One of the biggest perks that comes with being part of our clients’ wedding festivities is seeing the creative ways couples bend the traditional wedding rules. Did you catch our recent top 10 list of unexpected wedding venues? We’re continuing this theme here with tips for planning a camping wedding.
Why have a traditional wedding ceremony and reception when you can turn your entire wedding weekend into an epic celebration? Many couples who love to throw a great party find that planning a camping wedding is a reasonably affordable option for their guests, while also being relatively easy on their own bank accounts.
But if you’re tempted to jump on this trend, be warned: you’ve got some serious planning to do to make it truly unforgettable. So, before you spear those marshmallows, let’s discuss how to pull off a fabulous camping wedding.
1. Choose a long holiday weekend.
Among the things that could spell disaster for your epic weekend-long party is planning a camping wedding for a weekend when most of your guests can’t make it. Naturally, choosing a long holiday weekend, along with giving your family and friends plenty of notice, increases the odds of most guests showing up. Get those save the date cards out early!
Scheduling your wedding for a long holiday weekend also provides an excellent opportunity for getting the gang together again for years to come. Talk about creating your own wedding tradition! Even if you don’t want to have your actual ceremony outside, you could reserve part of a campground for afterward to provide an area for socializing and camping after the wedding!
Do keep in mind, though, a weekend is a big commitment and you will probably also have some on your guest list who aren’t too keen on camping out. So, make accommodations for those who want to drive in just for the ceremony and afterparty, or find a hotel or other traditional lodging option nearby for those who’d like traditional accommodations.
2. Choose attire appropriate for the outdoors.
Having an outdoor wedding doesn’t mean you have to choose a certain kind of “camping wedding dress”—pick whatever style you’ve always dreamed of! What’s more important is that you have shoes and accessories appropriate for spending an extended amount of time outdoors. Make sure you, your bridal party, and your guests are all dressed for the weather—whether that means having sweaters and blankets on hand for chilly temperatures or just opting for sneakers instead of fancy heels or sandals.
If it looks like it’ll be cold on the day of your ceremony and you can afford to do so, it’s wise to rent propane heaters and space them out so you and your guests stay cozy.
3. Make memories with food.
When planning a camping wedding, you have the opportunity to use food to make memories. In addition to whatever you’re planning for the day of the ceremony, you will potentially have another day or two of creative menu options. This doesn’t mean your guests will expect you to provide food for everyone for the entire weekend, but it’s a good reminder to make your intentions around meals known.
In general, it’s smart to keep camping wedding food casual and simple since you’ll likely be without all the bells and whistles that a catering kitchen might offer at a traditional venue. Plus, choosing simple items will keep your costs down and let you focus on other parts of the weekend.
One way to involve your guests in a special way is to ask them to contribute family recipes. You could do a dessert table, for example, with a collection of desserts that played an important role in each of your childhoods. Don’t forget the s’mores!
4. Don’t try to upstage nature.
One huge perk of having your wedding outdoors at a campground, state park, or even in a large backyard is that nature provides an epic backdrop that’s tough to beat. Go ahead and plan that sunset ceremony with mountains in the background overlooking a breathtaking valley, then dance the night away to the beat of crickets, surrounded by fireflies, under a canopy of stars.
Rather than carting in a ton of decorations, incorporate natural elements wherever you can. Some lanterns, twinkle lights, and simple rustic components to complement what is already there will go a long way. Remember: less is more.
Of course, there’s one area where upstaging nature is an absolute requirement and that’s when it comes to showering regularly. No matter how much your guests are into communing with nature, they’ll probably be happier to attend your camping wedding knowing they’ll be able to take a hot shower after they dance the night away under the stars. Blue Ribbon Restroom Trailers has you covered with our shower trailer rentals.
5. Get to know your camping wedding venue.
The idea of having your wedding outdoors might sound less stressful than booking a traditional venue, but there are many things to consider with an outdoor, off-the-grid location. Wondering how to have a campground wedding that you and your guests will love? Know your venue!
Just a few things to consider:
- Is there power available at your ceremony and reception location, or will you need to bring in generators for lights and charging stations?
- Are the restroom facilities sufficient for the number of guests you have? If not, you might consider renting a restroom trailer for a better experience.
- Are your guests staying all weekend? If so, they’ll likely want to shower at some point. You can rent portable shower trailers for your wedding, too!
- Is there a fire ban in place? Make sure you check on this before building a fire for s’mores!
- What is the alcohol policy at your wedding location? Do you need to get a permit to provide alcohol to your guests?
6. Don’t forget about music.
If you’re having a camping wedding, live music is a great choice. Your guests can dance the night away to bluegrass, folk, or whatever music you prefer. Remember to check on local sound ordinances and the noise policy at the campground or outdoor location you’re considering. And, again, make sure you know the electrical situation ahead of time so you have adequate power for microphones, amplifiers or speakers, and whatever instruments your band will be playing (or for your DJ’s equipment!).
7. Show your appreciation with a customized welcome kit.
Say “thank you” to your guests for making the trek to your chosen destination by providing them with a bag of goodies that will make their stay more enjoyable. What you opt to include should depend on how long they are staying and what type of amenities are available for their use. Ideas include:
- A detailed map of the campsite
- A list of local attractions complete with directions
- Bug spray
- Bottled water
- Campfire treats such as a mini s’mores kit
- Local goodies
- Daily itineraries
In addition to your welcome bags, ensure your guests have all the creature comforts of home by stocking up on extra toothbrushes and travel-sizes items such as soap and shampoo. Be sure to have a first aid kit on hand complete with allergy medication, pain relievers, and ice packs; in the event of a minor injury or allergic reaction to an insect bite or foliage, your guests will appreciate not having to endure a lengthy car ride to find relief!
8. Have plans for happily ever after (the wedding).
After you say “I do,” you can keep your guests entertained by offering up a variety of games and activities for the duration of their stay. The goal isn’t to fill each minute of every day but rather to strike a comfortable balance between recreation and relaxation to enhance the experience and help make long-lasting memories. The types of activities you choose should be based on the number of guests, location, and range of age groups that will be in attendance and may include a variety of options such as:
Scout out the campsite in advance to determine if they have a recreational area with amenities such as a volleyball court, horseshoe pit, baseball diamonds, and more, and bring the necessary equipment with you to the venue.
Arts and Crafts
Keep children entertained with age-appropriate craft materials to unleash their creativity and alleviate boredom during periods of downtime or inclement weather.
Rent an inflatable screen to show movies during the evening if the campground policies allow, provided there is an adequate power supply to operate the equipment.
Engage the competitive spirit of your guests with an assortment of board games and cards they can use to play around the campfire, picnic table, or inside a tent or cabin.
9. Embrace the inevitable hiccups.
Finally, when you’re planning a camping wedding and on your wedding day, make sure you know how to roll with the punches. It helps to anticipate and accept that there are variables that will be out of your control. Trust that your epic wedding experience will not be ruined by the inevitable hiccup.
Yes, the weekend could be a total washout. It’s smart to rent a tent in advance just in case—it can also provide shade on a sunny afternoon! And yes, there could be a fire ban in the campground because of an unprecedented drought—so much for your s’more roasting dreams. Rather than setting your sights on perfection, focus on the love that surrounds you. If you are determined to make your wedding a smashing success despite any potential mishaps, it will be!
10. Savor the little moments.
After you’ve planned your big event, don’t forget to savor the little moments. You want this event to be unforgettable for your guests, but you also want it to be memorable for you. If you steal quiet moments to be present, you’re more likely to remember the sights, sounds, smells, and little moments, like the first time you lock eyes with your husband- or wife-to-be during the ceremony. Otherwise, the day and weekend will get away from you.
Being out in nature definitely heightens the senses. So, take it all in and you’ll have vivid mental details for years to come. Priceless!
Here’s a fun suggestion: tie a string around your finger so that whenever you look down, you’re reminded to take a breath and be present in the moment.
Planning a Camping Wedding? Let Blue Ribbon Help!
There’s just something about being in the great outdoors, enjoying a relaxed, family vibe, and extending the biggest day of your life to a long weekend that makes for an epic wedding experience. If you are up for the challenge, planning a camping wedding could be the perfect way to start your married lives together.
When nature calls, Blue Ribbon Restroom Trailers is ready. We are honored to help our clients pull off unforgettable outdoor weddings and events. Is nature calling you? Contact us today for a free quote on luxury restroom trailer or shower trailer rentals.