothly.
  • Leave No Trace – Respect the natural environment by following the park’s “Leave No Trace” standards. Pack out all trash and decorations, and leave the area as clean as you found it.
  • Photography Permits – If you plan to hire a professional photographer, they may need their own permit to operate within the park. Coordinate with them in advance to ensure compliance.

By following these steps and considerations, you can navigate the process of obtaining a wedding permit in Yosemite National Park effectively. Embrace the opportunity to celebrate your love amidst one of the world’s most stunning natural landscapes, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Why Choose Yosemite for Your Wedding?

Choosing Yosemite for your wedding offers an unparalleled experience rooted in its breathtaking natural beauty and historical significance. Here’s an extensive exploration of why Yosemite stands as an exceptional choice for your special day:

1. Natural Grandeur and Iconic Landscapes

Yosemite National Park is globally renowned for its awe-inspiring natural features. From the towering granite cliffs of Half Dome and El Capitan to the cascading waterfalls like Yosemite Falls and the serene meadows dotted with wildflowers, Yosemite provides a majestic and romantic backdrop for your wedding. These iconic landscapes offer dramatic settings that elevate your ceremony and photography to unmatched levels of beauty.

2. Versatile Wedding Locations

Whether you envision exchanging vows in an intimate forest clearing, by a serene riverside, or atop a panoramic overlook, Yosemite offers diverse and picturesque wedding locations to suit every couple’s style and preference. Each site within the park has its unique charm and can accommodate various wedding sizes, from small, private ceremonies to larger celebrations with family and friends.

3. Memorable Experiences for Guests

A wedding in Yosemite promises more than just a ceremony—it offers an immersive experience for your guests. Beyond the event itself, guests can explore the park’s hiking trails, visit historic landmarks such as the Ahwahnee Hotel, or simply enjoy the tranquility of nature. Yosemite provides ample opportunities for adventure and relaxation, ensuring that your wedding becomes a memorable getaway for everyone involved.

4. Photographic Opportunities

For couples who value stunning wedding photography, Yosemite offers endless possibilities. The interplay of light and shadows on granite cliffs, the mist rising from waterfalls, and the vibrant colors of sunsets over Yosemite Valley provide perfect backdrops for capturing timeless and breathtaking images. Whether you prefer candid shots in natural settings or more formal portraits against iconic vistas, Yosemite’s landscapes ensure that every photograph becomes a cherished memento of your special day.

5. Seasonal Beauty

Yosemite’s beauty changes with the seasons, offering unique atmospheres for weddings throughout the year. Spring brings rushing waterfalls and blooming wildflowers, summer offers long daylight hours and warm weather, autumn showcases vibrant foliage, and winter blankets the park in snow, creating a serene and magical setting. Each season in Yosemite offers its own distinct charm, allowing couples to choose a backdrop that perfectly complements their wedding vision.

6. Environmental Stewardship

By choosing Yosemite for your wedding, you support the preservation of one of America’s most cherished national parks. Yosemite National Park is committed to sustainable practices and minimizing environmental impact. Your wedding ceremony can be a celebration not only of your love but also of the natural world, aligning with values of conservation and stewardship.

7. Historical and Cultural Significance

Yosemite is not just a natural wonder; it holds deep cultural and historical significance. From the indigenous Ahwahneechee people who originally inhabited the area to the conservation efforts led by figures like John Muir, Yosemite’s rich history adds layers of meaning to your wedding ceremony. Choosing Yosemite allows you to connect with a place that has inspired generations and continues to captivate visitors from around the globe.

Choosing Yosemite for your wedding is about more than selecting a beautiful location; it’s about embracing a unique blend of natural splendor, cultural heritage, and environmental stewardship. It’s about creating lasting memories in a place that embodies the grandeur and spirit of the American wilderness. Yosemite offers couples an opportunity to exchange vows surrounded by unparalleled beauty and to begin their journey together in a setting that is as timeless as their love.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some FAQs about Yosemite National Park Wedding Permit:

Q. If I have an engagement session, adventure session, portrait session in the park, does the couple still need a permit?

Answer: yes.

Q. What is the cost for a Yosemite wedding permit?

Answer: The cost right now is $150. More information can be accessed on the Yosemite website below.

Q. I have a Yosemite wedding coming up soon, is it too late to apply?

Answer: No, you can still apply.

Q. Where can I read more information about Yosemite Weddings?

Answer: Visit the main Yosemite Website for more info here: YOSEMITE WEDDINGS.

Q. What are the requirements for getting married in Yosemite National Park?

To tie the knot in Yosemite National Park, you must first get a Special Use Permit by completing an application and paying a non-refundable charge. Choose a specific spot within the park, follow park rules such as group size limitations and environmental guidelines, and guarantee compliance with all permission conditions specified by the National Park Service.

Q. How far in advance should I make a reservation for a wedding or special event in Yosemite National Park?

It’s recommended to make reservations as early as possible, ideally 3-6 months in advance, especially for popular locations and peak seasons.

Q. Are there additional fees for using certain facilities or amenities in the park for events?

Yes, depending on the facilities or services you require, there may be additional fees. It’s important to inquire about specific fees when planning your event.

Q. Are there restrictions on the number of guests I can have at my event in Yosemite National Park?

Yes, each location within the park has specific limits on the number of attendees allowed for events like weddings. These limits help preserve the natural environment and ensure safety.

Q. Can I bring my own officiant for the wedding ceremony in Yosemite National Park?

Yes, you can bring your own officiant for your wedding ceremony in Yosemite National Park. The park allows couples to choose their officiant, whether it’s a friend, family member, or professional of their choice. Ensure your officiant understands and respects the park’s regulations and guidelines for ceremonies to ensure a smooth and memorable event.

Q. Are there any noise limitations during wedding ceremonies at Yosemite National Park?

Yes, there are noise limitations during wedding ceremonies in Yosemite National Park. The National Park Service enforces quiet hours to minimize disruption to wildlife and other park visitors. Amplified music and loud noises are generally prohibited to maintain the park’s tranquil atmosphere and natural soundscape.

Q. What documents or paperwork do I need to provide when applying for a wedding permit at Yosemite National Park?

When applying for a wedding permit at Yosemite National Park, you will typically need to provide a completed Special Use Permit application form, detailing your event’s date, location, and number of attendees. Along with the application, a non-refundable fee is required, usually payable by check or money order. Ensure all details are accurate and complete to facilitate the processing of your permit request.

Capture Your Yosemite Wedding with Charleton Churchill Today!

Are you envisioning an unforgettable outdoor wedding amidst the scenic wonders of Yosemite National Park? At Charleton Churchill, our Yosemite Wedding Photographer specializes in capturing the intimate moments and raw beauty of your special day against the backdrop of majestic mountains, tranquil forests, and cascading waterfalls. Whether it’s navigating the regulations and securing your marriage license, reserving the perfect Yosemite wedding venue location, or coordinating with park officials and your ranger officiant, we’re committed to ensuring every detail is flawlessly executed.

Contact us today to embark on your Yosemite wedding adventure and let us help you create timeless memories that you and your guests will treasure forever. Visit our website or give us a call to begin planning your extraordinary celebration amidst the breathtaking landscapes of Yosemite National Park!


For wedding permit information contact by email or by phone 209-379-1858.

Attn: Catherine Carlisle-McMullen
Special Park Uses/Film & Weddings
osemite National Park, National Park Service
P.O. Box 700
El Portal, CA 95318

Overnight (FedEx/UPS):
Attn: Catherine Carlisle-McMullen
Special Park Uses/Film & Weddings
Yosemite National Park
5083 Foresta Rd
El Portal, CA 95318

If you are searching for a Yosemite wedding photographer for your wedding or adventure elopement, you may visit here:
Charleton Churchill Photography



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