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The Rise of the Adventure Wedding

'Til death do us part, I will adventure with you.

By: Sarah Horn + Save to a List

It seems that more and more adventurous spirits are choosing a less traditional path to saying "I do" than simply walking down the aisle. Couples are tying the knot on top of a mountain summit after multiple days of biking and climbing or in an alpine meadow after a strenuous hike in. Outdoor sports test the limits and strength of a relationship -- your significant other has to be able to handle you scaring the crap out of yourself on a run-out pitch, getting hangry on the trail or getting lost in the back country -- without running the other way. For outdoorsy couples, what is a better way to celebrate a life-long commitment with that person than doing something that bonded you in the first place? 

If you're taking the big marriage leap soon, consider an adventure wedding for these five reasons. 

1. Time 

It takes most people around  a year to plan a traditional wedding. So, for about a year, all of adventure planning energy will go into wedding planning energy. It's likely of course that moms, family members and friends will pitch in, but they're back up. This is the couple's big day and planning slacking isn't allowed. I'm exaggerating a bit here, but while wedding planning is happening, adventures will be on the back burner. And for the guys reading this, do you really think your girl is going to be cool with you taking a week trip while she has to get the catering figured out? Probably not. 

2. Be different 

You'll win the "where'd you get married?" question every time. Oh, you got married on a farm outside of "X Big City" with a wedding party you're not even friends with anymore. Sounds neat...I got married on the top of Half Dome at sunset and then had a BBQ party at Camp 4. 

3. It's still a celebration 

You don't have to give up on celebrating with your friends and family. Have a party after you get back or better yet invite your friends to come along. The ones that show up and gear up will be the important ones and the experience will bond you as friends as well. Pay a videographer and photographer to come along -- there're A LOT of adventure photographers out there who would jump at the chance -- so that you have something to show at the after party. 

4. Plan together 

Wedding planning is inherently stressful, so I've heard from ALL of my married friends, even among the most balanced and mature couples. And it seems that wedding planning is comprised of some joint planning and decisions, but most of the planning gets split up into tasks between one another or falls on the shoulder of one person more than the other. Planning an adventure wedding is all about the fun and the experience -- it's by nature supposed to be about the big picture and not about the details. Most decisions would center on the essential elements -- the route, the officiant, the gear, etc. -- and not the color of napkins or themed cocktail names. These are choices the couple can make together, so it's a wedding that defines both of them equally.

5. Put the savings to use 

Weddings are big business these days and venue owners know how to squeeze every penny out of couples. Save the money you would have spent on a more traditional wedding and spend it on something else. Considering most weddings cost more than $10,000 on the very low end, that's a enough money to take a dream trip, start a house fund or start your marriage with a philanthropic gift. In essence, is there something you'd rather spend your or your family's gifted wedding money on instead of a...wedding?

While, I'm not planning a wedding now, I'm totally enamored with the rise of the adventure wedding and when it comes time for my wedding, bring on the harnesses and backpacks! For those currently planning their adventure wedding, here's some inspiration:

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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