The wedding day is one of the most important days in a person’s life. It is also very stressful to plan. There are so many things that need to be done, and it sometimes feels like there will never be enough time to do them all. One great way to make your wedding more memorable is by deciding on an outdoor venue for your ceremony and reception. If you love the outdoors as much as we do, then this blog post has got you covered with its tips on how a park can become your dream destination!
How to Find the Perfect Park for a Wedding
Not all parks are the same! They can actually be extremely different in every aspect, and it’s important that you find the right park for you.
The first big decisions is whether you will be using something smaller and closer like a city or state park or will you be going big with a national park.
City or State Parks
Pros of City or State Parks
City or State Parks are going to be very different than the national parks. In general, there will be more of them, and they will be closer. I know in Fayetteville we have at least 3 parks couples will use for an outdoor wedding. Most of the time you can use them for free, and they aren’t as crowded as a national park.
Cons of City or State Parks
The downside is that you will be limited to what you have in your area. That means it might not be as big or beautiful as a national park. Don’t expect acres and acres of land with giant views and waterfalls. A city park is still beautiful, but expect something like a field and trees.
National parks are some of the coolest places in the United States. You can see things like giant redwoods, geysers, or volcanoes. These would make epic backgrounds for an outdoor ceremony.
Pros of National Parks
The best thing about national parks is how amazing they are. As I said, these have some really beautiful features and landscapes that you can’t see anywhere else. There’s a reason why people plan trips around national parks.
Another great thing is that most of them have other activities. That means once the wedding ceremony is done, you and your guests can stay and make it a vacation. You can spend a few days fishing, hiking, or maybe seeing something historic.
If you want to see what’s available near you or what activities there are, you can search national parks at https://findyourpark.com/.
Cons of National Parks
The biggest issue with national parks is they are limited. In the whole country there are 420, and only 63 of them are really places people travel. That means you might have one in your state or you might be traveling a long distance to find one.
With them being so popular, you will have to deal with other issues. One, they will be crowded. You’ll have to deal with other people and spots might be limited. You will also probably have to buy a permit and pay a fee to get into the park. Some national parks limit weddings and photography, so check out their rules before making a decision.
Popular National Parks
- Grand Canyon
- Acadia National Park
- Glacier National Park
- Big Bend National Park
- Olympic National Park
- Rocky Mountain National Park
Things to Consider Before Picking Your Park
Now that you’ve narrowed down your type of park for your special day, you need continue to narrow things down further. Search and see what is available to you.
When you start looking, here are a few other things to keep in mind.
The Right Wedding Style
Weddings have different styles and so do parks. You’ll want a park that matches your style. Are you wanting something with snow and winter? Do you want to be some place in the forest away from the world? Would you rather have something simple and casual?
Think about what you want things to look like and what you want to do. Does it match up with a certain park? Some places can be decorated, but it’s best to find a place that naturally fits your wedding style.
Size and Space
The size and the space of a park will have a big impact on weddings. You’ll want enough space for all of your guests to comfortably move around and sit. If this is an elopement wedding, then it’s not as big of a deal, but if you plan on having 50 or more people, this is really important.
There are a few other things you will need in your space. One, is the location easy to access or will people have to hike 3 miles? Is there enough parking? Are there restrooms?
Most of this information can be found on a website, but if not, contact someone at the park to get more information.
Will other people be around?
Parks are spaces for people to visit. That means you might have hundreds of people milling around your space, loud noises, and lots of photo bombing.
Find out if people will be around during your wedding. The first thing is to check and see if there are any events happening there on your date. One day there might be nothing and another there might be a baseball tournament. Also, see if there is a place in the park that you can reserve or rent that is away from the crowds.
Rules for Weddings at Parks
There are rules at all weddings, but things can be very different at parks. Parks don’t have huge budgets and the natural beauty needs to be protected.
The rules will vary from park to park, so look into it. It might be something simple like getting married there requires a permit and you can’t leave out trash. Other parks will limit how many people you can have and exactly where you can go. The other big one is alcohol. Can you bring in alcohol and if so, what type?
Lighting for wedding ceremonies
I know not everyone is a photographer, so let me say that lighting is really important for your outdoor wedding. Yes, the background might be beautiful, but if the sun is coming from the wrong angle you might be super squinty the entire time.
There are two things you can do to deal with this. See which directions things are facing. That will help you figure out where the sun will be at certain times. Two, plan your wedding ceremony and portraits around that. You’ll want to avoid when the sun is direct overhead or when the sun will be coming from the wrong direction. In general, it’s best to do things early in the morning or toward sunset.
Park Wedding Tips
Once you have your location picked out, you still have to figured out all the details about getting married. Here are a few other tips that might make your park wedding a hit!
Food for Park Wedding
In most cases, you won’t be able to have the huge food setup that you would have at a normal wedding venue. Think about the location and the space. Can you hire someone to bring in food or can they prepare it there? Do you need to take care of the food yourself?
Whatever you decide, make sure the food is something that can be cleaned up easily. You don’t want to leave a mess.
Most parks are beautiful, so you shouldn’t have to do much decorating for your wedding. You’ll still want a bouquet, centerpieces, and possibly something for the ceremony site, but don’t go crazy. Decorations are something else you’ll have to carry, so if you are out in the middle of the forest, it would be a real pain.
Activities for Park Wedding
Parks are supposed to be fun, so make sure your park wedding is fun for everyone. You can use some of the activities already at the park, or you can bring something to set up. This way people could do something fun like fishing, volleyball, or cornhole.
Leave no trace for outdoor weddings
Elopement and park weddings have become popular the last few years. People are going on adventures into the national forests. With this, there can a big movement to leave no trace behind.
The national parks are beautiful places meant for everyone to enjoy. If people abuse it, the parks will be ruined or the regulations will increase. For your wedding, make sure you are leaving things the way you found them and not destroying anything.
Prepare for The weather
Weather can ruin any outdoor wedding. Make sure you plan for all types of issues. Does your park have a gazebo or some other shelter for people to avoid the rain or intense heat? Is the area known for cold weather or storms?
Conclusion for Park Weddings
According to the National Park Service, more than 120 million people visit national parks every year. As one of the most popular destinations in America, a park wedding can be an excellent choice for you and your partner. Whether it’s eloping or having a huge event with family and friends, there are plenty of ways to make this day memorable. To help you find the perfect location for your ceremony (or even just photos), we have provided some tips on how to ensure that everything goes smoothly so that your guests will enjoy themselves at what is sure to be an unforgettable celebration. Remember: leave no trace! Be sure not only to clean up after yourself but also take care not to damage anything during your stay as well as protect natural resources by