Minaret Photography » Mammoth Lakes California Wedding and Portrait Photography

Mammoth Lakes Weddings and Unpredicatable Weather: An Informative Blog Post


In honor of Mike and Stephanie’s one-year wedding anniversary, and in light of the wildly divergent weather we’ve had this year, this blog post is dedicated to Mammoth’s crazy weather during the wedding season.

They say there are 300 days of sun per year in Mammoth and while that may be true, Murphy’s Law has a way of kicking in on wedding days.

Several times last summer we’d see a few straight weeks of sun and then rain would show up just in time for the wedding.

Read along for some stories and photos from a few such weddings.


There wasn’t a lot of sun leading into Mike and Steph’s Memorial Day Mammoth Mountain ceremony last year, but the weather we had was nothing you’d expect for late May. It snowed all weekend. The wedding crew at the mountain was forced to move the ceremony from the Top of the Sierra down to McCoy Station. They had to haul guests up in several snowcats instead of in the gondola because of the wind.

It was an epic adventure and everybody involved handled the changes in stride. In fact it turned out to be one of the more memorable weddings we’ve shot.

Compare last Memorial Day to this one. It’s been in the mid-60’s for most of the month and the ski resort is in its last week of operation. This weekend might (ironically) bring the first cold front we’ve seen in a long time but people are are still more focused on summer recreation now and skiing is largely and afterthought.

Mike and Stephanie’s wedding was at the extreme end of the weather spectrum, but a good indicator for what you need to plan for if getting married here.

On the other hand, the wind associated with incoming and outgoing weather systems brings along dramatic clouds and light which is paramount to great wedding photography. Mike and Steph’s formal shots around the Hayden Cabin, and the Trash the Dress sessions at Mammoth Mountain and Mono Lake brought in both those elements and gave the images a stunning quality that can’t be matched on clear days…

Jeff and Lindy’s Forest Chapel wedding was a prime example of several weeks of beautiful Sierra sunshine leading into a quick-moving system that threatened to drop rain on the ceremony. When the thunderheads appeared at their most ominous, Mother Nature took note of the entire wedding party’s relaxed approach and the clouds cleared up just in time for the ceremony. They hung around just long enough to create more diffuse, vibrant light on Twin Lakes, the Mammoth Bluffs, and the Sherwins, which made for incredible formal portraits with the bridal party. Ryan and Sierra didn’t have Jeff and Lindy’s luck on their side, but it didn’t create any problems. A quick thunderstorm pulled in just as the ceremony began and continued through the afternoon, into the cocktail hour. It moved out as we were finishing our formal portrait session and a rainbow formed just beyond our location on Mammoth Creek. It was worth the brisk dampness and as you’ll see below, umbrellas bring a cool element to photos in formal portraits and candid moments. Brian and Roanne met me for an engagement session early last fall while we were having a string of afternoon thundershowers. I’ve been here my entire life, and rarely have I seen the rain last long enough to create any logistical outdoor recreation problems. It comes in for ten minutes, then leaves for 30.These two were a little skeptical about venturing down to Rainbow Falls and Devil’s Postpile in the midst of the oncoming system but I took and chance and shared with them my prediction for the quickly-retreating thunderstorm. I ended up being right and we got some amazing shots in two of Mammoth Lakes’ iconic locations.

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