All Posts in national park wedding

July 27, 2020 - 8 comments

How to have a National Park Wedding

Planning a National Park Wedding - What you need to know

The mountains are calling you and you decided to have a National Park Wedding! Congrats and GREAT choice. I love National Park Weddings not only because they are always in a picturesque location but also because you're donating back to the park itself. Today I'm sharing everything you need to know about hosting an event or wedding in a National Park in the US.

What events can you host in a National Park?

The types of events that can take place in US National Parks vary greatly on the Park itself. For example, we often host wedding ceremonies in Joshua Tree National Park and they allow us to have an arch, cake and even champagne! But that's not the case for every park. Some parks will allow you to host sporting events, family reunions and even a fair! Each type of event will require its own type of permit as well. You can find out more about the events that are allowed on the National Park Service website.

What decor am I allowed to bring to a National Park?

Since every Park has its own rules, it's important to read your permit application thoroughly. That being said, if you're having a National Park wedding, we know you're an adventurous eco-friendly couple already. We always encourage our couples to nix anything plastic, confetti (which usually is forbidden) or wasteful. We believe in leaving the Parks in even better shape than when we found them. You can count on us to pick up pieces of trash left by other visitors if we see it!

How much does it cost to have a National Park wedding?

I'm glad you asked! Like I mentioned earlier, every Park will have it's own requirements as well as fee structure. In order to give you some actual numbers, let's take a look at 3 of our favorite National Parks to host weddings at.

Joshua Tree National Park, CA

Photo by Meg Brook Photography 

This Park is near and dear to our hearts and we're lucky enough to plan weddings there every year. The great thing about this Park is that you're allowed to bring in a wedding arch, florals, a cake and champagne! Alcohol isn't permitted everywhere so we thought this was pretty special.

You are required to have an event permit as well as a photography permit for your wedding. Each permit is about $120. On top of the permit fees, you'll be required to pay an entry fee of $30 per car but this ticket is valid for 7 days. As Wedding Planners who do a lot of events in National Parks, we carry an Annual Park Pass so that we can come and go as we please in most National Parks. When possible, we'll gladly take guests in our cars to help save on costs but sometimes we have decor in the back seat so it's not always possible! If Joshua Tree sounds like you're type of wedding venue, we do offer an Elopement Package for this location!

Bonus: your furry friends are allowed at your ceremony as long as they stay on the marked paths!

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN

Photos by Lauren Mihae. See the full blog post from this wedding here

Our next favorite wedding location is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Now, this one is amazing because there is no park entrance fee! That being said, you are required to get an event permit and the application fee is $50. They have over 40 wedding spots within the Park which is amazing! Not just that but the Great Smoky Mountains National Park also has a couple rustic cabins such as the Appalachian Club House that can be used as a reception space with rental fees as low as $250/day! We'll plan a wedding in the Smokies anytime!

Acadia National Park, ME

Acadia National Park intimate wedding with Katelyn Mallett

Photo by Katelyn Mallett

This little gem is not as popular but equally as beautiful as the last two National Parks. If you're wanting to get married on the East Coast, you MUST check out Acadia National Park in Maine. A permit is required for most events and has a $50 application fee as well. However, if you're simply having a ceremony with 10 guests or less (officiant included), no permit is required! Sadly you're not allowed any chairs, arches or decor for these smaller weddings. Out of the 12 main event locations, it seems that the maximum number of guests would be 50. Still, I would definitely consider this incredible location for any adventurous wedding! Did you know we have a team based in Maine? Check out our Maine Elopement Collective that can help you plan this gorgeous small wedding!

So what will it be? A celebration in the desert, vows in the mountains or saying your I Do's overlooking the ocean?

How to plan a National Park Wedding

May 19, 2017 - 3 comments

Arwa + Zohaile’s Intimate Woodsy Ojai Wedding

Sometimes a destination wedding doesn't actually have to be very far from home. It also doesn't mean it has to be on a beach resort in Mexico. Arwa and Zohaile live in San Diego but wanted to have their guests come together and enjoy the beautiful Ojai area and the views of the Los Padres National Forest. Lucky for them, Zohaile's family has a Ranch right in the heart of Ojai that fit the description perfectly.

Ceremony Los Padres National Forest

Arwa and Zohaile come from two incredible cultures rich in traditions. They chose to incorporate pieces of them during the ceremony but also add new ones, like a tree planting, to truly make it their own.

bohemian dress dreamers and lovers

Arwa chose to get ready at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa (one of the most beautiful resorts ever) just a few miles down the road from the wedding venue. Rich with greenery, trees and natural light, it's a photographer's dream place for those candid getting ready photos. The bride and groom also did their First Look there to be able to have a few moments together before joining their friends and family at the Ranch.

First look at Ojai Valley Inn and Spa

Bohemian Bride First Look

While all of this gorgeousness was happening at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, the 'Cause We Can Events team and other vendors were busy setting up and making Arwa and Zohaile's wedding vision come alive. The overall wedding design was a little bit of rustic charm with some bohemian vibes and a whole bunch of natural beauty. We wanted to create a super cozy space for friends and family to enjoy.

Triangle bohemian wedding arch

Triangle bohemian wedding arch

Ceremony in the woods with mexican blankets

sofreh ceremony in the woods

mexican blankets for ceremony

s'mores as wedding favor

woodsy wedding signage

airplant centerpieces for wedding tables

woodsy wedding centerpieces with s'mores and airplants

As guests arrived at the private venue, they were encouraged to sign a Jenga piece as the guestbook. Such a fun idea! Our bartending team from The Events Boutique welcomed everyone with handcrafted lavender mojitos that were incredible! The mint was fresh from the Ranch's garden and picked only minutes before the event started. Yum!

Jenga pieces alternative to guestbook

rustic garden wedding signage

wedding ceremony in the woods

The ceremony itself was a beautiful blend of cultural traditions and the union of two beautiful souls.

ring bearers with navy bowties and overalls

ceremony in the woods groom

bohemian bride with crimson and white bouquet

traditional persian ceremony

bohemian ceremony in the woods with triangle arch

persian ceremony in the woods with sofreh

bohemian kiss in the woods wedding ceremony

bohemian ceremony in the woods ojai

Congrats to the new Mr. and Mrs! I love how excited our ring bearer is in the front row. Now, it's time to celebrate, take it away DJ Jack!

ojai bohemian wedding reception

bohemian outdoor wedding reception in ojai

The food from The Lime Truck was SO good! Guests enjoyed something like 5 courses of fresh Mexican fusion dishes. For dessert, some traditional Persian cookies and tea along with a modern donut wall were served! Guests actually dined on top of the pool which we had covered by Persiano Event Rentals.

best wedding toasts bohemian

ring bearer attire navy and white

best wedding toasts bohemian

The Lime Truck tacos catering

wedding donut wall and dessert sign

Gimme some sugar dessert sign

We had such a wonderful time being Arwa and Zohaile's wedding coordinators and being part of such a cool, adventurous couple's wedding day. We even got to stay in yurt while we were in Ojai so that was an added bonus! Thank you to Laura Goldenberger for always capturing the most perfect moments.

bohemian wedding in the woods ojai

romantic bohemian wedding in the woods ojai

wedding in nature by creek

kiss in nature bohemian wedding couple

Planning by 'Cause We Can Events // Photos by Laura Goldenberger // Music by DJ Jack Farmer // Dress by Dreamers and Lovers // Rentals by Persiano Event Rentals and Blue Fish Event Rentals // Venue Private Ranch // Catering by The Lime Truck // Bartending by The Events Boutique