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Campsite Wedding Inspiration and Location

Originally, I’d imagined our wedding would be super small – only the two of us and a few extremely close family members. However, once the news was announced on Facebook last spring…we were both totally overwhelmed with all the happy congratulations we received. Particularly the message we got from a couple of really amazing friends from New Zealand who said they couldn’t wait to come back to Canada for the wedding! It got us thinking that it would be pretty nice to throw a ridiculously awesome party for all our friends and family.

This meant we had to find a suitable venue to hold all these lovely people…while not breaking the bank. We’re pretty set on having a thoughtful, personal, creative wedding while still maintaining control of the budget. We’re still quite young and because we traveled a lot and generally “lived the life” for much of our early 20's we're both just now getting fully established in our chosen careers. Furthermore, it’s no secret that we reside in a pretty pricey little town. At this point Adam & I are currently renting the home we live in.

As Adam and I began to discuss our priorities, we came to the conclusion that we’d much rather eventually put a ton of cash towards some property, rather than this one day of our lives. There will certainly be a few areas of the event that we will happily splurge on…hello poofy cocktail party dress! Food! Drinks! Photography! However overall, we opted to be pretty thrifty which has forced us to pull out our thinking caps in order to come up with some unique non-budget-looking concepts…all along I have been positive that with a bit of creativity and elbow grease this is possible. As we approach our last few months of planning and preparations things are looking good!

The Canadian Rockies are a huge international wedding destination so there are of course endless amazing venues catering to weddings of all sizes here in the Bow Valley. Right off the bat, I want to make it clear that I make a really great [& fun!] living by being involved in the wedding industry as a photographer. I have nothing but respect and admiration for the beautiful and lavish events put together by the couples I work with. If an affair like that suited our personalities and lifestyles, we would have absolutely found a way to make it happen. However, we're much more of the outdoorsy/quirky/DIY/rustic kind of couple. Ultimately, we’ve decided on a wedding at a campsite close to home – Lower Lake group site in the beautiful Kananaskis Valley.

It does sound a bit ghetto…I suppose it is. But, it’s totally us! And I have a vision. Meters upon meters of Christmas lights. A retro camping trailer. Vintage vases and mason jars. Local flowers. S’mores & banana boats.  Custom made dotted-tulle sweetheart neckline a-line cocktail-length poofy dress. [Umm…can you tell I have a vision for this dress? In my opinion, outfits are always important, but this one happens to be an especially important ensemble.] A keg of our preferred NBC beer. A help-your-self cocktail bar featuring a few of our favorite drinks. Campfire. Family. Friends. Recycle, Reuse. Local. West Coast seafood and regional Alberta beef BBQ. An eclectic play list from my very music-smart sister & her fiance. And a killer tarp city courtesy of Adam’s family. Hailing from the rainy West Coast of Canada, I hear the in-laws can set up one heck of a tarp.

The initial inspiration board:

{my apologies, I am unsure where all of these images came from}

I’ve always loved vintage colored glass so when we started planning the wedding, I knew that would be the one decor item I would absolutely want to feature. I already had a decent collection and gathered a bit more in anticipation of the wedding. When Adam’s mother got wind of this, she and a couple friends set off and scoured garage sales and antique stores all over Vancouver Island. The collection is now extremely impressive – it's grown exponentially since these photos were taken. We've now got 50+ unique vessels and scads and scads of mason jars.

Flowers seriously are NOT a priority to me, I'd be quite happy to see the vases empty! Many of my family members are very devoted gardeners and couldn't imagine a wedding without flowers. My Aunt Marian and Uncle Lloyd have generously offered to plant ton of extra seeds and bulbs this summer in order provide homemade arrangements to go in all of my beautiful glassware. All of a sudden I am excited about flowers! It will be such a thoughtful and meaningful […not to mention free!] part of the decor. I know that my family members will be so proud to have supplied the florals. I'm especially excited because it doesn't get much more regional and sustainable than this.

We won't be setting up formal tables and place settings. Just picnic tables scattered throughout the site. We've also encouraged guests to bring along their own lawn chairs. From my experience, I find that the dinner hour can often be quite static, I'm hoping that without a seating plan guests will be encouraged to mingle around throughout the whole evening. We've got a very interesting guest list – lots of random little clusters of very social and chatty people, but no big groups of friends, so it will be all about the meet-and-greet throughout the course of the event. The site:

A very charmingly “rustic” picnic shelter in case of horrendous weather. This is the extent of our contingency plan.

We love these peaks.

It's certainly out in the boonies.

We just recently celebrated our one year “engagiversary” so we’ve had a really hefty engagement and we’re well into the planning process…but still have lots to do! I’m excited to share what we’ve already completed and learned as well as our current projects.

is a bride blogger who got married in 2011. You can read her wedding planning posts here.