Saying “I Do” in the Mountains

Day 5 of DA Weddings’ March Guest Blog Campaign is continuing with a great tutorial on mountain weddings! Come and learn all about Glenna Tooman’s niche in the wedding industry and if you’re tweeting use this hashtag: #daweddingsmgbc.

If you enjoy hiking, camping, fishing, or other outdoor activities, getting married in the mountains may be perfect for you. However, planning a mountain wedding isn’t for everyone. The logistics can be enormous and the cost is often double that of a city wedding. Everything will need to be transported to the wedding site, from tables, chairs, and linens to tents, flowers and music; the delivery charges can be huge. Yet if the mountains are you first love, everything will be worth it!


Selecting the Location

If you decide a mountain wedding is right for you, finding the right location is the first priority. You might choose a mountain meadow, a guest ranch, a clearing beside a lake or a mountain top.  If the wedding will be quite casual, you might use existing picnic tables and fire pits. If the wedding will be more formal, delivery trucks will need access. Check for the availability of electricity, water, and restrooms. You may need to rent portable generators and porta-potties and haul water for drinking, cooking and clean-up.

Don’t forget about weather issues. In the mountains, daily showers are common, as is wind, from gentle breezes to strong gusts. At higher elevations, when the sun sets, it gets cold quickly, even in July. Therefore, unless you plan a daytime wedding, you may need to rent a tent.

Once you find that perfect setting, a permit from the U.S. Forest Service or your State Parks and Recreation Department may be required. You can find out by checking at the city hall in the nearest community.


Every wedding needs food, but what you serve is your choice. Family and friends might bring their grills or cook over a campfire or you might hire a caterer. Many mountain restaurants offer catering service. Most small town bakers don’t offer wedding cake, though they may offer alternative desserts, such as pie or cobbler.

Trash will need to be removed, so bring several large trash cans and bags. If your caterer is not handling trash removal, you will need to do it. You may need to transport the trash to the nearest town for disposal.


If your location has no electricity, hiring a band may be your best choice.

Be Prepared

Cellular phone service is not available in many mountain areas. Therefore, someone needs to know how to contact you, either on a land line or by driving to your location. You might leave your contact information with a ranger station, a store or a lodge near the wedding site so delivery trucks and guests who are lost can find you.

Make lists of everything you will need and check them carefully. You won’t be able to run to a well-stocked grocery store or rental center to pick up forgotten items. (And don’t forget insect repellent.)

Don’t be surprised if, attracted by the of smell food, four-footed guests come calling. To prevent a possible disaster, left-over food and dirty dishes should be securely locked in bear-proof containers and placed in a covered truck or out away from your tent. Then, if a critter visits, the tent or tables won’t be destroyed.

Guest Considerations

To accommodate guest needs, contact hotels, motels, cabins, lodges and RV parks in the area and block rooms. Then, send save-the-date cards six months or more before the wedding and include the accommodation information. That way, guests can choose lodging that fits their needs and budgets.

Encourage guests to dress appropriately. Formal dresses and heels are generally not appropriate. However, you may not want guests arriving in hiking shorts, so recommend acceptable attire.

Be Creative

Take advantage of the location. If the ceremony occurs near a river or lake, the bride might arrive by canoe. If wagons are available, consider transporting guests to the ceremony by horse-drawn wagon. Ask your photographer to be on the lookout for special moments, such as deer wandering by or the moose in the river. Above all, go with the flow. Be flexible and don’t stress over the details. Instead, be prepared to make changes as circumstances occur and relax and enjoy the wonders of nature.

Planning a mountain wedding presents unique challenges and requires careful planning and attention to detail. However, you will create a memorable event unlike any other and make memories to last a lifetime.

About the Author


Glenna Tooman owns Memory Makers Event Planning, LLC, located in Boise, Idaho. She has been planning weddings, receptions and other events in southwestern Idaho and eastern Oregon for over 30 years. Glenna is a graduate of Boise State University with a degree in Entrepreneurial Management. She is a recognized authority in wedding and event etiquette and has been interviewed on television, radio and in newspapers and magazines in several countries. 

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