National Park Weddings
I’m not sure if I say this often enough, but I love to travel!
There is something so very special about planning weddings for couples choosing to celebrate in incredible places.
Here in Colorado, we are so lucky to have Rocky Mountain National Park where you can say your vows with epic mountain views (and possibly even some wildlife) in the background.
With a quick day of driving, we also have access to Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park. Both are full of history and offer unique and beautiful landscapes.
My blog post today is all about planning a National Park Wedding! I’m sharing a few National Park Wedding venues to consider, as well as some ideas about what to expect and look for when choosing a location for your ceremony. The U.S. offers 61 National Parks, some more famous than others.
Things to consider when planning a wedding in a National Park
National Parks are formed by the government to protect natural landscapes and features that might otherwise no longer exist.
For this reason, National Parks, in general, tend to have some fairly strict rules about wedding ceremonies, locations, and guest count.
While you may find that ceremony site fees are much lower than your average wedding venue, you may also find that the rules are restrictive. Rice, confetti, sparklers, and candles will not be allowed, and chairs may even be against the rules if you choose a remote ceremony space.
You can search www.NPS.gov for information on specific ceremony sites within the National Parks, as well as how to apply for permits. Some permits may require that you book your ceremony a year in advance, while others require that you secure it just a few weeks prior to the ceremony.
This part of the process can be a touch overwhelming, so make sure you have a great wedding coordinator on your side!
Rocky Mountain National Park has recently restricted ceremony sites to a small handful that require a permit. You can no longer choose any quiet spot and say your vows, but these rules are in place for a reason!
With any outdoor wedding, but especially one planned within a National Park, it’s important to stay on the trail. As gorgeous as some ceremony locations might be, stepping onto the tundra and other delicate landscapes can irreversibly damage the environment for years to come.
The good news is that RMNP offers several beautiful wedding sites that are accessible to guests and still offer incredible views.
For Rocky Mountain National Park, you’ll want to plan your reception in nearby Estes Park. Several beautiful venues are available for you to choose from. As your wedding planner, I can also help coordinate a shuttle so that you and your guests can travel without stress to and from your ceremony.
Don’t Forget the Tourists!
National Parks have become hotspots for tourism, and for good reason! They are beautiful and something that millions of people wish to view and celebrate each year.
On the flip side, this also means that your guests may have a hard time planning their trip to your wedding. Hotels and campgrounds within the National Parks may fully book out up to a year in advance. During the summer season, flights become more expensive. During the winter season, many parts of the National Park may be closed.
If you are planning a National Park Wedding, make sure to alert guests about travel plans, and encourage them to make their bookings as soon as possible.
It is also important to note that guests will still be responsible for paying their park entrance fees (especially if you don’t book a shuttle). Consider adding this to your overall wedding budget so that guests are not hit with the surprise expense.
National Park Wedding Venues
If you have settled on the idea of holding your wedding in a National Park, here are a few location ideas!
Grand Teton National Park
Say your vows with expansive views of the Teton Mountain Range, and share your reception celebration in the famous Mural Room at Jackson Lake Lodge. The best part about this National Park Wedding Venue is that everything is on-site. Guests can stay with you at the lodge which includes dining, cottages, and access to horseback riding, boating, and rafting.
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone offers ceremony sites, including one looking onto Old Faithful, the famous geyser. Guests may also love Mammoth, where natural travertine terraces may become an especially unique backdrop.
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite is a true gem in our National Parks system, and perfect for laid-back, outdoors-oriented couples. Choose to go rustic or upscale here, either way, the planning is perfect and guests will LOVE their vacation!
Rocky Mountain National Park
Choose from one of their gorgeous ceremony sites, and then travel with guests to the Tivoli Lodge or Wild Basin Lodge for the reception.
I would love to help you plan your unique National Park Wedding. I’m based in Colorado and Rocky Mountain National Park is practically in my backyard! You can click below to get in touch.