Love these two and their Glacier Point Amphitheater wedding! This was my first time photographing a wedding in Yosemite National Park, and I sincerely hope it won’t be the last.

A Yosemite wedding is also an excuse for a fun little getaway for you and your guests! Everyone wants to linger a little longer to take in this beautiful place. Looking back, I wish I’d had a chance to stay a day more, and maybe next time I will!

Anyway, I want to introduce you to this couple, Stefanie and Scott. I want to let you in on what I know as their wedding photographer about how they planned their Yosemite Valley wedding.

I first connected with Scott when he was planning his proposal to Stefanie.

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Here are some shots of the gorgeous couple from that wonderful time in their lives – fresh fiances!

PS – love National Park weddings and engagements? Check out this Grand Canyon engagement.

proposal at Lake Merritt Amphitheater before this couple's Yosemite wedding

Not the couple’s first foray into amphitheaters – the proposal happened at Oakland’s Lake Merritt Amphitheater! | Photos by Zoe Larkin Photography

About the couple

As they explain on their wedding website, this was not exactly love at first sight! This couple met at Toastmasters SF. Their friendship deepened gradually over time, the fires stoked by evaluating speeches and serving as club officers.

Before long, members of their close-knit community began pointing out their compatibility. The rest is history!

The couple got together officially in July 2016, and Scott proposed almost exactly a year later. He commissioned a beautiful engagement ring by Custom Made Jewelry, inspired by Stefanie’s lotus tattoo. For the occasion of their wedding, they commissioned Custom Made once again.

bride showing engagement ring made by custom Made Jewelry

Stefanie’s beautiful custom engagement ring designed by Scott and made by Custom Made Jewelry | Photos by Zoe Larkin Photography

Choosing your venue

As the proposal was in such an urban spot, I was surprised and overjoyed when they told me they were planning to get married in Yosemite National Park. It really is a dream for most Bay Area photographers to shoot there!

The San Francisco couple wanted to do something that felt real and true to them. They certainly have a taste for the epic!

At the time they were contemplating their wedding, the couple knew that a move to Denver, CO was an imminent possibility. They wanted a wedding venue that felt like iconic California.

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As a way of saying goodbye to Stef’s native state, and Scott’s adoptive home of several years, they decided to tie the knot in California’s most famous National Park. It would be fun to have everyone be part of a celebration that was filled with nature, relaxed vibes, and soul fodder.

They achieved their goal of a relaxed, beautiful day shared with about 50 of their closest friends and family.

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Stef and Scott had their ceremony at Glacier Point Amphitheater and their reception at Curry Village (formerly known as Half Dome Village). It was a true joy to photograph this Yosemite wedding!

Glacier Point Amphitheater epic ceremony photos and reception area at Curry Village, Yosemite

The epic ceremony site at Glacier Point Amphitheater and the sweet little reception area at Curry Village, about a 15-minute drive away | Photos by Zoe Larkin Photography

Planning their Yosemite wedding

Stefanie is a planner by nature and also by profession. Impeccable planning skills are absolutely required when considering a National Park wedding.

Why? Well, there are many hoops you’ll need to jump through as you go along the planning process. Everything from applying for your desired location through to the day of, you’ll need to abide by a set of procedures.

With no cell signal available at Glacier Point, you do have to think through complex logistics in advance for a seamless day.

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Applying for your location entails a permit you’ll need to apply for at this Yosemite page on the NPS website. There are also quite a few policies and rules to get up to speed on. Nothing scary, but worth bearing in mind.

You’ll need to choose your location from the Yosemite ceremony sites listed here. Glacier Point was a great choice for the couple’s size of group and of course the stunning view.

Stef and Scott kept their guests informed about the order of events, what they should wear, where they’ll need to be and when – and many other details, via detailed email prior to the wedding.

Stefanie even provided a thorough Guest Guide Google doc, complete with map, schedule, packing advice and planning tips! Though she says the organization of it all was a little stressful, I think she was clearly in her element!

Order of events at Glacier Point Amphitheater wedding

Yosemite Valley engagement session with Zoe Larkin Photography

The couple’s dreamy Yosemite engagement session, the evening before the wedding! | Photos by Zoe Larkin Photography

The previous evening as soon as I’d arrived we actually snuck in a little Yosemite Valley engagement session. It was too good an opportunity to miss! (I’ll be blogging this one at some point!)

We kicked off the wedding day photography at 7.30 am on a beautiful Sunday in September. I was staying at the Yosemite Valley Lodge and traveled to the Ahwahnee where Scott and Stef were staying.

I split my time between Stef and Scott separately. They got ready in rooms on different floors, Stef actually in her parents’ room. It was a really early start for Stef with hair and makeup starting so early! She made a truly stunning bride with a dress by Anomalie.

They chose not to do a first look which meant separate transportation and making sure their paths didn’t cross until the ceremony!

Ceremony start time

The ceremony started at 9.30 am at Glacier Point Amphitheater. Yes, it was just as magical as it sounds! The backdrop couldn’t have been more spectacular.

It’s a fab location for photography in the morning as it has a beautiful, glowy backlight before the sun gets too high in the sky.

After the ceremony, we dove into a group photo and then family formals. This was honestly so much fun. They were an incredibly organized and diligent group! Plus we only had 6 groupings to get through.

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Sticking to that sort of number meant it was a real pleasure for the couple, not a chore! We got through them in 20 mins as planned.

group photos at Glacier Point Amphitheater wedding

A fun one with all their guests at the Glacier Point Amphitheater ceremony site! | Photos by Zoe Larkin Photography

A chartered bus ferried Stef and Scott’s 50 guests from Glacier Point to Curry Village. The couple stayed with me and we took photos in a few locations we found on the way. We had to be pretty nimble finding spots.

As I’m looking mainly for what light would work, I’m guided by that as well as where we can pull over and also where isn’t overrun with tourists. Finding info on exactly which spots to choose in an area as large as this is super tricky.

Short of scouting it ahead of time at the exact right time of day (for light) and year (for crowds), it’s wiser to go with your gut to find places that work in the moment.

Reception at Curry Village

A simple buffet lunch was being served in one of the dining areas at the rustic Curry Village when we arrived. The guests were playing games, chilling and getting to know each other.

There was a quiz in the little booklet that the couple produced to entertain their guests. As you may have noticed from their proposal shoot, Stef and Scott are a couple that love anything to do with riddles, words, games and puzzles!

A few touching short speeches were given by family members and friends. That got some great reactions!

The last thing on the docket for my photography coverage was photographing the cutting of the cake! Their cake was topped with a custom cake topper depicting the couple with their husky, Oz.

Curry Village wedding reception cake cutting photos

Cake cutting in one of the Curry Village reception areas | Photos by Zoe Larkin Photography

Unique features of Glacier Point Amphitheater

Most people are aware that the #1 feature of this location is the view! The outdoor location is stunning. Also, being a National Park, the rental fees are much lower than a private venue.

My info is mostly from the NPS Yosemite ‘locations’ page. It’s always advised to check directly with the Parks service before making any plans.

Maximum capacity at the Amphitheater is 50 people. Monitoring is required for groups of between 35-50 guests.

Guests are seated within the south end of the amphitheater. They sit directly on the stone slabs that line the semi-circular amphitheater. This couple had their guests sitting on cute blankets for a bit more comfort. The blankets then doubled as favors!

Glacier Point Amphitheater Wedding set-up showing where guests sit. Photo by Zoe Larkin Photography

Guests sit on staggered stones that form the semicircular amphitheater | Photo by Zoe Larkin Photography

The elevation at Glacier Point Amphitheater is 7,214 feet. Storms can occur year-round due to the high elevation. The earliest availability is the Tuesday after Memorial Day (subject to weather) through September 30th due to the annual Glacier Point road closure.

Weddings are not scheduled at the site in July and August due to the high volume of tourists.

It’s strongly recommended to begin your 2-hour site rental in the morning before noon. If you then wanted to go on to have a reception (brunch, champagne, cake-cutting dancing, etc) you would deal directly with the Park’s hospitality partner. Info below!

Useful Links

Yosemite weddings info page from NPS
Yosemite wedding locations page from NPS
Seasonal road closures page from NPS
Yosemite Hospitality partner (for receptions)
Vendor information and referrals from Yosemite.com

Vendor Love

Venue Glacier Point Amphitheater
Photography Zoe Larkin Photography
Day-of coordinator (friend) @salor_nuj
Dress Anomalie
Rings Custom Made Jewelry
HMUA Megan Cary Artistry
Game booklets Rock It Prints
Favors Prickly Cute

Yosemite Wedding photographer - Zoe Larkin Photography

It me! Though I can usually be found in the Mission District of San Francisco I’d love to travel to Yosemite National Park for your wedding! | Photos by Kristin Lin Photography

About Zoe Larkin Photography

Oh and you can learn more about my services at the links below. Hoping I’ll be back at Glacier Point Amphitheater soon, shooting your lovely wedding!

Bay Area Wedding photographer – Info, pricing, about & portfolio

In the meantime, be sure to pin the graphic below to your Pinterest wedding planning board!

Spot the unicorn when you hover over any image on this page =)

Glacier Point Amphitheater wedding photos from this awesome National Park wedding in Yosemite Valley! Stef and Scott had a beautiful intimate wedding ceremony with fewer than 50guests, overlooking Glacier Point. Simple, sweet and beautiful Yosemite wedding inspiration. | #yosemitewedding #yosemite #nationalparkwedding | Zoe Larkin Photography

Glacier Point Amphitheater Wedding, Yosemite Valley | Zoe Larkin Photography

Photos from Glacier Point Amphitheater wedding

getting ready photos at Ahwahnee Hotel, Yosemite before wedding bride getting ready photos at Ahwahnee Hotel, Yosemite before wedding Glacier Point Amphitheater Wedding - Zoe Larkin Photography Glacier Point Amphitheater Wedding ceremony photos by Zoe Larkin Photography bride and groom at Glacier Point Amphitheater Wedding with parent readings wedding with Glacier Point Yosemite in background - by Zoe Larkin Photography guests seated at wedding at Glacier Point Amphitheater - Zoe Larkin Photography first kiss at Glacier Point Amphitheater Wedding by Zoe Larkin Photography wedding photos of newlywed couple at yosemite valley wedding beautiful wedding photos at Yosemite wedding ceremony portrait session photos after Glacier Point Amphitheater Wedding by Zoe Larkin Photography black and white veil photos - Yosemite wedding photographer Zoe Larkin Curry Village wedding reception photos - Zoe Larkin Photography wedding display at Curry Village wedding reception photos wedding guests cheers - Curry Village wedding photos speeches at Curry Village wedding after Glacier Point Amphitheater Wedding emotional speeches at Yosemite's Curry Village wedding reception family speeches at indoor Yosemite Wedding reception venue Curry Village wedding reception photos by Zoe Larkin Photography

Glacier Point Amphitheater Yosemite Wedding by Zoe Larkin Photography

Glacier Point Amphitheater Yosemite Wedding

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Lover of ice cream, killer of houseplants, Zoe is a San Francisco-dwelling love documentarian. Contact | Insta

about the author

MOMENT CATCHER, LIGHT CHASER, DETAIL LOVER 

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