SARAH + JAKE | Autumn Lake Winfield Scott State Park Wedding
If I could ago back to relive a wedding day over and over, it would be this one. For many reasons, but first off…it happened in the lovely Lake Winfield Scott State Park in North Georgia.
State and National Park Weddings have a special place in my heart because of the emphasis placed on nature + intimacy – which is quite the combination that allows for jaw dropping images. AND I have also found that weddings like this go by slower and allow my couples to be more “in the moment.”
Typically these weddings are smaller. Which in a wedding smaller means:
More time. Less Stress. A pace that gives peace.
Benefits to having a park wedding:
1. Money SAVOR!
Most couples can spend $5,000-$10,000 on a wedding venue ALONE. (which is a lot of money) However with park weddings, your “venue” can cost AT MOST to be around $300-$500 for a permit/ reservation fee. Most couples spend an average of $150. EVEN BETTER, if you pick a park like Lake Winfield Scott (or many others in North Georgia) there is NO fee at all to have your wedding. You just need to have a reservation ahead of time.
2. All in one: a vacation & wedding!
Most of my park wedding couples make an entire weekend out of it. So instead of just a day, couples will travel with family and friends for a weekend getaway. One thing I hear most from my traditional wedding couples?
“The day went by SO far, I hardly remember much from it. That’s why we are so grateful for your pictures!”
When everything is jam packed into one day, things can feel rushed and too much at times. But having a weekend to relax and be around your closest people…that’s how you make a memory to remember.
3. For the adventurous!
Most parks offer very unique landscapes that can give you that “elopement” feel while still being able to easily have 20-50 people show up. So it’s a great “meet in the middle” if you are torn between an elopement and more traditional wedding. State parks are especially wonderful in this regard because most have large pavilions for ceremonies & receptions. (these are great for rain backups too!)
They also make for a great additional for Day After Sessions. If the pressure to have a venue wedding is too great, consider going back out some time after your wedding (a day, month, WHENEVER) to place of your dreams.
4. Bring in more of “YOU!”
One of my favorite things from Sarah & Jake’s wedding here in this blog is a CANOE that brought, not only get fun pictures in, but to “exit” their wedding in at the end of the right. Watching them row away from all us on the shore, hearing their laughter across the lake, and me, just beaming at the intentional, “just them” time they got in that moment, is what weddings are all about to me.
If you are on board for the idea of having a state park wedding, but are unsure where to start, here are some starting points:
- Pick a park! Ocean, mountains, forest…there are so many options out there! Here are a few of my favorites in Georgia:
- Check for a permit/reservation fee. Like I mentioned above this is a HUGE money savoy and it helps support the parks which is a huge win. (AND some parks don’t even require a fee to have weddings) The best place to start is reaching out to the specific Park Service…they know best!
- Think about guest count, and if this will work with the park. The smaller your guest count, the more option you have. But some parks, like Winfield Scott here, is more spread out and makes it easier for more guests to be there.
- Consider if you will be hiking at all, and how far. Some Parks like Cloudland Canyon have options for different views. There is the main overlook right next to the parking lot. (easier for guests) BUT you can also hike about 15-20 minutes in to go a beautiful waterfall.
- Make sure your park has a Plan B rain cover. With a park wedding, the weather is always a gamble. So having some sort of covered Pavillion or cabin as a backup is a great way to assure things can run smoothly.
- HIRE THE BEST VENDORS EVER! …or at least us vendors who have park experience. It helps and we are SO excited to adventure and make this day so special for you and Your Love.
Ready to start talking about your day?
P.S. one of the favorite things about this wedding was:
A few weeks before the wedding I hopped on a phone call with Sarah + Jake to talk logistics about the day. Sarah begrudgingly told me they were getting ready in the state park bathroom, and she was doubtful it would even be good enough for pictures. I reassured her part of my job is to make spaces look better than they were..and I knew we were going to rock it.
Fast forward to the day off…and me encountering one of the best State Park bathrooms I have ever seen in my life..for the guys AND girls! Sarah and spruced up the ladies bathroom a lot, but even still. The white walls and huge windows. It actually was one of the best spots I’ve yet to encounter for getting ready, haha!
And now for the beauty of this day: