A Relaxed, Outdoor Wedding at Camp Wandawega in Elkhorn, Wisconsin

Ariana Ervin (28 and in fashion design) and Lucy Martier (26 and a culinary manager) met in high school but didn’t start dating until years later. “We like to say we were high school sweethearts with 10 years separating the time we met and the time we finally started our lives together,” Ariana jokes. After getting engaged at Sea Ranch Inn in California (near where they live), they started looking for the right venue to host their wedding. They flew to Wisconsin, where they have roots, and fell in love with Camp Wandawega in Elkhorn, set in the woods of southeast Wisconsin. “It had such a magical feel to it—the kind of place where you would leave your phone in your backpack and forget about it for a couple of days,” Ariana says. They envisioned their guests swimming in the lake, riding bikes around the grounds, catching fish and playing ping-pong. “Once we saw it, we couldn’t get it out of our heads,” she says. Once the venue was selected, everything was designed around the camp. “We wanted a wedding where kids would be running around the lawn barefoot and babies would be passed around while people drank wine under cafe lights and stayed up by the fire,” Ariana says. Guests enjoyed charcuterie prepared by close friends, specialty cocktails, readily available Greek food-truck options, a barbecue and pig roast, grilled Wisconsin corn and cake from a local bakery. “We wanted our food to be easy and relaxed, like our wedding,” Ariana says. By the end of the evening, guests were dancing and singing in the tent (it was set up with an open mike to encourage spontaneous performances), swimming in the lake, exploring the grounds, relaxing around a bonfire and hanging out in the treehouse. Many of the couple’s closest friends and family members stayed at Camp Wandawega for three days. “It was three days of pure magic surrounded by all these people we love so much,” Ariana says. “Everywhere we went we saw friends. I know a lot of people say they didn’t get to see or spend time with people on their wedding day, and I didn’t feel like that at all.” And while the camp experience was perfect, she admits, “Our wedding could have just been us in a big field, surrounded by our favorite people, and I would have been happy.” —Chrissy Sorenson