For many in the Chippewa Valley, Beaver Creek Reserve (BCR) was one of their first camp or nature center experiences. And while camps, school field trips, and general visitors do make up the majority of our guests, many people are surprised that we rent our camp for weddings. So what do you need to know or think about before planning a wedding at BCR or an outdoor wedding in general?
The Dates. This is as much about the availability of a venue as it is about the other factors that go with the season. In summer, it can be very hot. Make sure to have provisions for shade, extra water, sunscreen, and even bug spray. If you need it for a day at the beach, your guests will need it at your wedding. At Beaver Creek Reserve, much of the summer is unavailable for weddings because we cater to many camps that book more than a year or two in advance. However, spring, fall, and winter are usually open. Pro tip: Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends are not usually booked in advance at Beaver Creek Reserve.
The Back-Up Plan. Speaking from personal experience, no matter how much planning, pleading, or praying is involved, there is always a chance it could rain (or snow or some other weather-related disaster). If you are planning to have any part of your wedding outside, it is essential to have a back-up plan for rain. A tent is a great option. Extra umbrellas are also a good idea. You’ll need to get from your “ready” room to the location, car, etc. You can also have the ceremony at the reception location. At Beaver Creek Reserve, the Main Lodge could easily accommodate the ceremony and the reception if needed.
Logistics, Logistics, Logistics. There are a few key considerations if you want an outdoor wedding
Travel and lodging options. If the ceremony and reception are in different locations, how will guests get from one location to the other? It is a good idea to provide plenty of directions and maps. Make sure you allow plenty of time for guests to travel, park, and walk to the ceremony location and again to go from the ceremony to the reception (if in different locations). Besides the beauty and the reasonable price tag, this is Beaver Creek Reserve’s strongest feature for any wedding. With the Main Lodge, open ceremony location, and onsite cabins, everything is all in one area.
The food. If the actual reception will be outdoors, you’ll need a tent. It will keep the bugs at bay, as well as provide shelter. Not all caterers will be able to service a fully outdoor wedding. They need to keep food hot and/or cold, need access to water and power, etc. Food trucks can be a good option in this instance. Again, Beaver Creek has you covered. The Main Lodge has a fully stocked, professional kitchen. You can bring in any caterer, or even have friends and family help prepare a meal. Pro tip: Consider renting plates and glassware. Our facilities are used mostly by camps, and our plates, glasses, and silverware are very basic.
Sure there are a lot of things to consider, and possible challenges to pulling off the perfect outdoor wedding. But in the end, the memories and the photos are worth it!
by Brianne Markin, Marketing & Development Coordinator, Beaver Creek Reserve, and Outdoor Ceremony Survivor
Photography by Kate Bentley Photography