Dawn Kelly Photography
Yosemite FAQ

Yosemite FAQ

If you've made it this far, you're excited about the idea of eloping in Yosemite. Congratulations! 

But now what?..... Whether you're a Californian or from out of the state or country, planning a destination elopement is overwhelming. Don't worry, I'm here to help! I've compiled some Frequently Asked Questions for you, but before you read on, please read our Wedding FAQ page and Yosemite Elopement Guide. Those pages will give you a good idea of how we run our business. 

Hopefully this page helps. Remember, you can call or email me any time!

Q: We're from out of state and we don't know where to start. How do we do this?

A: I help each and every one of our couples plan their Yosemite elopement, from the initial booking through the album selection process. I'll really guide you through every step of planning, from deciding which airport to fly into to knowing where to eat while in the park.

You just need to contact me so we can have a phone or video chat consultation. 

Q: What are the marriage license laws in California? How do we get our license if we're from out of state?

A: California makes it pretty easy for you to get married. You can get your marriage license at any of our County Clerk offices. You don't have to get your license in the county where you will be married. There is no waiting period. One witness is required, and I've been that witness many times!

Q: Is an additional permit from Yosemite National Park required to get married there? 

A: Yes. Yosemite requires a permit to have an official wedding ceremony there. The permit costs $150, and you can find all the info and the application on their web site.

Q: Can you help us find an officiant?

A: Yes we can, because we have two officiants on staff. An officiant is included in our All-Inclusive package.

Q: How many photos do you typically take in the four hour elopement package?

A: I usually deliver between 125 and 250 images. 

Q: Can you help me find someone to do my hair and makeup?

A: Yes! I work with an amazing team of talented, reliable hair and makeup artists that go to Yosemite. Both our Gold and Platinum packages include hair and makeup.

Q: Can we do a First Look?

A: Yes! This is a great option if you're having a reception or meal shortly after your ceremony. Most of our couples do a First Look, then portraits, then their ceremony, then more portraits. That seems to work the best logistically. 

Q: Can we have some "getting ready" pictures?

A: Absolutely! Just because you're eloping doesn't mean you have to skip all the traditional wedding photos. Getting ready photos are a great way to round out your album. If you want these photos, you'll need to add some time to allow for that. 

Q: We're having a big wedding and reception in Yosemite. Do you photograph full weddings?

A: Yes! I love doing any photos in Yosemite.

Q: What parts of Yosemite can we go to? 

A: We can go anywhere that is open if we have the time. When I help a couple plan their day, we choose a starting point and an ending point, and we stop along that route. We can cover a good portion of the park in four hours.

Q: Where should we have our ceremony?

A: That's totally up to you. If you have more than ten people in your party, including your photographer, officiant, and other vendors present, you have to stick to the ceremony locations on their list. If you have less than ten people, you can get married anywhere in the park. This is something I help each couple decide based on time of year and what their desires are.

Q: We'd like to elope in Yosemite in a year. Can I book that now?

A: I'm sorry, but I don't book elopements more than six months out. I find that when I book an elopement too far in advance, some people change their minds or cancel. I have a wait list calendar for brides who would like to book a Yosemite elopement more than five months in advance. If you like, I can call you five months before your elopement date and you'll have first dibs.

Q: I saw on your web site that you don't go to Yosemite June, July, or August. Why?

A: The summer months are so wildly popular, and therefore incredibly crowded. There is a reason Yosemite has started limiting the number of guests in the valley to 21,000 visitors a day in the peak season (summer, Memorial Day weekend, Labor Day weekend). There are so many people that the traffic is gridlock and it takes three hours to get from the gate to the valley, when it should take twenty minutes. The only way to shoot a wedding in the summer months is to start at sunrise, and we don't do that. 

Now that you've read all the info, I'd love to start helping you plan your elopement! Fill out the contact form below and we can set up a phone or video chat consultation.