If you are considering a camp wedding for your special Day, you may be on to something. Not only are camp weddings becoming more popular, but they are also the most laid back and absolutely most fun (although we may be bias). But seriously, if hanging with your favorite people fire side is your thing, a destination Maine camp wedding weekend may be just the right fit for you.
Camp wedding weekends are filled with the perfect combination of outdoorsy relaxation and rustic sophistication. Family and friends come together to enjoy each other, and most importantly, celebrate the soon to be married couple. There is something about spending a few days together with family and friends in the rustic outdoors of Maine, in the woods, or lakeside, that creates the perfect atmosphere.
Over the last 2 years, we have hosted quite a few weddings, and have witnessed many different ways to make the weekend work! So we created some basic tips on how to facilitate a spectacular Camp wedding weekend experience, especially in MAINE!
1. More than a Day
(Our 6 cabins on the Lakeside Barn Property)
Make sure it’s at least a weekend, or more! I think back to my wedding here, and I have to say I would have definitely done some things differently. But the one thing that brings the most satisfaction is that it lasted all weekend long. It made the wedding day itself so much more enjoyable. I didn’t feel compelled to rush around and sit and chat with every single person, because I had the time to hang with them before. I was really able to enjoy the day and be in the present moment. So if possible, make it a weekend where everyone, or most everyone, can stay together. If this sounds appealing, onsite lodging may be a key factor when considering a venue.
2. Guest Itinerary
(Photo Courtesy Hailey & Joel Photography)
Have an agenda. Plan activities, but keep it loose. Allow guests some unscheduled time to explore the area, give options but don’t feel compelled to micromanage everyone’s time. Don’t be afraid to rent some kayaks or schedule a group yoga class, but if Uncle Jeff doesn’t show, no biggie! Leave welcome bags or baskets in their rooms or cabins, including a map of the property, a map of the area and the itinerary. If you are really ahead of the game and organized, you can send it out before guest’s arrival, or post on your wedding website. Being transparent is best so people know what to expect. Basic information about the property can be helpful too. So many times I will get a call before guests arrive with questions like, “ is bedding provided” , or “is there a coffee pot in my cabin?” Not that these questions are burdensome to us by any means, but these simple answers provided in an agenda/information packet will be super helpful and will only enhance your, and your guests’, total experience.
3. The making of a team.
(Rustic Taps Catering serving up some delicious Brews)
Choosing a vendor team is part research and part chemistry, in my opinion. This topic applies to any wedding really, but if a camp setting is your choice, knowing that is a step in the right direction. Be as mindful as possible when choosing your vendors, which includes thinking about all areas (the venue, caterer, florist, photographer, DJ/Band, bakery, officiant, planner, stationary, design/lighting, rentals and more). As a Speech therapist, I use visualization strategies and techniques quite often with my patients, and I think it can be very useful in planning a wedding. Visualize your wedding day. What do you see for landscape? What are you eating? What are you drinking? What colors do you see? What do you hear? …live instruments, waves crashing on shore, the crackling of a fire? What do you smell? Do this for every part of the weekend.; from your arrival the first day at your cabin to the farewell brunch and every moment in between. Now write this all down. Let your senses be your guide. Share this with your vendors, and they can hopefully make it happen. Communication is a key component when creating your vendor team. Maybe you thought you wanted a lakeside ceremony, but you visualized ocean waves and salty air. Sometimes what we think we want isn’t always what we really want. Make a Pinterest board or a vision board. Look at photos from other weddings for ideas, and see what jives with you. Visualizing the day will help create it and clear communication with your vendors will help maintain a cohesive team!
4. Food, Fire, Flashlights and Fur Babies
(Photo Courtesy Samantha Kensell Photography)
With camping comes some very distinctive experiences and these should always be considered. Logistics are vital for everyone’s well-being. For instance, if people are going to be walking around at night, they may need flashlights or headlamps (Wouldn’t that make a cute monogrammed gift), or maybe its spring time in Maine, in which case bug spray is a must. A camp survival pack may be a good idea. And every night there should be some sort of flame….Campfires, bonfires or both. I mean really, nothing brings people closer than some time huddled around the campfire with cocktails and blankets, telling stories and laughing. But did anyone bring firewood? Another possible logistical nightmare (Here at the Lakeside barn, not to worry, we provide firewood for the event and rehearsal but we also sell it in our camp store, next to the Beer!) What about food? Should your guests plan to bring/buy food for breakfast and lunch or are all meals provided….who brought the grill? (no worries, we have that too!) And if your Fur Baby is part of the weekend, make sure the event spaces and lodging areas are pet-friendly! So, think about the basic necessities, the overall logistics and plan accordingly.
5.Extend YOUR stay
(Photos Courtesy James Singleton)
If time allows, arriving a day early, before your guests, is HIGHLY recommended. It gives you time to scope out the area, leave welcome bags/baskets and/or run to the local store in case you forgot some items. More importantly, you aren’t rushing around the morning of the weekend event, trying to arrive prior to your guests Also, there is nothing quite like sitting in the lake house, looking out at the lake, sipping on a well-deserved glass of wine, celebrating the fact that you made it here. After a year (or more, and in some cases less) of planning, the weekend is here and its now time to relax and enjoy!
Lets face it, wedding planning is stressful enough. Why not let the wedding itself be as carefree and tranquil as possible. Destination camp weddings are my favorite, not just because we host them, but also because what they represent to me. Growing up in Massachusetts, Maine represented an escape from the hustle and bustle, and camping allowed us to decompress, renew and restore. I cannot think of a better way to spend one of the most important days of your life, the beginning of your journey together. Disconnect from the outside world, turn inward, and connect with nature and the ones you love, specifically the ONE you love.
To learn more about The Lakeside Barn and what camp wedding weekend experiences we offer, feel free to peruse around our website and don’t hesitate to reach out with questions or to schedule a tour of the Barn and property!
(Photos Courtesy James Singleton)