Planning your wedding is a fun and exciting experience. But, planning an adventure wedding also comes with a whole host of logistical challenges that just aren’t relevant when you plan a more traditional celebration.
The good news is that we’re here to help.
If you’ve been dreaming of saying “I do” up in the mountains, next to a fairytale waterfall, or in an enchanting forest, we have all the information you need to get started. Up next, we’ll walk you through some of our top tips for planning your very own outdoor adventure wedding so you can make the most of your big day.
1. Know Your Personal Adventure Style
Planning an outdoor adventure wedding starts with understanding your personal adventure style. While some folks are happy to rough it for a few days in the backcountry, others prefer more of a glamping-style experience.
Regardless of how you like to get outside, understanding your comfort zone is critical to ensuring that your adventure wedding goes off without a hitch.
At the end of the day, there are plenty of romantic ways to get outside with your partner. The trick is knowing what types of outdoor activities are more your style so you can start to plan the perfect adventure wedding.
2. Make Safety A Priority
Your wedding day should be a moment of celebration and love. So, you certainly don’t want any accidents or mishaps to derail your special moment.
As a result, it’s essential that you make safety a priority throughout your planning process.
If you’ve never been to your adventure wedding destination before, consider making the trip out there before your big day. Doing so can help you get familiar with the site so you can get an idea of what challenges you might face along the way, be that a tricky section of the trail or a lack of nearby water sources.
Or, if you’re new to outdoor adventure, consider hiring a qualified guide for your wedding. This is particularly important if you’re looking to integrate technical activities, like rock climbing or paddling, into your celebration. However, a guide can also help give you the peace of mind you need to know that someone is always looking out for your well-being during your ceremony.
Along this same line of safety, remember that adventure weddings are essentially outdoor trips with a wedding built-in. So, you’ll need to bring all the gear that would normally be on your camping checklist, plus your outfit for when you say “I do.”
3. Book A Photographer Early
Adventure weddings are all the rage these days and for good reason: Why wouldn’t you want to make your vows with a stunning mountainscape in the background?
But, adventure wedding photographers are in relatively short supply because not everyone has the skills needed to capture the magic of an outdoor adventure wedding. That means that hiring a photographer early on in the planning process is essential, especially if you’re looking forward to a summer wedding.
So, as soon as you decide that an adventure wedding is right for you, start searching for a photographer right away.
Most outdoor adventure photographers also help quite a bit with location selection, finding an officiant, and other logistics, so booking one early on can make your planning process that much easier.
4. Don’t Forget To Get A Permit
If you plan to make your vows in a scenic national park or in any other highly-protected area, there’s a good chance that you’ll need a permit.
Yep, it might sound a bit odd, but adventure weddings generally require what’s known as a “Special Use Authorization,” at least in the United States. Getting one usually isn’t too difficult or too expensive (it’s a pencil-pushing exercise), but navigating all the different regulations can be a bit time-consuming.
Since each land manager has its own permitting process, it’s impossible to say precisely what information you need to apply. But, as a general rule with all things permit-related, it’s better to start the process as soon as possible.
The good news is that an experienced adventure photographer will likely be pretty comfortable with the permitting process, so they can help you with the paperwork.
But, if you’re hoping to plan your wedding on your own, you’ll need to do your research to ensure everything is smooth sailing for your big day.
5. Be Flexible
Last but not least, it’s important to remember that a bit of flexibility is essential when you plan an adventure wedding.
In an ideal world, your wedding day will be as magical as you imagined it with gorgeous sunshine, beautiful backdrops, and smiling, happy faces. Of course, we hope that you have the wedding day that you’ve always dreamed of, but heading outside always involves some degree of unpredictability.
Thankfully, variable weather or challenging trail conditions don’t have to derail your special moment.
If you approach your outdoor adventure wedding as just that—your next big adventure—then it will be a moment you always cherish and remember, regardless of if things go exactly according to plan.
About the Author:
Jennifer Schultz is a Professional Outdoor Guide and a Contributor at Outforia. She is a Certified Mountain Leader and holds a degree in Outdoor Education & Adventure Tourism. She spends her spare time kayaking, bouldering, and practicing competition archery.
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