How to Plan a Summer Camp Wedding Everyone Will Love
Summer (and early fall) is peak wedding season, which means it can be hard to make your special day stand out. But we know one way you can have a summer wedding and wow your guests. Consider having a summer camp wedding, where you can get in touch with your inner child with fun activities, camp-inspired food, decorations and much more. If all of those things sound like the perfect recipe for the wedding of your dreams, read below for everything you need to know about planning a camp wedding and see our 13 favorite summer camp wedding ideas from real weddings.
Your Summer Camp Wedding To-Do List
We guarantee planning a summer camp wedding will be one of the most fun things you do during your wedding experience. Here's a list of unique ways you can incorporate your summer camp theme into your special day.
Book a summer camp wedding venue.
From the California coast to the mountains of New York, summer camp weddings are one of the most eccentric domestic destination weddings. The amenities a summer camp wedding venue offers depend on the individual camp. Some offer catering, housing, clean up and activities, while others might only offer their facilities. So before you start visiting every gorgeous summer camp venue you find, discuss with your partner what aspects of the summer camp experience are important to you. Here are a couple of venue-related things to consider:
The location of the camp wedding: If you want a "truly" unplugged wedding, consider booking a secluded venue that has little to no cell service. But if your DJ, for example, will need WiFi or other electrical connections to do their job well, you should choose a venue that has the camp feel but has all the technology you need.
The amenities the camp offers: Want your guests to do archery during the cocktail hour or make s'mores during the reception? Then ask your desired summer camp wedding venue if they host camp activities so you and your guests can have the ultimate camping adventure.
The accessibility of the campgrounds: You should think about what you need and want for your wedding and your guests' requirements. Is the venue too hilly (making it hard for people in wheelchairs to get around)? Does it allow service animals or have accessible bathrooms? Couples should keep these things in consideration so every guest can be accommodated and feel comfortable at the celebration. So communicate with your guests and wedding planner to achieve an accessible wedding everyone will enjoy.
The camp's accommodations: If you want to host a "true" summer camp affair, inquire if there are tents or cabins on-site for you and your guests to stay in. If so, ensure the camp offers clean linens, bathrooms, water and functional air conditioners or heaters.
Send summer camp wedding invitations.
Give a nod or direct acknowledgment to your camp wedding theme by sending camp- or outdoor-inspired wedding invitations. If you want a simple-yet-elegant look, choose a summer wedding invitation with florals, mountainscapes or trees. Or have illustrations of tents, cabins, canoes and a campfire on your summer camp wedding invitation to let your guests know exactly the kind of celebration they are attending.
Consider having camp wedding decorations.
There are numerous ways you can include summer camp-themed wedding decor on your big day. Instead of having a traditional wedding arch, say your "I dos" in front of a decorated camping tent. Have long wooden tables for your reception for a mess hall feel and colorful camp flags for the table numbers. Create your own camp logo with your and your partner's names and wedding date. Get inspiration from your time at summer camp so you can put an innovative twist on your wedding decorations.
Plan camp-like activities.
No matter if you're planning a summer camp wedding weekend or just one day, having activities will have your guests forget about their phones, enjoy the outdoors and get to know one another better. Campfire singalongs, canoeing, lawn games and hiking are just a few things you can put on your wedding day schedule. Talk to your wedding venue about what activities they offer. We suggest you get wedding insurance if anything involves water, fire and, of course, arrows.
Give your guests a map of the campgrounds.
Start your camp wedding off right by giving your guests a helpful map of the campsite. You can include a map with the invitation suite or have some of your wedding party members hand them out as guests arrive at the venue. If you and your partner enjoy being crafty, DIY the camp maps using pens, crayons or markers illustrating where the accommodations, bathrooms, activities and food stations are. If your drawing skills aren't the best, commission an artist to make your custom camp maps.
Make a camp-inspired food and drink menu.
A summer camp wedding menu is another way to fully immerse your guests in camping life. A Frito pie bar with beans, jalapenos, cheese and much more is a perfect camp menu addition––make sure you serve the Fritos straight from the bag for the authentic experience. A trail mix, s'mores and caramel popcorn station are summer camp classics everyone will enjoy by the campfire. And we guarantee lemonade and summer cocktails like berry mojitos and spiked Arnold Palmers will be a hit. And if it's going to be really hot outside, we suggest serving fruity popsicles during the cocktail hour––offer boozy popsicle options for the adults.
Get creative with your getaway vehicle.
If you're planning on getting a getaway vehicle for your wedding exit, choose one that's camp-inspired. Use a row boat, kayak or canoe, if your summer camp wedding venue is next to the water. Ride into the sunset in a camping van as you and your partner start your next adventure together. Or change into your swimsuit, hop onto a tube or other tow toy and have a speedboat pull you and your spouse to your honeymoon destination.
Summer Camp Wedding Ideas to Inspire You
Now that you know everything you need to make the summer camp wedding of your dreams, it's time to look for inspiration. Check out these 13 creative camp ideas you'll fall in love with.
You don't need to wear plain black or navy dress socks for the big day. Pick out fun wedding socks to wear during the ceremony or reception. This groom wore colorful camp socks with sasquatches at his wedding ceremony.
Custom Summer Camp Wedding Map
To help their wedding guests navigate the campgrounds, the couple had custom wedding maps created. The couple named their wedding weekend "Camp Wannamarryoo," which they put on their maps and rustic stationery suite.
Wooden Summer Camp Wedding Signs
Your summer camp wedding venue might already have these, but wooden signage that directs guests to the different areas of the campsite is a great wedding decoration. If there aren't any signs at the venue, find a vendor that can create custom ones for your event.
Row Boat Getaway Vehicle
After their wedding, this couple took some personal time for themselves and rowed out to the middle of the lake next to their venue. Ask your wedding venue if they have a row boat, canoe or kayak you can use so you can paddle with your partner into the sunset and share a special moment.
Outdoor Camp Wedding Reception
At this outdoor wedding, the couple's reception took place in an open field on the campsite. They used farm and pallet tables with blankets and pillows for a picnic-like environment.
Summer Camp Wedding Invitations
Go all out for your wedding and send out summer camp wedding invitations. For this couple's vintage camp wedding, they sent a map and put their custom camp logo on their wedding invitations.
Wooden Canoe as Camp Wedding Decor
At the wedding cocktail area, the outdoorsy newlyweds had a vintage wooden canoe as one of their camp wedding decorations. Not only is it a perfect addition to the camp theme, but it also was a vessel to serve drinks out of.
Camp Badge Escort Card Display
Every aspect of your wedding can be camp-inspired. Steal this summer camp wedding idea from this real wedding. The groom's father built this escort card display with vintage retro badges. Each badge was connected to a retro camp badge table number.
Summer Camp Tent Couple's Photo Shoot
This couple had a beautiful camp-themed minimony in their backyard. If you and your partner are outdoorsy, finding a tent to snap photos in won't be hard, but we suggest decorating it with florals to make your photo shoot stand out even more.
DIY Trail Mix Summer Camp Wedding Favors
Have a trail mix bar at your reception like this bride and groom did at their summer camp wedding. The couple filled old-school medical glass containers, from a camp nurse's office, with granola, chips, nuts, dried fruit and more for the ultimate classic camp snack.
Custom Camp Wedding Welcome Bags
Destination wedding welcome bags take on a whole new meaning when you're hosting a summer camp wedding. From onesie pajamas to late-night snacks and s'mores kits, give your guests gifts they can use during their experience.
Couple Dressed in Summer Camp Uniforms
Take your wedding theme to the next level by dressing in summer camp uniforms during or after the ceremony. The couple dressed in khaki camp outfits as a nod to the bride's memorable times at camp and to show love for their favorite movie, "Moonrise Kingdom."
Personalized Cornhole Boards
Cornhole is a popular lawn game you've probably seen at numerous other events. This cute cornhole board is an example of how you can personalize your wedding by creating your own camp logo and adding your wedding date.