December 18, 2021

A Perfect Yosemite Wedding – Insider Tips

Insider Secrets for the Perfect Yosemite National Park Wedding

Anyone who has ever seen even a picture of Yosemite National Park knows that it is a breathtaking place. Some people go as far as to say it’s the most beautiful place on earth. The scenery, the views, and the natural beauty are all reasons why a national park wedding has become so popular in recent years. Whether you’re getting married at Yosemite National Park, your daughter or son is getting married there, or you are just in the mood for some wanderlust, this blog post is for you. Of all the wedding venues you could pick from, Yosemite is the best. We are going to go over tips and secrets for the perfect Yosemite National Park wedding.

Credentials

I had the pleasure of living and working there for eight months. Over the course of that time, I learned the ins and outs, park secrets, and all the little goodies to make your special day run the best it can.

We’re not liable if you get hurt or do anything illegal in Yosemite National Park. Just an FYI. This blog is for entertainment purposes only.

Best Places to Eat at in Yosemite

One of the perks about working in Yosemite National Park was being able to eat at all the restaurants. Each one has its own charm. Here are some options which depend on the time of year. I won’t mention too much for those without dietary restrictions because you should easily be able to find food.

Degnan’s Deli (near the big store): Subs, sandwiches, mediocre pizza, boxed salads. There is one vegetarian option you can make vegan (vernal falls vegetarian). There are two pescatarian options (Yosemite Salmon and Tuna Salad).

Pizza Deck (in Curry Village): The best pizza in the park. It’s pricey. You can get gluten free crust on medium sizes only. Ask for vegan cheese if you are vegan. There’s a range of toppings for custom pizzas or order from the preset menu.

Basecamp (in the Yosemite Valley Lodge): There is a grill with beyond and black bean burgers for the vegetarians and vegans and of course your standard regular burger with fries. Also there is a section for pizza (some say it’s not as good as Pizza Deck). And the main section is rotating menu. Some days it’ll be Chinese, or Mexican, or something else. It’s pretty mediocre. BUT the main important thing is, it’s not about what you eat, it’s what who you eat with. It’s your wedding day/week/weekend and you’re with the people you love. That is worth celebrating!

At all the places to eat (except for Pizza), there is the option to purchase little snacks like nuts, beef jerky, drinks, chips, ice cream to supplement your meal.

Yosemite Stores

Yosemite Store: A large store with some produce, packaged food, eggs, dairy, meat, medicine, first aid, pots, pans, clothes, ice, firewood. Pretty much just a small scale department/grocery store. Get some snacks for your wedding venue! Or get some first-aid or alcohol for the wedding ceremony and/or reception. Because of the nature of the park, a rehearsal dinner should probably be done at a campsite, so stock up! Or get creative and have your rehearsal dinner somewhere offsite before going to the park.

Curry Village Gift and Grocer: Same thing as the Yosemite Store but significantly smaller. Another great place for wedding venue snacks.

Keep in mind there is no store near Yosemite Valley Lodge. Though they do have hotel rooms – someplace to get ready before your wedding ceremony.

TIP: Make friends with an employee or really sweet talk the cashier to use their employee discount (at least 10% off at both stores and Degnans, 50% everywhere else).

Our Latest Yosemite Wedding Video

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Best Yosemite National Park Hikes for Your Wedding

If you are looking for a nice easy hike, I would recommend Lower Yosemite Falls. It probably can’t even classified as a hike. More so a walk. If the falls are flowing, make sure to go here. For those seeking more adrenaline, you can scramble up the rocks and get an even more stunning view of the falls (a must do even if you’re more calm). Tell all your wedding guests and wedding party so they can join in on the adventure! Get ready for some spectacular views before or after your wedding ceremony

Hikes

More easy hikes include, the mirror lake loop, hidden falls (ask a local or employee), Artist’s point, Sentinel Dome

Moderate hikes: Vernal Falls, Nevada Falls, Upper Yosemite Falls, Four-Mile Trail

Hard hikes: Half Dome, Four-Mile to Panorama, North Dome, Clouds Rest

Half Dome Permits TIP: Not saying you should, but one could do the Half Dome hike at night where there is no ranger to check permits. You’ll be without words when you see the stars up there. Check to see if it’s a new moon or full moon. Both are great choices. The Half Dome hike at night might even be better than the daytime hike. Half dome is my personal favorite hike.

But it’s your wedding! You might not be in the mood to do a ridiculously hard hike – though lots of park visitors will be 😛

Glacier Point

Consider Glacier Point for some lovely hikes as well. This is where Taft Point, Sentinel Dome, four mile, and Panorama are. Or just stop by at Glacier Point and see one of the best views of the park! You sure don’t want to miss Glacier Point! Many couples have a wedding ceremony here. Such a beautiful place for wedding photos! There are so many wedding locations all over the park.

Check this website for extensive hiking info

Places to Stay for Your Yosemite Valley Wedding

As Yosemite weddings have increased in popularity, the Yosemite valley area has become a bit more crowded. This can sometimes make it difficult to find hotels and places for your out of town wedding guests. If this is an issue, I would recommend staying at one of the small towns just outside Yosemite valley. They are still close enough to visit the park but far enough away that you won’t have Yosemite National Park traffic getting in your way.

Places in the park include Yosemite Valley Lodge, Ahwahnee Hotel (aka the Majestic Yosemite Hotel), and the various campgrounds.

Best Time of Day for a Yosemite Valley Wedding

I would recommend either the morning or evening – this time of day is when the valley tends to be at its most beautiful with great weather and lighting!

What Not to Do on Your Wedding

I think one of the biggest mistakes people make is not properly wedding planning. This leads to them rushing around on their day and it shows in the wedding film. I would recommend allotting yourself at least a full year of wedding preparation for all aspects.

Tuolumne Meadows and the Mariposa Grove

If you get the chance, I would recommend taking a day trip to Tuolumne Meadows if your wedding schedule allows it. It’s about a 1.5 hour drive from the Valley. To put things into perspective, tourists come to Yosemite National Park to get all it has to offer. The employees and locals go to Tuolumne (aka high country) to get all Yosemite has to offer. The lakes, trails, and views up there are spectacular. Keep in mind it is seasonal so you cannot access the high country during the winter and early spring. If you do get a chance, I recommend May Lake. It is an easy hike. That’s where I sat down overlooking the lake and heard literally nothing. No wind, water, birds, trees, cicadas, nothing. It was surreal and maybe a once in a life time experience. Tuolumne only offers stunning views. Tuolumne would also be a great wedding venue spot. Or go here for a wedding ceremony and you will be an iconic couple.

In the high country, altitude is at around 8,000 feet. In the Yosemite Valley, altitude is around 4,000 feet. So keep that in mind! You might get short of breath more quickly in Tuolumne and it’s 1000% worth it.

Mariposa Grove

The Mariposa Grove is another popular wedding location. It’s just up the road from Yosemite valley (one hour drive) and filled with giant sequoia trees that are photogenic. But if you are crunched on time, definitely skip this. You shouldn’t put it too high on your priority list, unless you really really love tall trees. Another place to consider for wedding venues or a wedding ceremony!

How do I get a permit for my wedding?

To get a Yosemite National Park wedding permit, you will need to apply for it through National Park Service. It’ll cost at least $150.

Links

In order to not give you the wrong information, please check out their website to see. Yosemite Park Wedding venues might be able to help as well with permit inquires. Wedding ceremonies are usually okayed by National Park Service. Nobody can stop your love. If you want to get married at the Yosemite Chapel, you can do that too. Here’s their site.

https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/weddings.htm

https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/wedloc.htm

https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/weddinginfo.htm

TIP: To get into the park, you will have to pay the entrance cost, which I believe it $35 per vehicle. Again one could, not saying one should, one could enter and leave the park after 5pm so there’s nobody at the gate. Or if there is somebody at the gate, say you’re visiting a friend who works in the park, or if you’re really ballsy, say you’re starting a job in in the park. Again, this is entertainment purposes only. I do not condone this.

Making Your Wedding Day Last Forever

How do I make the wedding day last forever? You’ve put so much thought and effort into planning. Hyow do brides make sure their work doesn’t go out the window the day after wedding ceremonies? With proper documentation. A wedding film will capture all the big and small moments of your special day. You’ll remember what your flowers looked like. You will hear your father’s speech as Yosemite Falls crashes onto rocks. Most importantly, a wedding film is something that you hold onto till you’re old and wrinkly. You have to leave wedding venues after your reservation is up. The food you eat literally goes down the toilet, but a wedding video is forevermore. You’ll pass it down to your grandchildren and they’ll think you are so cool for getting married at Yosemite.

Your wedding days will be beautiful, and it’ll go by in a flash. You’ll want to relive every moment. So consider contacting us for your wedding film to create an unforgettable family legacy. We’d love to discuss wedding packages and all about you. If you have more questions about planning your wedding, get in touch and will love to help 🙂

We are Twelve Ten Films. We specialize in destination weddings and handcrafted heirlooms with a focus on real and genuine storytelling.

Thanks for reading! If you’re planning a wedding somewhere else let’s stay connected. Check out our other guides!

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