A Camp-Inspired, Destination Wedding at Clearwater Forest in Deerwood, Minnesota

Sarah Lick (27 and a nonprofit project manager) and Alex “Finn” Macartney (28 and a doctoral student at Georgetown University) met in college while st

Sarah Lick (27 and a nonprofit project manager) and Alex “Finn” Macartney (28 and a doctoral student at Georgetown University) met in college while studying abroad in England. Sarah, from Minnesota, and Finn, from Oregon, wanted the focus of their wedding to be as laid-back as their home states, a celebration of their legal commitment—without “getting lost in the details of the party,” Sarah says. Few details were needed at Clearwater Forest, a campground and resort community in Deerwood, Minnesota, about two hours north of the Twin Cities (and not coincidentally, across from Sarah’s family’s cabin, one of her favorite spots). 

Sarah and Finn exchanged vows lakeside before 100 guests in a stone-walled gathering space. “Our only decorations were the rustling trees and the lapping water,” Sarah says. It was peaceful and relaxing, just as they envisioned. The dinner was outdoors on the lawn—Sarah insisted on not having a tent—and the weather thankfully cooperated. Dinner, catered by Chowgirls, was served family style on farm tables, decorated with pink and red wildflower arrangements. Chocolate and coconut cakes from Yum bakery were popular among guests, as were local brews from Minnesota and Oregon. True to the authentic camp setting, the weekend included not only naturally beautiful scenery and dinner under the stars, but also games, bonfires, laughter and a reminder that when you unplug, you reconnect with nature and with those who matter most, notes the bride. —Chrissy Sorenson

Camp-themed invitations set the tone for a fun and unique outdoor celebration.
Bouquets were designed with a lush mix of pinks, ivories, hints of coral, and overspilling greenery.
Clearwater Forest in Deerwood, Minnesota created a pretty natural backdrop for Sarah and Finn's wedding.
Finn purchased his navy Hugo Boss suit from Nordstrom with the assistance of Sarah’s 4- and 9-year-old cousins, who helped him select his pink shirt, light-blue tie and Edmond Allen shoes. Finn’s shark-themed socks (sharks were a childhood obsession) were a gift from his older sister.
Checkered table runners brought color and interest to the tablescape.
Soft pink flats made a sophisticated statement on Sarah and Finn's wedding day (without sacrificing comfort).
A sash is an easy way to add a personal (colorful) touch to a wedding gown.
Sarah and Finn exchanged heartfelt (and funny) cards and gifts before the ceremony, delivered by the maid of honor and best man.
Rocket Science Events did a beautiful job creating pink and red florals, full of garden roses, ranunculus, anemones, berries and fruit—very appropriate for fall.
The couple took a moment to capture a selfie in the woods.
The wedding was a true family collaboration. Finn’s aunt painted the watercolor used on their save-the-date cards, Sarah’s sister created the chalkboard menu, Sarah’s aunt officiated at the ceremony and Finn’s uncle and Sarah’s cousin played acoustic guitar and sang.
Guests at on camp-style red benches as Sarah and Finn exchanged vows under thick foliage.
Elegant chairs added a sophisticated look to the outdoor reception.
Sarah and Finn tooled around the campground on a quadricycle, a four-wheel cart.
Sarah's ring was handed down through the generations by her great aunt.
After dinner guests moved to the Clearwater Forest campground's dining hall for a dance party. DJ Digie kept the dance floor packed all night.
Farm table reception seating fosters the intimate feeling of sitting at your family dinner table, sharing stories and laughing over a good meal.
Creativity is showcased in many ways, including this Lego cake topper.