Adventure Wedding Ideas

Adventure weddings are the perfect fit for couples who enjoy the outdoors and want a more unconventional special day. Thinking about an adventure wedding? Here are some key details to keep in mind.

By Maggie Mahoney

Adventure Wedding
Photo by Shutterstock

The First Look ✨

  • An adventure wedding centers on the setting and adventure activities, like hiking, that occur throughout the day.
  • When choosing your adventure wedding location, create a pros and cons list. Have a contingency plan and carefully monitor the weather.
  • Ensure you have the appropriate waivers and permits and have covered all the important logistics.

Your wedding day is a special time to celebrate your love with your SO, family, and friends. Wedding ceremonies often reflect a couple’s hopes and dreams. For some pairs, this may mean a beautiful church, mosque, or temple ceremony followed by a reception in an elegant ballroom. However, for couples who are more adventurous at heart, traditional weddings may fall flat. If you and your SO enjoy hiking, exploring, spending time in nature, and living life unconventionally, an adventure wedding may be for you. Read on to discover everything you need to consider while preparing for this unique type of wedding.

Adventure Wedding Ideas Photo Credit // Shutterstock

What Is an Adventure Wedding?

An adventure wedding, per its name, is a wedding ceremony that heavily focuses on adventure. It combines the couple’s passions for travel, exploring, and taking beautiful photos in breathtaking surroundings into one epic day.

Instead of being a huge production, the wedding ceremony and subsequent reception are more minimal and intimate. Guest lists may be slightly shorter. The special day is centered instead around the setting, adventure-packed activities, and the enjoyment of the married couple and their guests. Think of an elopement in Yosemite National Park, a helicopter ride ceremony over a beautiful lake, or a yurt sleepover at a campsite. Whatever the specifics of your adventure wedding, it’s guaranteed to be unique.

Mull Over the Pros and Cons of Your Location

Similar to a destination wedding, an adventure wedding takes place in a picturesque setting. However, adventure weddings differ in that they infuse intrepid elements into the wedding itself. For example, both an adventure wedding and a destination wedding could take place on a beach. The adventure wedding, however, might incorporate activities like snorkeling, paddle-boarding, boating, or surfing.

Whether you select a remote grotto, an icy landscape, a desert scene, a mountaintop, or a scenic island, the choice is completely up to you and your partner’s personal preferences. Once you have chosen your venue, you can move forward with selecting appropriate activities that coincide with the environment. For instance, hiking pairs well with a park or forest wedding venue.

Any destination you choose will have its pros and cons, so do weigh them accordingly. Factors like noise levels, travel logistics, and climate are crucial to consider before you make your decision.

Plan for Weather Fluctuations

Weather forecasts and the general climate of your adventure wedding destination will inform everything about your wedding from the attire to the planned activities. You and your SO can’t necessarily predict the exact weather conditions on your special day, but you can get a good general idea by looking at your location’s weather patterns and seasonal shifts. Once you have determined the likely temperature range and precipitation levels on your wedding day, be sure to inform your guests, so they may dress and prepare themselves accordingly.

Since weather can be unforgiving in an outdoor setting, having a contingency plan in place is a must. In case of rain, storms, or other severe weather, reserving an indoor space to take shelter could be a good option. If your venue is more remote, however, renting a large tent, a campsite area, or setting aside a stash of umbrellas and towels may be more feasible. You may also want to supply (or have guests bring) other outdoor essentials such as sunscreen and bug spray.

Certain activities, like water sports or even hiking, may become dangerous depending on weather conditions, so prepare a backup plan in case the weather doesn’t cooperate. Depending on the difficulty level of your activities, you may also want to have alternatives or modifications for guests that have reduced mobility or medical concerns.

Make Sure Wedding Attire Is Comfortable and Practical

Your wedding dress code should coincide with the climate at your adventure wedding location. Temperature ranges will vary, but generally breathable fabrics that are easy to move in, comfortable shoes, and plenty of layers (in case of temperature changes) are all must-haves. If you and your SO plan on doing the scheduled activities in your ceremony clothes, make sure your attire is comfortable, looser on the body, and functional. You may want to wear hiking boots, sneakers, or even go barefoot, depending on your venue. If you do decide to wear heels, investing in plastic heel protectors and bringing a change of shoes is essential, too.

When planning your attire for your special day, keep in mind that the outdoor and active nature of the adventure wedding can lend itself to exposure to dirt, water, and sweat that may damage your clothing. Wear something that you won’t mind getting dirty or rumpled and that can be easily cleaned. Encourage your guests to do the same.

A black tie dress code may not be a practical choice unless you are ok with potential damage to your clothes. That said, you can make wearing white work if you change clothes for the activities portion of the day or if you select a dress that is tea-length, train-less, or more casual and easily washable.

Ensure Venue Accessibility and Obtain the Right Permits and Waivers

Adventure weddings present a variety of access challenges. When you’re planning for the big day, ask yourself the below questions to ensure you’re prepared:

  • How many people are attending your wedding? Can your wedding location sustainability accommodate your guest list without suffering environmentally?
  • How are you and your guests planning on getting to your wedding location? Plane? Train? Car? Bus?
  • Will people travel together or meet at the location?
  • Does your location require walking on foot to access it? Will this pose an issue to any of your guests? If so, how will you ensure easy access for everyone?
  • Does your wedding location require a special marriage permit? National parks, for example, often require special permits before getting legally married on their grounds.
  • Does the location require that your photographer have a special permit?
  • What waivers are needed, if any, to book and participate in your wedding activities?
  • Do you need to hire a local guide to help you and your guests navigate your wedding venue?

Make Food Options Portable

Portability is a necessity with an on-the-go adventure wedding. To eliminate the need for formal dining setups and dishes, you may want to consider catering portable meal boxes for yourself and your guests.

Catered meal boxes can range from more simplistic finger foods like sandwiches to gourmet entrees. Many simple catering boxes come with sides like chips and plastic water bottles. Keeping the wedding food easy to eat and dispose of will save you time and money and make shifting locations hassle-free.

Ensure Stable Access to Electricity and Light

As the sun goes down, power and light sources become more of a necessity. If you’re hoping to incorporate twinkly lights or music into your wedding day, renting a generator could be an ideal option. Otherwise, bringing along supplies like flashlights, lanterns, battery-powered tea lights, and plenty of portable chargers for electronics can work well.

If you’re worried about electronics dying throughout the day, you can also implement phone-free time where you store all phones away to conserve battery. The focus of the day, after all, should be on the time you spend together taking in nature.

Keep Decor Minimal

With outdoor adventure weddings, less is truly more. Since your special day will likely be filled with activities and moving from location to location for scenic shots, decor should be minimal or even non-existent. Think wildflower bouquets you can easily carry with you and battery-powered candles, rather than grand wedding arches and light displays. You don’t want to feel tethered down to one location because of an elaborate setup that’s difficult to transport. Trust us: The backdrop of your stunning location of choice is more than enough decoration.

Final Considerations

Adventure weddings can be a wonderful way to celebrate your love without the stress of traditional wedding planning. To ensure your unique wedding day goes smoothly, remember to prioritize practicality, think ahead, and have a backup plan. If you focus your special day on your loved ones, your beautiful surroundings, and making memories, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience.

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