One of my favorite aspects of my job is helping mountain brides. Sometimes helping them means I find the best expert to offer them advice. So when this query from Lindsey hit my inbox, I immediately turned to Mountainside Guide preferred member, Brenda Bergreen for advice. Bergreen Photography specializes in adventure photography and is very familiar with weddings and elopements in both the Sequoia National Park and Yosemite National Park.
Reader Question: Eloping in Sequoia National Park
My name is Lindsay. My fiancé Zach and I have been planning a wedding that was going to take place in May of 2015, but we are getting overwhelmed and are quickly feeling that the day is becoming more about everyone else instead of just us and our love for each other. We have recently decided that we are going to elope instead and have started researching places that really speak to us and our relationship. We immediately fell in love with Sequoia National Forest, and through research, I found your website. I don't even know where to begin to plan a simple elopement with just me, Zach, and an officiant. Can you help us?
Thank you so much!!
Mountainside Guide Brenda Bergreen Answers
First of all congrats! Congrats on the engagement and on taking a stand to make your wedding about your love. It's too easy to go from being swept off your feet by your fiancé to being swept away by wedding planning stress.
Sequoia National Forest is a great choice for an elopement. It's an awe-inspiring place to celebrate love with lush meadows, big trees, and amazing granite views. I'd love to hear more about you and Zach in order to give you more specific advice but I'll just answer as if I were answering for myself.
First and foremost, I would suggest taking the time to enjoy each other and the place you've chosen to get married as part of your wedding day. That's what it sounds like is the point of eloping for you: having a day about you and your love for each other. So go somewhere beautiful, do something fun, enjoy each others company, and celebrate your commitment together. You can always have a party/reception later to celebrate with friends and family later.
In fact, Marc and I recently revisited the very Sequoia hike we went on the morning of our own wedding and it reminded us of how happy we were that day. There are so many views and trails to enjoy and explore together. The exact spot doesn't matter. It doesn't have to be the best trail or even perfect weather (it rained on our wedding day.) It will be perfect because it will be yours, all yours!
Recently I was inspired by some videos posted by Adventure Journal of pretty unique weddings in Squamish and Wyoming. They are both pretty extreme examples but the message is the same: getting married is about you, your love, and your commitment. Your wedding should be uniquely you, whatever you want! (Not an excuse to be bridezilla, just an excuse to make your own choices!)
[Tweet “Getting married is about you, your love, and your commitment @BergreenPhoto”]
So, how to elope in Sequoia.
First pick a spot… or plan to pick a spot once you get there. If you want to do something spontaneous, just say the vows when the feeling is right. Otherwise, the National Parks Service has a list of Sequoia locations for weddings which is a good starting point. Lodgepole, Grants Grove, Kings Canyon, or the National Forest itself all have different pros and cons. If you want somewhere to stay and eat, that might dictate some of your plans. It's worth checking out the Wuksatchi Lodge for more info. There are other alternatives such as the John Muir Lodge or cabins by the river down the road in Three Rivers.
Second, pick a date. The main factor to consider is the weather. Every season in Sequoia is beautiful but some roads are closed in the winter and some of the popular locations are very crowded in the middle of summer. May should be a great time of year!
Hopefully that gives you a place to start. Once you get going, don't hesitate to send us an email with more specific questions.
Brenda (and Marc)