Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Wedding trend: camping out

Is it just me and my low-impact, recycling-happy, granola-eating, mate-sipping friends, or is camping out for a wedding the new trend?

I've just returned from the third of five weddings this season (the final one being OURS!). We were encouraged to camp at two of the weddings, easily could've camped for the third and fourth, and are offering camping as an option for the fifth (ours).

I love getting outdoors, and camping and hiking have always been some of my preferred forms of recreation.... but I also think there's something slightly incongruous about camping out at a wedding.

On the plus side, camping is cheap and social and convenient. The most expensive campsite is a third or less the cost of a hotel room - an ever important consideration for a bunch of impoverished grad students. And this past weekend, the camping was free on Dr. Cowgirl's parents' land (no price is better than that!). With four weddings to travel to this summer, along with our own to plan, it would have been tough financially if we had not had low-cost accommodations options for some of them.

Camping is social: it's been great to hang out with the others in attendance without running from hotel to hotel. Sitting around late night campfires, drinking beer or roasting marshmallows, are some of my favorite memories ever. I think we're all trying to recreate those memories within our wedding weekends.

Camping on site is also safer and more convenient: since no driving is needed, everyone can party down without worrying about a designated driver. When the party's over - or when you've had enough - you just wander off to your tent and fall asleep. No need to wait until your partner or date is done partying, if they have more staying power than you do. This is a great option for parents: one parent can put the kid(s) to bed, while the other can easily drop in to check on them, or trade-off watching them.

This past weekend in the Tetons revealed one of the drawbacks of camping: you're at the mercy of the weather. Which was freezing! With torrential rain, wind, and pea-sized hail! While we knew it would be cold at night, no one expected the day time temperatures to get stuck in the mid-50s. We'd all brought cute little sundresses and pashminas, which sadly ended up buried under layers of fleece and down.

Which brings me to the other challenge of camping out at a wedding: getting ready. It's tricky to get dolled up in a tent. Mr. Barefoot wisely insisted on getting a hotel room for the night before the wedding, so that we could at least shower before the festivities. To escape the freezing, rainy weather, a couple of our friends ended up bunking with us, and we all elected to get a hotel room for the night of the wedding, rather than camp out in the cold. Had the weather been more cooperative, we would have been thrilled to wake up with the sun and a view of the river, but as it was, we were happy to have a roof over our heads.

The weddings I attended five or ten years ago were all about getting fancy in the city - elegant hotel rooms, cocktails at the bar, receptions in fancy ballrooms or country clubs. I like this new trend of more casual, rustic, low impact events -- and I definitely appreciate the inexpensive accommodations... all I need is the backcountry makeup mirror, and a battery-powered hairdryer.

Having you camped out at a wedding? What are your thoughts, pro or con?


Eco Yogini said...

I think you summed it up nicely! Around here in Nova Scotia the trend has been having a venue that has cabins on property- and it can range from GORGEOUS cottages to little rustic cabins. So you get a bit more hotel-like with the awesome camping feel.
Now this I like. :)

A.Mountain.Bride said...

your friends must be totally fun - all that camping!! good times!

Marisa said...

We are offering camping at our wedding! It is out in the middle of nowhere and we'd rather guests not drive back to hotels down winding roads after imbibing too much.
I hope we don't have bad weather!

Julia (Color Me Green) said...

i've never been to a camping wedding but i really want to!!

AuniLeigh said...

We tossing this idea around. It will be wonderful I believe, providing the weather will be nice. For the guest that won't go for camping they may get a hotel room down the road. I thought my soon to be hubby was out of his mind, I'm just searching that this isn't crazy and happy to find its fairly common.