Monday, March 8, 2010

DEAR ESB: Can I ask my friends to camp?

hey ESB:

what are your thoughts on camping? a good friend of mine is having a camping wedding, and i'm less than psyched about it. i hate sounding so crankypants about it, but i'm flying across the country to attend, and then flying out early on sunday morning. my soon to be husband is telling me to get over it. i think my friend and i have different ideas about what it means to be a host, and quite frankly, i want a private bathroom and a roof over my head. 



Yeah, no. I have no problem with camping. Maybe one day H and I will even manage a real camping trip (instead of hightailing it to the nearest coffee shop the first morning because we're too lazy to build a fucking fire, and then checking into the Madonna Inn because hello, it's the Madonna Inn).

But expecting your guests to fly across the country WITH GEAR, pitch tents, and primp for your wedding without running water, electricity or proper mirrors? That is just cruel. I mean, IS THE BRIDE GETTING READY IN A TENT?

As Anonymous put it: "Camping weddings sound fun... until you actually experience them. I'm sure there are exceptions, but the ones I've been too have turned into messes. Bathrooms become a huge issue and people get all crankypants." [Note the preponderance of the word crankypants.] Maybe the photos from weddings like this have given some of us* an overly romantic notion of what a "camping wedding" is really like?

Anyhoo, if there are cheapass/intrepid people who wanna camp, awesome. But it's inconsiderate to throw a wedding where camping is the only option.

(Woodsman Menagerie by Oh My Cavalier via Citrus Hearts)

*Me included. I am not immune to the hype.


  1. Ok that 'camping' wedding surely isn't a true camping wedding. I reckon it was just themed 'camping'. No one looks that good/clean/happy/awake when camping.

  2. Oh yeah, that is definitely asking way too much!

  3. Are you in any position to suggest to your friend that she pick a place that has the option of cabins or the like and tent camping and maybe at least a motel within a reasonable distance? It is always great to have lots of lodging options (that was one of the best things about my Vegas wedding).

  4. It probably depends on the crowd... I went to two camping weddings last summer. Other than trying to squeeze into a cocktail dress while lying prone on my sleeping bag, they were awesome! People wore flipflops, and, for one, down jackets over their summer dresses. Bathrooms were sufficient and electrified (allowing for hairdryers). There were hotel options, too.

  5. I'd be more than a*crankypants* about it too. (What a fantastic word!). If your healthy and young and spritely and look OK without trying too hard it might be OK (and maybe you should try to embrace the experience) but if your not so much any of the above, it could be a real nightmare.

  6. hahaha, I went to a camping wedding at it was the most fun wedding I've ever been to. We camped for a couple nights before the actual wedding and everyone pitched in to help decorate and get everything set up. We all bonded and it created a great community for our beloved friends' wedding. I will say though, that I got a bit worried the day before feeling like I might need a blowdryer and such. But they had showers, I used my car mirror, and I may not have been super prissed up, but it wasn't that kind of wedding. Some people did stay in hotels, and nobody was offended by that. So, do what feels most comfortable for you...or get a hotel to get ready the day of (that option I was highly considering, but my boyfriend wasn't having it).

  7. The only way I'd have a camping-only wedding would be if I was only inviting my rock climbing friends. We're all down to primp in tents and share outhouses, but I don't expect that from everybody!

  8. My mom sent me pictures from a friend's canoe/camping wedding...not at all like the cute experience you linked to! Overcast and gloomy next to a river, and the bride wore waterproof clothing and an orange lifejacket. They looked happy, but definitely not my kind of thing!

  9. i don't think it is fair to expect your guests to camp, but i do think that if the option to stay in a hotel is also available, a camping wedding sounds like the most fun. requiring things of people, is never very much fun and always causes problems. isn't that what all this indie wedding stuff is about? doing your own thing (and allowing others to do theirs).

  10. I definitely agree with the camping + options train of thought... that's what I'm doing. Also, picking a campsite that has good facilities would definitely be a must--some are pretty nice, but some are just disgusting.
    My wedding's going to be at a summer camp/conference center, so afterward, we're having a bonfire and whoever wants can camp out, but older family members are staying in the big lodge, and everyone else has the option of going down the road and renting a cabin, room, or tepee at the state park. The camping is very much optional, but we have a lot of friends that are into that kind of thing. Also, since it is a summer camp, they have a lot of good facilities for us to use. It's going to be up on Petit Jean in AR, so the main concerns are the snakes and the cliff, but we're setting up the camping away from where the snakes usually come out at night, and far back from the cliff (with lights + bunting running along the edge to make sure people know where it is).

  11. oh yikes yeah. agreed esb. i am not a camper - not in the very least - and if i were traveling great distances to a wedding and that was my only option... "crankypants" is putting it lightly...

  12. i mean, even in that "camping wedding" it looks as though there are RVs. camping is fine, if it is your choice. but only option? i just wouldn't go, to be honest. i know that sounds harsh, but i hate sleeping in tents.

  13. dear maura,

    (unless your dress is going to be in all tech fabrics and you give them bug spray and tiny rolls of tp as favors.)

  14. oh god. i love you ESB. i also love how this has turned into ASK ESB, 'cause you are so damn witty.
    love it.

    thanks for all the feedback, and glad to know that i am justified in being a crankypants. the husband to be is very much into camping, so he has the gear. but of course, we'll be paying $30 a bag to check it. grrrr.

    some more details:
    at a vineyard with 2 toilets. i suggested that securing more facilities was worth whatever it would cost. there MAY be transport back to the nearest city, about 45-1hour away. there is a local hotel, but it's pretty pricey.
    they said they would offer up camping supplies (is that the right word? accouterments?) for folks traveling, but i'm not risking it.

    in the end, i'm doing it, 'cause i love this girl. but i'm going to be cranky about it.

  15. The only option is kind of ridiculous.

    Is this a destination wedding and you have to camp? It sounds to me like your friend is trying to keep the guest list down and keep it cozy.

  16. that sucks. if i wasn't close to her, i wouldn't go.

    but if i was close enough to to her to actually tough it out, i'd also tough it out with a (possibly fake) smile on my face.

    she's probably not gonna want you there if you make the day suck by bitching the whole time.

  17. I kind of can't believe what a bunch of pussies everyone is being about the idea of camping! God forbid you have to spend one night being slightly uncomfortable to support a good friend on one of the most important days of her life. If a close friend is getting married, suck it up and stop whining. It's her wedding, she gets to do what SHE wants on this one day! Be supportive start faking a positive attitude. Fake it til you make it, right?

    And maybe if you stop whining long enough and enjoy the romantic day that I'm sure it will be, you might actually enjoy cozy-ing up to your honey in the tent.


  18. How come I agree with ESB *and* Anonymous Amanda?

    It's a bit shit to HAVE to camp but it's a bit shit not to just suck it up too.

  19. @maura if you decide to go don't be whiny and sucky about it. go if you are genuinely going to be open to the idea. don't ruin her day with your bad attitude.

    that said...what about the senior citizens!! I'd be fine with camping but my 78 year old grandmother might have some different thoughts!!

  20. I'm trying to provide camping (but I need to find someplace with facilities! I know that no showers will == grumpy guests!) for those who can't afford to stay anywhere else, but am also giving a list of local b&bs for those who have no interest in camping!

    (Ah, I see that the only nearby hotel is spendy. That does suck.)

    Well, pack accordingly! Baby wipes for lack of showers, spray mist (like Rose Tulsi face spray or an Evian Brumisateur) - dresses that wont wrinkle, etc.

  21. @ Peonies, I agree with both of them too! I love camping, but know SO many people who do not. And I never even heard of a camping wedding! It seems inconsiderate to require that people camp, but on the other hand, I doubt they're requiring that their guests camp AND arrive at the wedding looking as though they got dressed in a hotel room. You know? Seems the whole event would be pretty laid-back and outdoorsy. Probably lots of barefootedness. Go with the flow, Maura! Good luck :)


  22. My friends are having a camping wedding. It will take me 10hours to drive there, camp for 3 days in plus 40C temps and then 10hours to drive back again. My partner has no annual leave left - it costs $70 for an unpowered site per night and then there is the cost of fuel. If it was camping down the road, cool I'd be in. But traveling a 20hour round journey for a bbq wedding while staying in a tent in the heat is not my thing.

    I declined the invite.

  23. Oh I would love a camping wedding! (I do love camping!!) But I know that all my friends and family would never forgive me for it... my best friend and maid of honour would be utterly horrified by the idea. If I can talk someone else in it, I will though ;)