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Who Can Officiate a Wedding in Sequoia National Park?

Published Monday, Oct. 16th, 2023

Photo (cropped): inna vahan / iStock

Need a wedding officiant for your Sequoia National Park wedding? Dreaming of officiating a ceremony in the shade of these towering trees? Here’s what you need to know! 



It’s hard to imagine a more awe-inspiring backdrop for a marriage ceremony than Sequoia National Park. Taking your vows under the quiet canopy of giant sequoias. Eloping in a sunny clearing along the Crescent Meadow trail. Or walking down the aisle in one of the parks’ posh lodges, surrounded by friends and family. 


Weddings and elopements can be held outdoors at several approved locations within the park, as long as you purchase a special use permit. Receptions must be held in concessioner facilities or private properties (such as lodges or resorts), and there are many beautiful accommodations to choose from.



However, wedding officiants are not provided by the park or its lodges, and lodges do not have staff available to marry you. That means you’ll need to choose your own officiant to perform your wedding at Sequoia National Park. 


So, what is a wedding officiant? And who can officiate a wedding in Sequoia National Park?


 Let’s take a look! 


*At the time of writing, Wuksachi Lodge, John Muir Lodge, Grant Grove Cabins, and Cedar Grove Lodge are not accepting reservations for large group events (including weddings) because of ongoing renovations, but some lodging is available. Contact the property you’re interested in directly for up-to-date information.  



Close up photo of a chair with lavender tied to its back, set up with other chairs outdoors in a forest waiting for a wedding ceremony to start

Photo: Kit Wood / iStock

Get married in the magic of the forest



What is a wedding officiant? 


First, the basics: What is a wedding officiant, and do you need one? A wedding officiant is the person who leads the marriage ceremony, pronounces you married, and signs your marriage license. 

You must have an officiant perform your ceremony to legally marry in California. This officiant can be a friend or relative who’s been ordained, or you can hire your own professional officiant in the area. 


Wedding officiants can perform religious or non-religious wedding ceremonies. Many officiants will work closely with the couple to write the perfect ‘wedding script’ and design the perfect ceremony, and are happy to include any rituals you might want (such as a unity candle lighting or sand ceremony). 



Who can officiate a wedding in Sequoia National Park in California?


You can ask a friend or relative to officiate your California wedding if they’ve been ordained online. California allows online ordained ministers to officiate weddings, including those ordained with American Marriage Ministries, and officiants don’t need to register with the state before performing a ceremony. 
That means that once your friend or family member is ordained, they’re all set! They’ll be able to legally pronounce you married and sign your marriage license. 


After the wedding, you and your friend can enjoy all the natural splendors of the park together. Just make sure the marriage license is signed and returned on time. 



You can also hire a professional officiant to perform your ceremony. Professional wedding officiants decide their own rates and services based on their level of experience and the type of ceremony you request. 
Sequoia National Park and its lodges do not keep a list of preferred wedding vendors or officiants. Find local professionals by researching officiant listings online. 



man standing at the base of two giant sequoias in sequoia national park in california

Photo: Gabriel Tovar / Unsplash

Imagine standing at the feet of these quiet giants as you take your wedding vows!


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