Kino de Lirio

Lovely Wedding, Nonpareil

A bride transformed a $1,500 campground rental into her dream wedding venue. Here’s how she did it on a tight budget.

A bride transformed a ,500 campground rental into her dream wedding venue. Here’s how she did it on a tight budget.
Bride and groom at the alter at campsite wedding

Both the ceremony and reception were held at a campground.Michael Freas Photography

  • A bride posted a popular TikTok about the wedding weekend she threw at a forest campground.

  • The camp only cost $1,500 to rent, so the couple put more money toward things like photos and food.

  • The wedding featured lots of DIY decor, like a beer wall and light-up table greenery.

Elizabethany and her husband, Justin, transformed a basic camp into a dream venue for their wedding weekend.

The bride and groom posing in front of light up initials at campground wedding

The couple hosted the camp wedding of their dreams at a national park in Virginia.Michael Freas Photography

They rented a campground in Virginia’s Prince William Forest, located about 40 minutes south of Washington DC, for the entire weekend and created a fun, one-of-a-kind destination wedding.

Elizabethany, whose TikTok about her unique wedding has over 126,000 likes at the time of writing, spoke to Insider about the planning process, how she decided on a camp venue, and the personalized touches that transformed the outdoor space.

The bride quickly came around to the idea of having her wedding at the camp after assessing her budget.

The campground with people on it without decorations

Renting the camp only cost $1,500.Michael Freas Photography

Elizabethany told Insider that she had previously worked at the camp and rented it out for her 30th birthday and other events. Although she was initially unsure about the location as a wedding venue, she quickly came around to the idea.

“I just kind of glanced at one or two venues and saw the price, and I was like, ‘Oh, we gotta do it at a camp.'”

She knew she wanted a large wedding and was willing to make sacrifices so she could have all of her friends and family in attendance. Renting the camp cost only $1,500, allowing the couple to put their money toward other things, such as catering and professional photography.

The campground came with several different spaces, like a craft cabin that the bride got ready in.

Bride getting ready in the craft cabin at campground wedding

Elizabethany got ready for her wedding in the craft cabin.Michael Freas Photography

The rental fee gave the couple and their guests access to the entire camp for a whole weekend, including 200 beds in multiple sleeping cabins, a pavilion, a dining hall, and a craft cabin where the bride got ready.

Two different kinds of invitations were sent out to guests — and everyone got a map of the campgrounds.

Bride, groom, and wedding party posing for a photo on a bridge over a creek

Each invitation included a map of the campground.Michael Freas Photography

When inviting guests, the couple created two separate invitations — a “nicer” one for certain family members and a more casual invite for friends. They also included info about the venue.

“In our invitations, I had a camp map so people knew how far they’re gonna have to walk … to get to the ceremony. And, that way, they could find the bathrooms and stuff,” Elizabethany said.

Guests were also given flashlights as wedding favors so they could navigate the campground more easily at night.

Although having the wedding at a camp allowed for a lot of creative freedom, there were certain rules the couple had to follow.

The bride playing disc hockey in her white dress at campground wedding

Overall, the campground was a versatile venue.Michael Freas Photography

Elizabethany told Insider there was a “give and take in terms of rules.” For example, she couldn’t hang things in the trees.

But the couple also had a lot of freedom to personalize things to their liking. She said she “loved being able to customize everything.”

In terms of vendors, the bride told Insider that that camp allowed them to “bring anybody that was willing to get there.”

For decorating the camp, the bride put a lot of trust in her planner, family, and friends, who all helped execute her vision with DIY decor.

DIY decorations with cards at the campground wedding

This wedding featured plenty of DIY decor.Michael Freas Photography

Elizabethany said the decor “ended up being pretty simple” since she didn’t want a lot of flowers or elaborate tablescapes.

She hung café lights around the pavilion and used simple, DIY decor to furnish the camp’s picnic tables.

“We got DIY Italian Ruscus greenery and just put strips of that down the tables with twinkle lights within,” she explained. “Then we had my table numbers, which were just frames with photos.”

The ceremony setup was simple and showed off the venue’s natural features.

A view of the ceremony space outside, with chairs and a wooden arch

The couple kept things simple with chairs and a decorated arch.Michael Freas Photography

For the ceremony, the couple brought in chairs and hung flowers on a hexagon-shaped arch that a friend made, relying on the natural beauty of the park’s trees to set the scene.

But the bride’s favorite featured DIY project was the homemade beer wall her father built.

light up beer wall at campground wedding reception

The feature contained two kegs of local craft beer.Michael Freas Photography

One thing Elizabethany knew she wanted for her event was a beer wall, an idea she got from a wedding she’d been to years prior with a truck that allowed guests to pour their own brews.

“I felt it made you feel so at home as a guest to just be able to go up, not wait in line, and just get your own beer,” she told Insider.

So Elizabethany’s dad helped build, decorate, and personalize a beer wall, complete with spots for two kegs of local craft beer.

Additionally, the wedding had a bartender for mixed drinks and “a locker setup where people could just pick whatever bottle of wine they wanted and then take it back to their table.”

The couple’s friends and family played a role in making their big day so special.

The bride and guests playing a drinking game at campground wedding

The bride, groom, and wedding party playing a drinking game.Michael Freas Photography

In addition to the unique setting, there were many personal touches that helped create the wedding of the couple’s dreams, like having the drinking game flip cup as their entrance.

Elizabethany said having their friends and family contribute to the wedding helped make it extra personalized.

“We also had our friends, every once in a while they’d turn on the Chicago Bulls theme song and just come up with ridiculous intros for each other,” she said. “We actually used that for our intro for the flip cup.”

Other personal and unique elements helped bring the wedding to life.

Young ring bearer throwing a baseball toward the altar at campground wedding

The ring bearer threw a baseball with the wedding bands inside.Michael Freas Photography

These touches include the groom’s mom baking the wedding cake, one of Elizabethany’s best friends singing the couple’s first-dance song, a workout-themed dance between the bride and her father, and the ring bearers throwing baseballs down the aisle with the bands inside.

Most of the guests slept in the cabins throughout the weekend.

Decorated pavilion full of people for campground wedding reception

Around 100 guests stayed overnight in the campground bunks.Michael Freas Photography

The camp had sleeping cabins with 200 beds, and Elizabethany estimated that around 100 guests stayed overnight in the bunks throughout the weekend. They were provided brand-new linens, which were later donated to a homeless shelter.

For guests, such as grandparents, who didn’t want to stay in the cabins, the couple provided a shuttle to and from a nearby hotel.

Elizabethany and Justin ended up bunking with friends on their wedding night.

dance between bride and groom at campground wedding

They chose to stay with their friends rather than in their private cabin.Michael Freas Photography

The reception was not the end of the event. The bride said there “were four after-parties,” as guests keep moving the festivities from one bunk to another.

Although the couple had their own private cabin for the wedding night, Elizabethany said she and her husband ultimately ended up bunking with their friends.

She said she remembered thinking, “When are we ever gonna be able to have a sleepover with all of our friends in the same cabin again like this?”

She said she slept in her wedding dress in a “tiny twin bunk” with her husband.

She said the hardest part of having her wedding at a camp was convincing everyone that it would turn out great.

The bride and bridesmaids walking through a trail in the forest during campground wedding

She said she had to trust herself and her vision.Michael Freas Photography

Going against tradition can be hard when planning a wedding, and Elizabethany told Insider that a lot of her process involved “convincing everybody,” including herself at times, that it was going to be OK.

The bride said she and her husband were a little “nervous about not impressing” certain guests, but that trusting herself, her vision, and the people who were supportive of the idea was key.

“I had to have people that were willing to have faith with me,” Elizabethany said.

The bride’s best advice for planning a wedding is to focus on what really matters instead of what’s trending.

Bride and groom kissing at campground wedding

Personalize your wedding to your own interests.Michael Freas Photography

Although keeping up with the latest in wedding trends may be tempting, Elizabethany and Justin found that doing what was right for them ended up far more perfect.

To throw a personalized event, Elizabethany said, “Look back at your history, think about how you met and what you guys like to do, and work all of those things into your wedding.”

Elizabethany hosts “3 Weddings and a Podcast,” where she speaks more about her own planning process and gives advice to future newlyweds.

Read the original article on Insider