With weddings these days costing upwards of £10,000 you’d be excused for wanting to ditch your nearest and dearest and elope to some sandy beach in the tropics to tie the knot. But if you want to add a touch of adventure to your special day without upsetting your mother-in-law, and without breaking the bank, there is another option a bit closer to home.
A couple of months ago an envelope dropped through my door that was far too fancy to be a bill (unless they’re employing new sneak tactics) and had to be the only other kind of post I get lately – a wedding invitation. But this wasn’t just any wedding invitation; this one promised a night under the stars and food cooked over a roaring fire. I’d never been to a camping wedding before, but it seemed like such an obvious choice for my nature loving friend. So whether your budget is £100 or £10,000, and if you like the idea of getting hitched in the wild, here are a few tips on how to plan your very own campsite wedding.
First things first: To glamp or not to glamp? Whether you decide to spend your wedding night together in a two storey yurt or a two man tent may depend on your budget, or how much of a die-hard camper you are, but it’s worth considering the facilities and how far you will be from the local registry office. Unless you are camping at a site specifically geared towards weddings there may be a lot of travelling on the day, so transport is something else to bear in mind. If you’re looking for low-budget, or simply want a fun and fuss-free wedding, then don’t be afraid to keep things minimal. My friend’s wedding boasted no tipis, no tastefully mismatched table wear, no cocktails in mason jars and no homemade bunting. There was, however, a campfire, great people, half a pig on a spit and a stunning view – all that was needed for a memorable day.
Be aware that your choice of venue may come as a shock to some of your guests. Surprisingly, not everyone will want to spend a night on the floor surrounded by livestock and a cold 5 minute walk away from the nearest toilet facilities. If you want to make your less outdoorsy guests feel welcome then choose an easily accessible spot near a pretty town with a selection of cosy B&Bs. If not I hear the Outer Hebrides is beautiful.
What do you wear to a wedding in a field? And not just any field, but a field in the north, in early September, with a forecast of rain and a very high sheep to people ratio? What if there’s a heatwave? Does cake melt?
Planning a camping wedding requires a little more thought about the weather than a regular wedding, especially if you’re having it in Britain, and with an average of up to 200 days of rain in some of the more scenic parts of the country you might want to rethink the traditional floor-length meringue dress in favour of something shorter or more lightweight. Make sure you have a weatherproof marquee for shelter and keep the dress code relaxed. Advise people to bring plenty of layers for the evening, a change of shoes and some waterproofs.
The Kit List
Remember to let your guests know what level of luxury (or lack of) to expect. Despite being a keen camper and knowing I was staying on a modest site, at about half past the second bottle of Prosecco I had the horrible realisation that I hadn’t brought any toilet paper. And nor had anyone else. Fortunately, being at a wedding, there was a surplus supply of pocket tissues to go round.
Include any items guests should bring on the invitation and if they don’t have their own tents these can be hired out – or better yet beg, steal or borrow them from everyone you know and set up camp the night before. A few essentials I would recommend people to bring are:
- A head torch – easier for navigating the toilet block than a lantern
- A 3 season sleeping bag – if your wedding also falls in September
- An inflatable mat – a lightweight Multimat makes quick work of setting up camp so you can beat the crowds to the hog roast
- Wellies – better on grass than heels and fleece lined for extra warmth well into the night
- A camping chair – something with a drinks holder. This is a wedding after all.
Because nothing cures a post-wedding night hangover like a morning mountain hike. Seriously though, the best part of a camping wedding is the outdoor fun you can have, whether that’s simply toasting marshmallows over an open fire or exploring the local countryside on foot, by bike or by kayak – it’s all up to you.
Have you ever been to or have you had a camping wedding?