I shoot a LOT of elopements in Yosemite, and many of my clients are from out of town. Every time I work with someone from out of state or out of the country, they ask this question, so I thought I’d make a little Step-by-Step checklist on this subject.

In California, you have to apply for your marriage license at one of the 58 County Clerk offices in California. You can do this in any county; it doesn’t have to be in the county where you will be married. There is also no waiting period, so you can get your marriage licence in the morning and get hitched in the afternoon! If you want to get your license early, you can do so up to 90 days before your ceremony.

The closest and most convenient County Clerk offices for Yosemite are:

Mariposa County Clerk, 4982 10th St, Mariposa, CA 95338  (209) 966-2007
Tuolumne County Clerk, 2 S Green St, Sonora, CA 95370  (209) 533-5573
Madera County Clerk, 200 W 4th St, Madera, CA 93637  (559) 675-7724
Fresno County Clerk, 2220 Tulare St, Fresno, CA 93721  (559) 600-2575

Some counties have applications you can download an complete before going in to the office. Whether you do that or fill out the application when you arrive, be sure to make an appointment. Government offices usually have lengthy waits. You’ll need to bring your photo ID. Some counties require a copy of your birth certificate as well, so check into that before you leave home.

The info you’ll both need to provide is:

  • Full names
  • Dates and place of birth
  • Whether either party has been divorced and the date
  • Full names of each applicants’ parents and places of birth
  • Who will be performing the marriage
  • Social Security numbers.

Then What?

You will bring your marriage license with you to your elopement, and the officiant is responsible for filing that paperwork. In California, you must have at least one witness, and I’ve been that witness several times. I’m happy and honored to be your official witness if needed.

Yosemite Wedding Permits

A permit is required for any wedding or elopement ceremony held within Yosemite National Park. The permit cost is $150. All you have to do is complete the application and mail it in with a check or money order for $150. (Old school, baby!)

You absolutely HAVE to have a permit to get married in Yosemite. There are designated rangers who check all the different types of permits, and if they catch you without a permit, they will shut you down and fine you heavily. Be sure to bring your permit with you!

If you guys have questions, comment below and I’m happy to answer!