We are now roughly 3 months out from our wedding and this email contains the next lot of information and some repeated from the last email
Those of you travelling from outside the States with a passport from a visa-waiver country will need to apply for your ESTA to get in. The cost is $14 and it can be obtained here: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/. An ESTA lasts for two years. You will need a credit or debit card for this, as they use your card information to search their databases.
Be aware that non-US citizens are subject to their devices being searched upon entry at the border. Please ensure that nothing problematic under US law is on any electronic device you bring into the US. Factory wiping an old phone of yours and swapping the SIM is an easy solution, or buy a burner phone in the US. The cheapest prepaid phone in Walmart right now is $14, the cheapest smartphone with GPS and Google Maps is $39 (a LG Rebel 4 with Android 8, very nice for the money).
It is a four hour drive from San Francisco airport to Yosemite. It is an hour from our cabins to the main area of the park (where the ceremony will be held on Monday), even though our cabins are within Yosemite National Park. You will need to pay US$30 PER CAR when entering the national park, just before you reach our cabins. You only pay this once and it is valid for seven days entry/exit. So you really do need a car, unless you can’t drive, in which case please let us know so we can help.
You can rent a major brand (Dollar Thrifty) rental car from SFO for about €150 for 7 days from https://www.kayak.com/cars, which is generally the cheapest car rental price comparison website in the US.
You then have two choices for insurance. Either you buy insurance from the car rental agencies (expensive) or you buy third party car hire excess insurance (much cheaper) from https://carhireexcess.ie/ . Remember to INCLUDE Supplemental Liability Insurance. The current cost for 7 days is €50. If you refuse to buy insurance from the car rental agency, they will reserve up to $1500 on your credit card. If you do not have the appropriate funds on your credit card, they will insist that you buy their insurance. Each car rental agency’s reservation requirements vary; some are only $400 instead of $1500. As a general rule, the cheaper the rental, the higher the credit card reservation.
Do you need your rental car in San Francisco?
Technically no, but it really depends on where your hotel is. If you are near public transport, it may be fine to do without a car, depending on which line it is.
Parking is very expensive in San Francisco unless you prebook in advance using an app like https://spothero.com/. You will probably find it is faster and cheaper to keep your car rental and use SpotHero for parking than it is to pay for public transport, in most cases.
If you have not yet booked your San Francisco hotel, be aware that they are now very expensive indeed.
The timeline section has been amended and includes information such as check in time for the cabins and has a map with all the locations pinned for where you will need to be over the three days. Please have a look!
The accommodation section now lists which cabin you will be staying in. If you click on the cabin name you will be taken to the website and can have a look at the photos/virtual tour.
Niall has added a “mailings” section which will be updated with all of the group emails so you can find them in one place.
Ceremony Dress code
We have been getting lots of questions about this. Basically, despite having our ceremony outdoors, we would still like people to get dressed up and look nice! Just bear in mind that you will be walking on soft surfaces – grass, sand, etc. – so plan your footwear accordingly (no stilettos ladies!). We are not expecting people to change again for the reception/dinner. If it is raining on the day we have an indoor plan B location. If you have any more questions about this please ask us.
Bus Tour of Yosemite Valley Floor: Monday October 28th
We are researching options for a bus tour lasting roughly two hours that would take our guests around the Yosemite Valley highlights. After the ceremony and picnic lunch Megan and Niall will head off with the photographer for a few hours and it is at this time that the bus tour would take place.
Do you want to go on a bus tour or would you prefer to spend the few hours between the ceremony and reception exploring the park on your own? If you prefer to do your own thing, bear in mind the drinks reception begins at 5.15 pm back at the event centre near the cabins and it is roughly a one hour drive from the valley.
Please reply to this email and let us know if you want to take a tour! We need responses by 16th August so that we have exact numbers.
Brunch at the Wawona Hotel & Giant Sequoias: Tuesday October 29th
Check-out of the cabins is by 10AM and we have arranged a farewell brunch at the nearby Wawona Hotel for 10.30 AM (https://www.yosemite.com/lodging/hotels/wawona-hotel/). It is located about 10 minutes up the road from our cabins and you will more than likely be passing it on your way out of the park as you leave. Like the bus tour, there is no obligation to attend this, but if you would like to be fed free of cost one more time before departing please reply to this email by 16th August and let us know you are coming so we can confirm numbers with the hotel.
After brunch we (Niall, Megan + kids) will be stopping by the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias (https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/mg.htm) on our way out of the park (another 10 minutes up the road from the Wawona Hotel). When we visited last December this part of the park was closed for winter so we really want to see the trees! Anyone interested in a post-brunch stroll is welcome to join J
Alcatraz: Wednesday October 30th
Anyone wanting to join Niall and Clara on the 12pm ferry to Alcatraz needs to pre-book their tickets from now! https://www.alcatrazcruises.com/tour-options/#depart-schedule. Cost is approx $40/adult, $120/family for a 2.5 hour trip.
Megan and Henry will be spending the day in Golden Gate Park (weather permitting) and anyone interested is welcome to join them.
Thanks for reading and if you have any questions or concerns please email us.
Niall, Megan, Clara & Henry