For the bride and groom who want to be married near the grandeur of magnificent trees, waterfalls, rivers, lakes and mountains, a National Park could be the perfect venue. After completing an online application, you will be issued a permit at a cost of $150.00. Weddings may be scheduled up to one year in advance and not less than 3 weeks prior to your wedding.

There may be many restrictions associated with having your wedding at a National Park. The wedding permit does not allow your ceremony to restrict other park visitors from your chosen location. Entrance fees into the park are not waived for guests or wedding participants. In most parks, time allowed for outdoor events is three hours. Wedding permits are not issued for heavy use periods-Memorial Day weekend, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day weekend. An additional charge of $50.00 per hour may be incurred for an Event Monitor for those outdoor activities of 50 people or more. No amplified music or public address systems are allowed in some parks.

Here are some restrictions specifically for Yosemite National Park, but may apply to other parks as well:

• Weddings are not allowed around the bases of Sequoia trees.

• The release of butterflies is prohibited.

• Birdseed or rice may not be thrown within the park as this provides an unnatural food source for park wildlife.

• The use of balloons or other types of decorations will not be authorized.

• No event or directional signs are allowed.

• Picnic areas may not be reserved and are only available on a first-come basis. The permittee is responsible for the cleanup of the site and all trash. Yosemite National Park Rangers strictly enforce all laws relating to excessive drinking.

• Chairs, tables or other furniture are not allowed at the site of your wedding unless a picnic area is used.

With careful planning and communication with the National Park of your choice, you can celebrate your wedding day surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty. These are some of the best the United States has to offer, but there are many more:

Bryce Canyon (Utah) -Area of brilliantly colored eroded rocks
Carlsbad Caverns (New Mexico) -The world's largest known caves
Grand Teton (Wyoming) -Picturesque range of high mountain peaks
Mesa Verde (Colorado) -Best preserved prehistoric cliff dwellings in the United States
Shenandoah (Virginia) -Scenic Skyline Drive; tree-covered mountains
Yellowstone (Wyoming, Montana, Idaho) -World's greatest geyser area; abundant canyons, falls, and wildlife
Yosemite (California) -Mountains, gorges and waterfalls, giant sequoias
Zion (Utah) -Multicolored gorge in the heart of Utah desert