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Yosemite Bride on a Budget

Yosemite Bride on a Budget

Is it possible to look amazing for a Yosemite wedding or elopement for under $1,000? “Yes” you can, and we will tell you how we did it.

First, the dress. This is a major component to any soon-to-be bride, and normally the dress can take up a major portion of costs. We contacted Sierra Bridal and Balloons in Sonora, CA, to see if they had a wedding dress for under $200. Not only did they have one, but they had more than a few to choose from.  We ended up taking 4 different dresses to take with us for the shoot, all of them under $200 and with their own unique vintage personality.

Makeup and hair are critical, since a good chunk of great photos are enabled by good hair and makeup. Lighting conditions are not always optimal outdoors, so good anti-glare makeup and well styled hair can go a long way in keeping your bride looking put together all day.

When shooting in Yosemite, a good majority of time is walking, and hiking your way to epic locations. You -of course- won’t have a portable hair or makeup studio with you, so getting it done professionally beforehand, goes a long way. A local salon, La ti Da Salon in Sonora, CA really stepped up to the challenge and started hair and makeup with our bride at 4:30am to get the bride-to-be out the door and ready for sunrise shots.

And since Yosemite is only 1.2hrs drive from Sonora, CA, Tuolumne County provides amazing pools of talent for hair, makeup and floral choices. This close location to services is super clutch to obtain reasonably priced accommodations and close proximity to vendors.

A bouquet is a key accessory in any traditional wedding, since we had vintage dresses selected, we needed the perfect flowers to accompany the look and feel of our bride. Sweet Lilacs  in Jamestown, CA took our request and assembled an amazing dry flower bouquet for under $150, with a matching floral tiara. The dry flowers provided a beautiful bouquet that would not wither in cold or heat and would keep up with all of the elements of Yosemite for the entire day.

We did not focus on shoes, since any good Yosemite wedding or elopement should have a bride with a good pair of sneakers on hand, in addition to any heels.

The total cost for this shoot did not incorporate the would-be groom, but traditionally dressing your counterpart is a fraction of the cost or effort. When you remove the dress, hair and makeup from the equation, we think you should be able to nail down a great ensemble which includes slacks, a button-up shirt and tie, for under $150 at most any clothing or thrift store.

Let’s calculate the approx. costs:

  • Dress $150 - $200

  • Partner: Suit, Tie, Shoes, etc - $200

  • Hair and Makeup $150 - $200

  • Floral arrangements $100 - $150

  • Accessories $50

Approximate total: $800 (on the high end)  and $650 (on the low end).
That just leaves the auxiliary costs of getting to and staying around Yosemite and of course photography.

Travel and accommodations are not included in these calculations because they can vary with a lot of factors, but we can suggest looking in Mariposa and Tuolumne County. Both offer year round accommodations and easy, quick access into Yosemite.  

We are confident you can outfit your Yosemite wedding or elopement for under $1,000, and you’ll have memories of an outdoor adventure that is priceless.

For a little bit of background on this budget adventure Yosemite wedding shoot, check out the images below. The day started out with early morning light at Taft Point, working our way back down to Yosemite Valley, and wrapping up the shoot in some stunning meadows just outside Yosemite Valley. RiLee Photography can make an adventure Yosemite elopement photography session a fun, and stunning experience, with lots of variety.

If you’re interested in putting together a vintage Yosemite adventure wedding like this, and have any questions, or need an experienced photographer, please feel free to contact us anytime. We are always happy to help!

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