Five Tips for your National Park Wedding

joshua tree wedding photography

Our National Parks are some of the most beautiful places in the country. It is no wonder that adventurous love birds travel there to get married. What a better way to memorialize a special day by doing it in a special place. However, planning a national park wedding can be tricky. Wedding planning can be meticulous especially when you hold one in a natural environment. Suddenly, it becomes unpredictable having to account for weather and protecting the environment. Stone Adventures has worked closely with the permit office and has been operating our business in an environmentally conscious way for years. Let us help you get your dream National Park wedding on track!

  1. Permits, Permits, Permits

If you are considering a wedding, elopement or photoshoot in Joshua Tree National Park, you will need to account for the permit costs. Compared to other venue fees, park permits won’t put that big of a dent in your wedding budget. However, the absence of these permits can run up to thousands of dollars in fines.  Not to mention, being cited by law enforcement rangers during a wedding service or engagement photoshoot are not the memories anyone wants on their special day.  Needless to say, permits are some of the most important parts of your JTNP wedding plan. As a rock-climbing company, we must operate with the special permits office regularly to run our trips or events in Joshua Tree National Park.  We are familiar with the limitations of the permits and know where in the Park fantastic weddings, elopements and engagements can be held. So, if you wish to wed in a desert oasis then you are in luck! If not, don’t fret most of the parks list all the special use permit information needed to hold a wedding in your desired Park. These can include photography permits, catering permits, wedding ceremonies, and reserving an exact location. Want to get a head start on your wedding plans? Below I have linked the special use permit information for Joshua Tree National Park.  For your desired National Park, search their nps website for the Special Use Permits and you can find the same information.

  1. Local Vendors

There are plenty of wedding vendors or planners out there who may know the ins and outs of weddings. Although their expertise is helpful, they might not have that much experience with doing weddings in National Parks. There are specific rules that one must adhere to for the safety of the wildlife and plant life in the park to avoid environmental damage or disruptions to these protected spaces. For example, in Joshua Tree National Park, wedding ceremonies are not allowed to have rice, confetti, or dried flowers. It is important to take note of these things from the park’s website and to ask the permit office if you are unsure. These are important questions to ask any vendor you are considering signing up with.

  1. Don’t forget to explore!

Destination weddings are taking the wedding industry by storm. However, the stress of wedding planning can make people forget to add a bit of adventure into their nuptials. National Parks provide a great background to those wedding photos, but they are also perfect for newlywed exploring. In Yellowstone, you and your partner can enjoy a nature hot spring together (Some are more accessible than others. The ones closest to the road have the most people. If you can endure a 14-mile hike, you will be rewarded with a bit more privacy!). In the Smoky Mountains, you can go for an early morning bike ride around Cades Cove during hours reserved for cyclists. Enjoy 11 miles of beautiful Smoky Mountain Country views with your partner, maybe even stop for a breakfast picnic! Joshua Tree is a certified Dark Sky park. This means that you can star gaze to your heart’s delight as you countdown your way to your wedding. Don’t forget your wedding party while you are at it!  Group activities like white water rafting, hiking or rock climbing could be perfect for all your close ones! In Joshua Tree, Stone Adventures can accommodate your wedding party of any size for a Bachelor or Bachelorette climbing trip! Make your wedding a day that no one will forget.

  1. Treat the environment with respect

It can be exciting to be in such a wonderful place. However, we need to remember that we are merely visitors and we must leave the place as we found it. The National parks are protected wildlife areas with sensitive ecosystems, and they need to remain safe. Like we mentioned before, the parks are keen to list the dos and don’ts for a wedding at that specific park. It is important to adhere to that completely. There are a lot of important things that may be left unsaid when it comes to group gatherings in the park. Some will get carried away in the celebration and forget where they are. Leave no Trace has a name that says it all. Leave No Trace is an organization that provides education to help people look out for our environment. They have a system of 7 principles that Stone Adventures proudly follows when guiding in Joshua Tree. We highly suggest that you and your wedding party reviews those to make sure that your wedding isn’t impacting the environment we all love and care for. Knowledge is power!

  1. Have Fun!

One of the main ideas behind destination weddings is that it is supposed to limit the amount of stress that goes into planning. Traveling to a place far from where you live will help slim down that guest list which means there are less people to worry about on YOUR special day. Not to mention, very little is needed to decorate your wedding when nature is practically doing it for you. Forget about renting all those little things for that big perfectly styled magazine wedding. Go simple and let the National Park “wow” your guests with their stunning scenery and sweeping, beautiful views. Remember that this is about celebrating your life as a couple, starting a new journey, and getting to travel to a new place!


If you are considering Joshua Tree National Park or the Mojave National Preserve as your wedding destination, check our wedding packages and let us guide you to the perfect desert wedding.  Stone Adventures offers a set packages of setting up the permits, advising on the possibilities, one guided day (in person or virtually) to pick out the perfect location for the event, local photographers, local caterers for weddings, elopements and engagements.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *