Unforgettable Winter Yosemite Elopement // Teresa & Joe | Jenn Whalen

January 18, 2023

Adventure Weddings + Elopements, Portfolio, Yosemite

Unforgettable Winter Yosemite Elopement // Teresa & Joe

Teresa and Joe’s Winter Yosemite elopement was a dream! Teresa and Joe reached out to me only 1 week before their elopement day! We had a call and then they officially booked just a few days before the big day. I love the elopement spirit and how quickly you can plan your day just like Teresa and Joe did! 

Yosemite-Elopement-Photographer_0012 Unforgettable Winter Yosemite Elopement // Teresa & Joe

Yosemite National Park may be one of my favorite places to take couples and capture their elopements, so I was extremely happy to shoot Teresa and Joe’s elopement. Yosemite National Park is one of the most stunning locations for an elopement wedding here in California during the rain or shine!

With its breathtaking cliffside views, lush forests, epic waterfalls, glistening lakes, and magnificent meadows you’ll surely be in love with having a Yosemite elopement no matter the season! Whether you are looking to elope with a waterfall cascading down in the background of your elopement ceremony or tie the knot while being surrounded by towering redwoods it will be unforgettable, and Teresa and Joe’s Yosemite elopement was exactly that! 

Yosemite-Elopement-Photographer_0012 Unforgettable Winter Yosemite Elopement // Teresa & Joe
Yosemite-Elopement-Photographer_0012 Unforgettable Winter Yosemite Elopement // Teresa & Joe

Yosemite is a special place for Teresa and Joe so they decided that Yosemite would be their elopement location in advance. They’ve done many hikes in Yosemite and they even got engaged there it had significant value to them!

Yosemite Elopement Weather 

On the day of the elopement, it POURED ALL DAY. Every single moment of the day was rainy, BUT it still turned out amazing!! Yosemite in January is on a whole new level. Coming into the valley the day before was unlike anything I’d ever seen before in that park. Everywhere you looked, there was a waterfall. Keep in mind, the biggest waterfalls in the park are completely dried up by July, so to witness dozens of waterfalls everywhere was so incredible! Not only that but, the mountainsides were so green and there was just enough snow to make it a winter landscape! 

Yosemite-Elopement-Photographer_0012 Unforgettable Winter Yosemite Elopement // Teresa & Joe
Yosemite-Elopement-Photographer_0012 Unforgettable Winter Yosemite Elopement // Teresa & Joe

If this isn’t your sign to elope during the winter seasons then I don’t know what is! When it comes to popular National Parks like Yosemite National Park, especially in the valley, the plus side of having your elopement in the off-season is that you’ll basically have the entire park to yourselves! If having minimal tourists around is your goal, then I would seriously consider having your Yosemite elopement in the off-season! The tourism level felt very comfortable,  there were just enough people in the park to feel like you weren’t in some ghost town, but not so many people that it feels too crowded! We parked wherever we wanted to park and there wasn’t a single person nearby to get in our way while taking photos! 

Another bonus is that nobody had to worry about the hotel being full. There’s plenty of vacancy at the hotels in the valley. During peak season, you have to make a reservation far in advance! The only possible downside to having your elopement in the off-season is that you run into more issues of road closures and sudden changes in weather.

Elopement Itinerary 

Teresa and Jose had amazing attitudes throughout the whole day and embraced the rain. They were both just so happy to get married they didn’t care if it was during the rain or shine!

Teresa and Joe originally wanted to have an outdoor ceremony, but since it was pouring that morning, they quickly changed plans to have it at the Yosemite Chapel for everyone’s comfort. Joe’s dad officiated the wedding and we captured some beautiful photos inside and outside the chapel. 

Yosemite-Elopement-Photographer_0012 Unforgettable Winter Yosemite Elopement // Teresa & Joe
Yosemite-Elopement-Photographer_0012 Unforgettable Winter Yosemite Elopement // Teresa & Joe

Following the wedding ceremony at the Chapel, it was still raining, but the entire valley looked so magical with the mist always moving in the distance. Teresa and Joe were both so in awe of the moody scenery! Mother nature can offer so much if you choose to see it!

We explored so much of the national park this day and took incredible photos in the snow and rain. From shooting a couple of photos in the tunnel view to taking photos surrounded by the towering redwoods and near the waterfalls!

Yosemite-Elopement-Photographer_0012 Unforgettable Winter Yosemite Elopement // Teresa & Joe
Yosemite-Elopement-Photographer_0012 Unforgettable Winter Yosemite Elopement // Teresa & Joe

One of my favorite moments of the day was when we took photos in the middle of the street as well as the field with these two lamps I had brought for the shoot! I rarely bring props along, but in this case, I was so happy I did! It added a little magical touch to the misty scenery. 

Yosemite-Elopement-Photographer_0012 Unforgettable Winter Yosemite Elopement // Teresa & Joe
Yosemite-Elopement-Photographer_0012 Unforgettable Winter Yosemite Elopement // Teresa & Joe

Dinner with Family

After running around in the rain and snow we ended Teresa and Joe’s Yosemite elopement and met up at the lounge where the rest of the family gathered for dinner. They all toasted over drinks and had fun looking at the pictures on their phones from the portrait session that I gave them for a sneak peek. It’s always fun to have a few phone pictures from the day to hold them over until I can edit their gallery! Toward the very end of the end, Teresa and Joe cut the cake and served everyone a piece in celebration of their unforgettable elopement day! They even had extra to go around so Joe started offering a piece of cake to everyone else in the lounge! 

Yosemite-Elopement-Photographer_0012 Unforgettable Winter Yosemite Elopement // Teresa & Joe
Yosemite-Elopement-Photographer_0012 Unforgettable Winter Yosemite Elopement // Teresa & Joe

I loved the spirit of what Teresa and Joe did for their elopement day. They wanted to get married in a beautiful spot and didn’t want to overcomplicate things or put it off any longer, they invited parents and siblings and nobody else, they kept it simple and put the emphasis on their love for each other in their favorite place in nature, and of course, got incredible pictures of these moments! I love shooting for elopements with 10 people or less because of how intentional the day turns out, Teresa and Joe’s elopement is definitely one to remember!

See more from Teresa and Joe’s winter Yosemite elopement below and check out my blog on “The Best Outdoor Yosemite Wedding Locations” and my Yosemite Guide to help you plan your Yosemite elopement! 


Ready to book your Yosemite elopement and looking for a California elopement photographer? Check out my packages and contact me through my website!

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