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How to plan a memorable wedding at Camp Wandawega

Things to consider for a wedding at Camp Wandawega from a seasoned planner (and camper)

For couples seeking an unconventional and nostalgia-infused wedding experience, hosting a wedding at Camp Wandawega is an ideal choice. Nestled among the scenic beauty of Wisconsin's woodlands, Camp Wandawega offers a pure and whimsical setting that will leave guests in awe.

Planning a wedding at this unspoiled location requires careful thought and consideration, but with a bit of creativity and preparation, your wedding weekend will be absolutely epic. As a seasoned Wandawega planner (and camper), I'll guide you through the steps to plan a magical wedding at camp!

But first, a brief backstory: Camp Wandawega (formally known as Wandawega Inn, Wandawega Hotel, and Wandawega Lake Resort) has got itself a fancy spot on the National Register of Historic Places and also the Wisconsin Register of Historic Places. Back in the 1920s, these camp digs were actually born as a chill resort slash, believe it or not, a brothel and speakeasy hotspot.

Current owners, and big shots in the Chicago ad world, Tereasa & David have been on a restoration mission since 2004 for this awesome place. Oh, and get this: David used to be a camper there when he was a kid. His family was all about it from the '60s to the '80s, and the passion lives on in him. This sweet spot sits on a massive 25 acres and packs a 3-story hotel, lodge, cute cottages, A-frames, scout tents and a bunch of cool historic stuff.

Happy campers continue this way, where I’ll share wedding planning nuggets of wisdom for this fascinating space.

Embrace the charm

Camp Wandawega's charm lies in its rustic and vintage aesthetics. Embrace the natural beauty of the surroundings and design your wedding to complement camp's atmosphere. Utilize wooden accents, green canvas, worn leather and soft lights to create a warm and inviting ambiance. The key is to let camp’s inherent charm shine through while adding your personal touch.

Choose the perfect spots

Camp Wandawega offers various unique spaces to host different segments of your wedding. From lakeside cocktail hours to first looks in the love nest and smoldering campfires under the starry sky, there are plenty of options to suit your preferences. Consider your guest count and the time of year when choosing vignettes. It's essential to have a backup plan in case of inclement weather, too.

Bunk assignments

As Camp Wandawega is a campsite after all, most of your guests will likely stay on-site. Ensure that you clearly communicate accommodation details for everyone, be it in the charming cabins, canvas tents, or glamping options. Inform your guests about the camping nature of the event in advance, and provide them with necessary details such as what to pack, any amenities provided, and nearby lodging options for those who prefer a different experience.

Guest experience

One of the highlights of a Camp Wandawega wedding is the opportunity to offer your guests unique and memorable experiences. Plan outdoor activities like canoeing on the lake, axe throwing, white sheet movie projections, or fun-filled field games on the lawn. Engage your guests and foster a sense of togetherness with activities that encourage them to bond and create lasting memories.

Feasts for the senses

Work with an equally badass and unique catering team to design a menu that reflects your taste and highlights local flavors. Consider incorporating camp-inspired dishes, like a gourmet twist on classic s'mores, a rustic barbecue feast, or a farm-to-table dining experience using locally sourced produce. Embrace the casual atmosphere and serve food family-style to encourage a sense of community among your guests.

Photography and capturing memories

A wedding at Camp Wandawega is nothing short of picturesque, so hiring an experienced photographer is crucial to capture the authenticity of your weekend celebration. Look for a photographer who has worked at camp before, or specializes in outdoor and natural settings to ensure your wedding photos are stellar!

Planning a wedding at Camp Wandawega is a significant journey that allows you to break away from traditional norms and celebrate your love in an unparalleled setting.

Remember that the essence of a Camp Wandawega wedding lies in its intimate and personal touches, so allow your creativity to flow and create a weekend that you and your guests will cherish forever.

photography by Wanderlynn Photography

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