DIY : How to Pick the Perfect Venue for Your Rustic Camp Wedding

Whether for real estate or your wedding venue, your search will likely begin with the location. We recommend deciding on a general geographic area before getting online to research venues. When you start, you don’t need to necessarily pick an exact destination, but it will help to know whether you are planning to hold your wedding in New England or Colorado, for example.

If you’re able to be flexible, you’ll find that you may end up finding something better than what you had originally imagined.

Some considerations to keep in mind when selecting a location are:

1. Striking a balance between proximity to you (or family members or friends who will be helping you with your wedding) and your out-of-town guests.

2. How easy it is to get there by public transport, from airports, train or bus stations, or by car.

3. Traffic issues, especially if you’re planning to hold your wedding over a long weekend, holiday weekend, or popular summer travel weekends. We picked a location that could easily be accessed from major airports and highways, but quickly realized that when selecting a date, we wanted to avoid heavily-traveled holidays precisely because the location is between major metro areas.

Weather considerations:

1. Do you want an outdoor, indoor, or combination of outdoor/indoor space?

2. What time of year do you envision your wedding?

3. What is the weather like in the area(s) you are considering?

Rustic wedding locations have one thing in common: nature. And this means contending with whatever Mother Nature throws at you. But your guests may not necessarily be used to dealing with the elements, so, let’s talk about site considerations.

1. How many guests are likely to stay in rustic cabins, tents, etc.? (We made some initial assumptions, but after several site visits, we realized that we couldn’t swing the cost of an expensive camp unless we asked our guests to pay for their onsite lodging. After a quick survey of a subset of wedding guests, we quickly realized that not enough people wanted to pay for and stay in such accommodations.)

Though many of our guests are outdoorsy, they preferred their own tent over cabins for several reasons. Some people are light-sleepers, others valued privacy, and some people preferred using their own gear. This motivated us to start looking for camps we could afford to rent without asking guests to pay for onsite accommodations, which also had enough space for people to put up their own tents.

2. Bathrooms and showers: Are guests going to want indoor plumbing? This may sound funny, but it’s a legitimate question. We attended one multi-day wedding that had no bathrooms. (However, there were high-quality sawdust toilets and hand sanitizer in lieu of running water.) Now, this may not be everyone’s idea of a fun weekend, but it was perfect for their guests.

For our own wedding, we knew that indoor plumbing was a necessity, as the lack of would definitely discourage some people from staying with us throughout the weekend. Circling back to our priority, we knew we really wanted everyone to stay for multiple days and partake in the smorgasbord of activities we were in the process of concocting!

3. Indoor, outdoor, and combinations: Jot down your priorities as you come up with them and it will make it easier to evaluate venues when you make site visits.

Researching venues ahead of time will save you a lot of time and money, so you can avoid having to drive around to numerous places.

Sometimes, you can often find a lot of this information on venue websites or by speaking with the venue event coordinator. (We wanted indoor and outdoor spaces, so we were able to rule out a handful of sites when we realized that they didn’t have a reception hall space.)

Don’t forget to add in your state or region in your searches to find places in the geographical region of your choice. Here are just a few examples of venue options:

· Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) lodges

· Sierra Club lodges

· ski mountain lodges

For more ideas, check out the Rustic Camp Wedding Planning Guide.

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