Planning a Campground Wedding

Fall colors present the perfect backdrop. Photo credit Mike Yukon.

Having a campground wedding allows you to be creative and unique. Some current popular wedding themes that lend themselves to choosing Riverbend Campground as your venue are Rustic, Country, Vintage and Nature.  Two fascinating themes that were held a Riverbend Campground last summer were a Viking Wedding and a Biker Wedding.

The photos of this wedding were taken by Mike Yukon of YukonArt Photography and were used with permission. You can contact Mike through his website here.

Cameron Campos Officiated at the biker wedding and had this to say: “I had the opportunity last summer to officiate a wedding for a young couple at Riverbend Campground. I live in Okotoks, and spend a lot of my summer at the river, but had never been to the campground before. My regular spot on the river, upstream from the campground, is a little haven of nature, and Riverbend Campground was no different. I ran through the ceremony with the couple the night before; they were busy with final preparations and decoration, and they had plenty of help from their family, many of whom were staying at the campground. The wedding venue at the campground has a rustic charm, and when they pulled a custom Harley in as a backdrop for the ceremony, it couldn’t have fit more perfectly.

The lake shore is steps from the Hall. Photo Credit Mike Yukon

Cameron continues: “The wedding went great and the pictures turned out excellent as well! The highlight of the wedding was after the kiss, when the couple walked out, they got on his bike, and as they rode off together, the rest of the guests revved their bike engines! It was a unique wedding at a venue that couldn’t have been more suited for the couple! I look forward to being involved in many more weddings at Riverbend!” You can contact Cameron through his website here.

Planning Your Own

When planning a wedding at a campground, there are a few things that can become your guiding principles. First off, remember you are close to nature. Taking things outdoors means great lighting and natural backdrops for the photographers. If the weather doesn’t cooperate on your special day, Riverbend has you covered. The large hall, with its rustic look and warm natural wood tones is an excellent backdrop if you need to move things indoors. When you choose to have a campground wedding, you might be shying away from glitz, but your are embracing rustic. Rustic doesn’t need to mean shabby, rustic is warm, comfortable and inviting.

With themes like Rustic, Country and Vintage there are opportunities to create decor items yourself. Camping coffee pots make rustic vases for table centers, or choose some colorful camping lanterns. Mix the coarse and soft textures of burlap and lace by combining them for table runners. Search out some barnboard and use it for signage and/or decor. Hay bales practically scream country and rustic. They are readily available at places like the Okotoks Country Living store at the corner of Highway 7 and Southridge Drive. Use them for display or as seating but remember, they can only be used outdoors unless you get ones that are treated with fire retardant. These have a tag on them indicating they are safe for use indoors and they are not cheap.

Creativity for a Unique Wedding

If you want to have some fun and spark your creative juices, search Pinterest for the term “mason jar wedding.” It’s amazing to see what these simple glass jars are being used for. Another great idea, we’ve seen a wooden pallet, propped up with the slats used to itemize the wedding itinerary, simple and effective. There are endless ways to be creative and thrifty at the same time.

As part of your planning, check out our Family Reunion page here for some resources that might be helpful, such as catering companies in the area. And remember, he farther in advance you plan the better. We don’t have much space left for this summer, but 2019 could be your year.

The Growing Popularity of Family Reunions

People have an interest in where they came from and family histories have been central to the human condition since, well, forever. In these modern times, interest in the study of ancestry and genealogy is growing. In our world with millions of strangers it’s comforting to find family and have filial connections. As more and more historical records are made available online, searching for one’s family history becomes easier. There are also tools to assist like family tree makers. The two major online players in this pursuit are Ancestry and MyHeritage. These sites grow because they have users that are actively adding content and and with a growing archive of family information more people join. The larger, Ancestry.com, is said by Wikipedia to have 16-billion historical records by June 2014. As a measure of popularity, first understand that there are over one billion active websites now online. As of this writing, Alexa ranks Ancestry.com as the 930th most popular. Ancestry and MyHeritage have very different business models. Ancestry offers users a free trial period and then charges monthly fees depending on services used. MyHeritage works with a freemium structure, with free access for a basic package and then charge users for more robust features.

The availability of these online sites, historical records and search tools make the research easier, and more people are learning about their family history. This growing interest is connecting people online as they build discover their family tree. This expanding circle of family results in a desire to meet. A family reunion is an opportunity to meet some of these newly discovered family members, exchange information, stories, historical records and photos.

Picking a Date & Location – A reunion can take a lot of planning and the further in advance you start your planning the better off you will be. The larger the event the more time you will need to plan and the larger the volunteer team you will need. Some suggest a year to plan and prepare, but a small reunion can be pulled together more quickly if you are organized, have a strong plan and strong team. Choose two or three possible dates and or locations and survey your family to see which of the options is the most popular. If you have specific venues, checking on their availability might determine your options. When checking with family on possible dates it is also a good idea to ask them what they would like to see in terms of activities and ask for volunteers.

Assembling your team – No one person can plan and execute a reunion on their own. You will need a team. Start with a chair or team lead. As you assemble your team, assign tasks based on team member ability and interest. General tasks are finances, lodging, food, activities/entertainment and communication.

If you have been thinking about your family reunion, contact us for pricing and availability. Also check out this page on our website with tips and links to suppliers in our area to get you started.