Saturday, August 7, 2010

Say I Do, and Have a S’more or Two

Warning: This beach wedding idea is not for the faint of heart, but it’ll knock the socks off your guests. I’m talking about throwing a camp wedding at Leo Carrillo State Park in Malibu. If you and your fiancé love camping and connecting with nature, then this one’s for you!

I didn’t start camping until I was 25 years old, and my first time was at Leo Carrillo. I never understood the appeal of foregoing a comfortable bed and private bathroom, but Leo Carrillo turned this city girl onto camping. The campsite is well-kept, the restrooms have flushing toilets, there are clean showers, the beach is just across the highway and the stars up above are unlike any night sky in L.A. So if there’s ever a place for a beach wedding at camp, Leo Carrillo is it.

Camp weddings work best for a guestlist of 50 or fewer people. Otherwise, additional permits and fees may be required. If you’re planning a wedding for 50 or fewer guests, here are the best steps to take:

A. Reserve a group campsite via Reserve America for Leo Carrillo State Park.

For reservations in the next year, campsites cannot be reserved until November of the current year. But be sure to reserve that spot quickly, this site is a popular one for camping enthusiasts! A group camp site allows up to 50 guests overnight and parking for up to 16 cars. Check-in time is 2pm and check-out time is 12pm. Reservations go for $165 per night.

B. The ceremony can be held at the campsite among the trees or on the beach.

If you choose to hold the ceremony on the sand, it will be subject to the L.A. County Public Beach ordinances. A permit is not required for beach weddings with less than 50 people and if no set-up is required. Amplified music is prohibited. Instead, just imagine your guests decked out on beach towels and blankets for a true California casual look.

C. Hold the reception at the group campsite.

By having the reception at the group campsite, you can bring in your own caterer, cook your own food (group sites come with fire rings, BBQ grills and picnic tables) or hire a gourmet food truck like Kogi BBQ. Amplified music (before 10pm) and alcohol consumption are allowed if you apply for a permit. Permits can be requested beginning in January of the reservation year and cost $175 for 0-50 people.

D. Obtain liability insurance and comply with other CA State Park regulations.

For more information about camp weddings at Leo Carrillo State Park, contact the special events division at

Camping and public beach nuptials don’t fit in with your style or wedding size? There’s more, but you’ll have to wait ‘til next week!

Image via Once Wed

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