What does your perfect wedding day look like? Do you imagine the gathering of loved ones from far and wide to celebrate you as couple?
Perhaps you dream of an intimate event with a few close friends and family members surrounded by nature in an epic landscape? A small knot of cherished people gathered to witness forever promises beneath ancient trees or enduring white granite cliffs.
Or maybe you picture a lavish, fully-catered celebration set in a historic lodge that combines an elegant wedding venue with a gorgeous natural setting. Can you smell the fresh mountain air as your guests sit down to a mouthwatering feast followed by a dance floor that pulses with music?
It sounds like a Yosemite National Park wedding could be perfect! A Yosemite wedding will mirror your love for the outdoors and will be full of natural beauty and adventure.
Wedding ceremony on the east terrace at The Ahwahnee. Photo Courtesy of Yosemite Hospitality
Plus, a wedding in Yosemite National Park means that you’ll treat your friends and family to a destination dream wedding in one of the most beautiful and beloved areas of the world.
Turn your dream into reality in Yosemite Mariposa County.
Yosemite has no shortage of dramatic wedding photography locations, like Tunnel View. Photo: Patrick Pike
There may be many beautiful natural places to get married in, but Yosemite outshines all of these. This is one of the most iconic and best-loved national parks for a reason and as a World Heritage Site, its scope and beauty are quite literally world-class.
Whatever you can dream, you’ll find wedding venues near Yosemite National Park that exceed all expectations.
Yosemite hosts wedding celebrations of all sizes and budgets, from simple to extravagant.
Wedding receptions in Yosemite Mariposa County range from an enchanting meal behind a cabin with mountain views, to grand ballrooms that can hold a thousand of your closest friends. Similarly, you’ll be able to find a wealth of wedding services nearby to ensure the details of your wedding are managed to perfection.
The allure of the Yosemite area attracts top chefs, photographers, florists, musicians and wedding planners. These knowledgeable locals can make designing your wedding event a breeze. They have decades of experience welcoming the most discriminating wedding guests – and they know how to make an event shine. For example, you can discover the best ways to carve out a personal and private event even amidst the hustle and bustle of the Yosemite summer season from these local Yosemite wedding experts. It’s simpler than you think.
Surround yourself with friends and family on your wedding day at the Yosemite Valley Chapel.
How excited will your friends and family be when you tell them you’re planning a wedding in Yosemite? Yosemite is on every bucket list – a destination that appeals to all ages from great grandparents to toddlers.
Maybe this will be an opportunity for a first visit, or a welcome chance to return and see the park once again in a different season or different light. There is always something new and wondrous to discover in Yosemite. This is a chance for you to share those discoveries with those closest to you.
Yosemite is an easy half-day drive from many of California’s major airports and urban centers. That makes it a comfortable journey. It’s the perfect balance of away from it all, but not too hard to get to.
Plus, there are so many things to see and do on the journey to Yosemite. Your guests will enjoy planning their own adventures as they travel to your beautiful Yosemite National Park wedding.
You’ll be able to suggest a wide array of accommodations for their stay, too. Options range all the way from four-diamond historic lodges to cabin rentals to campgrounds and everything in between. If you choose one of the larger hotel venues, they can block out a group of rooms for the people who want to stay close to the action.
The most important people in your lives will be here. Make the most of this precious time together by organizing a few group activities before and after the wedding. Yosemite has endless activities to choose from – hiking, spas, tastings, tours. Go rock climbing, zip-lining or downhill skiing (in the winter months). Create unique personal art in painting classes or simply walk down by the Merced River and soak in the songs of flowing water, birds, and the wind in the trees.
Are you ready? Take the plunge and explore the opportunities and options that await you in Yosemite.
As John Muir said on his first visit to Yosemite, “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.” Build these important connections between community, the people you love, and a place that inspires across timeless generations as you plan your dream Yosemite wedding.
Want more ideas for ceremony and reception venues? Or do you want to check out additional wedding services to make the planning experience smooth and easy? Browse the Yosemite wedding page or choose from some of our favorites below.
Ceremonies at The Ahwahnee in Yosemite Valley move seamlessly between the grand lodge and the wedding lawn along this picturesque path.
The hotels in Yosemite provide some of the most convenient and scenic wedding locations in the park. Work with the hotel’s wedding planners through each step of the process. These expert wedding professionals can help you envision and create your dream wedding, ensuring that the details all come together into fairytale perfection for your special day.
Wawona Hotel’s spacious porches and twining hops provides the perfect backdrop for romantic wedding photos. Photo Courtesy of Yosemite Hospitality.
Several hotels and other businesses just outside the park also supply a wide range of wedding venue options. It would be impossible to list them all, so here are just a few highlights to give you a taste of what is available.
Wedding ceremony on the terrace at Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite.
For those looking for a more casual outdoorsy setting, the Yosemite Bug Rustic Mountain Resort accommodates groups ranging from 16 to 100. The Bodie Room, commonly used for weddings, offers a beautiful wood-paneled reception space that opens onto outdoor patios and can hold up to 120 people. The June Bug Café, Tenaya Room and Summer Deck areas are inviting spaces for smaller mid-day events.
Want to learn more about “The Bug”? Take a look at our video on the owners, Doug Shaw and Caroline McGrath.
Hosting a small wedding in a vacation rental cabin gives a warm cozy ambiance to the event. Bonus – many vacation cabins allow pets and you can enjoy private moments in front of your own fireplace. Photo Courtesy of The Redwoods in Yosemite | Photo by Bergreen Photography.
For small weddings and elopements, several large vacation rental cabins could also serve as a comfortable and convenient gathering space.
As grand as Yosemite is for a destination wedding, sometimes managing the planning and logistics from farther away can be complicated. Fortunately, many local wedding services are available that know the area and can help guide you, ensuring that your special day is exactly what you dreamed it would be.
If you choose to hold your wedding at one of the more spacious hotel venues, they typically will have someone on staff to help you design and organize. If not, Yosemite wedding planners like AddyRose Design and YosemiteWeddings.com have the local knowledge to help you find the perfect venue, and sort through the many options for catering, music, flowers, photographers, makeup and hair stylists as well as navigating special use permits and other Yosemite-specific logistics. That way you can relax knowing that your wedding is going to live up to your dreams.
The Glacier Point amphitheater comes with guest seating and one of the most stunning backdrops in the world. Photo: Dan Warsinger
Maybe you’re looking for a simple wedding service held outdoors in the park away from standard facilities. Getting married out amidst the cliffs and rivers in Yosemite National Park is also an option, and in order to make that dream a reality, there is a lot you need to know.
First of all, all weddings or commitment ceremonies inside Yosemite National Park, regardless of size, require a special use permit. And because your special day is happening with a national park, you’ll want to pay extra attention to the protections put in place for the natural and cultural resources. You can see a full list of what is and isn’t allowed within the park boundaries on the NPS wedding page. Along those lines, larger groups (outside of facilities operated by Yosemite Hospitality) may also need to pay for an event monitor.
Also, something important to note, since you’ll be in a public place, the rest of the public will have just as much right to be there as you will. Although you will have a ceremony permit for a specific location, that doesn’t mean you would have any more ‘right’ to be there than anyone else visiting the park. In order to have the best experience in locations that attract a lot of other visitors, it’s best to schedule your ceremony for very early or late in the day.
The National Park Service maintains a list of beautiful outdoor wedding locations appropriate for groups ranging between 11 and 100 people inside the park. The smallest of these are appropriate for groups of 20 or fewer and larger groups are monitored by the National Park Service, though the exact cut-offs vary by location.
Choose a scenic beach wedding venue close to the Merced River with views of Yosemite Falls as your backdrop.
Although the Yosemite Valley Chapel is often photographed on its own, its location opposite Yosemite Falls lends drama as well. Photo: Dan Warsinger
If you’re planning a small wedding or elopement with fewer than 11 people, almost any wedding location is open to you. While highly sensitive environments on riverbanks and in meadows are still off-limits due to the impacts they would have on the natural environment, you are otherwise free to choose your location. Check out some of our favorite romantic Yosemite destinations or find your own special corner of the park.
Remember, even with these smaller group sizes, a special use permit is still required.
No list of Yosemite wedding destinations would be complete without mentioning The Yosemite Valley Chapel. Built in 1879 and located opposite of Yosemite Falls, the Yosemite Chapel building lends its own sense of history and place to any wedding ceremony. The chapel itself seats approximately 125 people, and you can invite your own licensed or ordained minister.
Each Yosemite engagement, elopement, wedding or honeymoon is as unique as each couple. Whether Yosemite is initially chosen because of a generations-long family tradition within the park, a personal relationship established in a singular moment or over the course of decades, or simply because of the inspiring and majestic mountain scenery, Yosemite is sure to become a centerpiece for both cherished memories and a lifetime of romance to come.
For more information and all of the updates regarding Yosemite Mariposa County, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @YosemiteNation.
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