A Rainy Camp Wedding: Alison + Gareth

I’m so excited to share this lovely wedding today. It was photographed by the talented husband and wife team of Heather + Jon of One Love Photo. Not only are the photos stunning, this wedding was held a summer camp! I so love this idea. This wedding is also for any bride who thinks if it rains on her wedding day it is the worst thing – I think these photos (and probably this wedding also) will convince you that you WANT rain. There is just something almost magical about some of these photos!

Alison is a children’s book buyer and also blogs for the Publishers Weekly blog ShelfTalker. Gareth is an illustrator and graphic novelist. Alison was so sweet to provide lots of details about her day, so I will let her share her wedding with you guys. Thanks Alison!


We rented a children’s camp called Camp Wing in Duxbury, Massachusetts, and, yes, our guests really did get the full camp experience! Many of them slept overnight on bunk beds in the camp’s cabins or in the Duxbury Stockade, a really cool replica of a Revolutionary era fort. I kept saying that our friends’ kids were going to LOVE the Stockade, but I think it was our 30-something friends who were the most excited about it!

Our original plan had been to have canoe races, archery, and other such activities on Saturday morning before the wedding ceremony, but when we woke up on our wedding day to find it pouring rain, we had to postpone that fun until Sunday (a beautiful, sunny day!). Instead, guests spent the morning making lanyards and other camp-type crafts, playing board games, and just getting to know one another. Frankly, this worked out to be a much better plan than our original. By the time the ceremony and reception started, all of our guests had bonded. There was no need to break the ice!

bride and groom with umbrellas

bride and groom with umbrellas

I bought my Tahari dress off the rack at Lord and Taylor, before I was really even actively looking for one. Originally I held onto it as my “back-up dress,” thinking I’d return it if or when I found something I liked better. But as those 3 months of the “return window” ticked by I found myself liking it more and more, and making little effort to find other dresses. In the end, this dress just felt right. It suited my personality, it suited our venue, it suited the groom, and it more than suited our budget!

My J. Crew headband was a gift from my Matron of Honor. I had planned to wear another but when she showed up with this one as a “In case you didn’t find anything else!” offering, the consensus was that it went best with my dress. So, I made a costume change at the eleventh hour.

rainy camp wedding

rainy camp wedding

rainy camp wedding

There are so many, but if I have to choose just one, it would be walking up the aisle with my parents, toward Gareth, and seeing the smiling faces of our shared friends and family beaming at us from all directions. That experience was enough to fulfill many years worth of wishes for me. I don’t know when I’ve felt more connected to a whole community of people than I felt during our rainy day ceremony in that room. Here were all these people we dearly love and who love us in return, coming together just to celebrate the love Gareth and I have found for one another. I felt overwhelmed by the generosity of that gesture, and filled, beyond capacity, with joy. I think much of those emotions come through in Heather’s and Jon’s photos!

rainy camp wedding

rainy camp wedding

My best friend was my Matron of Honor, her husband acted as our officiant, and the older of her two sons acted as our Ring Bearer. It was wonderful to have so many members of their family playing such key roles on our wedding day!

bride and groom with umbrellas

camp wedding butterflies

paper hearts on clothes line

Guests found their table assignments on heart-shaped cards strung from clotheslines on the front porch. For centerpieces I grew wheat grass in inexpensive metal trays that my best friend and I spray painted to match our periwinkle tablecloths. To bring a little more height, color, and whimsy to the tables, I added butterflies cut from colorful paper and punched from dictionary pages. They “floated” over the grass on floral wires around the pillar candles. I added these same butterflies to our mothers’ corsages, which worked beautifully.

I wanted to do something creative for place cards but was stymied until a $2 purchase at a library book sale saved the day. Using a single volume edition of The Columbia Encyclopedia published in 1943, I made personalized place mats that added a bit of elegance to the tables and provided guests with some entertaining reading material. Each guest’s page included a different wing-related word (e.g. a type of bird or butterfly), and these pages were a huge hit! So many people told us they took turns reading sections of their place mats aloud to the rest of the table. I loved hearing that!

white paper papel hanging wedding

My aunt Marilyn and cousin Ashley purchased the papel picado for us in Oaxaca, Mexico, whe
re Ashley is currently living, and the camp strung all of our lovely little globe lights for us. The combination of all those hanging elements truly transformed the dining room!

It what turned out to be the best arrangement ever, Gareth and I made a pact with my illustrator pal Anna Alter and her (now) husband Bruno that each couple would agree to act as the other’s “day of coordinators.” This meant that on Anna and Bruno’s July wedding day we helped set and decorate all of the tables, coordinate the timing of dessert, etc. and we were the ones people went to with any questions that came up. On our wedding day, Anna and Bruno did the same for us. It was wonderful to have someone else be in charge and not have to worry at all about having things come together! And it was equally fun to feel so useful on someone else’s big day. (Fun detail – Anna + Bruno’s wedding was featured on Snippet & Ink!)


Early on in the planning process Gareth and I reflected on the fact that, if there was one defining “dessert” of our relationship, it was most definitely ice cream. Wouldn’t it be fun, we thought, to have an ice cream truck deliver dessert to us at our reception? Nona’s Homemade made that dream come true. Tom Donohue drove the truck right up to the dining room entrance, music playing, then scooped huge servings of delicious ice cream to every one of our guests. I don’t think anyone missed having cake!

bride and groom at ice cream truck

camp wedding

camp wedding

rainy camp wedding

bride and groom in the rain

By the time we were in the position of planning our own wedding, we had attended a LOT of others and talked with still more couples about what things they had and hadn’t enjoyed about their weddings. The number one complaint we heard was that people felt they just didn’t have enough time to actually visit with their guests during the whirlwind experience of their wedding day. We didn’t want to come away feeling that way, so our goal was to try and find a way to make it affordable for our guests to spend more time with us than just one day. Renting a summer camp turned out to be one way of doing that, and it allowed us to have the fun of paddling canoes and slinging arrows (literally) with our friends, which is fun you just can’t have at your average wedding!

There are so many, but if I have to choose just one, it would be walking up the aisle with my parents, toward Gareth, and seeing the smiling faces of our shared friends and family beaming at us from all directions. That experience was enough to fulfill many years worth of wishes for me. I don’t know when I’ve felt more connected to a whole community of people than I felt during our rainy day ceremony in that room. Here were all these people we dearly love and who love us in return, coming together just to celebrate the love Gareth and I have found for one another. I felt overwhelmed by the generosity of that gesture, and filled, beyond capacity, with joy. I think much of those emotions come through in Heather’s and Jon’s photos!

Wasn’t this just a beautiful wedding?! I still can’t get over the photos. One Love Photo did such a great job capturing their day. Alison is sharing more details of her day on her blog here and be sure to see even more photos on One Love Photo’s Blog. Congrats again to Alison + Gareth!

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  1. This is beautiful! I always love papel picado, but the white with the grass is just perfect. And good idea, bringing those umbrellas!

  2. Simply lovely!!! the personalized place mats are a super cute idea :) and cheap!

  3. I am just head over heels for this wedding. This has got to be one of the coolest venues I've ever seen! I would love to hear more about how all the guests liked staying at the camp. I'm having my wedding at a very rustic old resort next fall, and am a little tiny bit concerned about the comfort of our elderly guests. There are challenges, like convenitent bathrooms, to consider when you have your wedding at cool old places like that. I wonder how this bride and groom handled those types of things? BEAUTIFUL wedding, thanks for sharing!!!

  4. Renting a summer camp is totally brilliant. Great idea!

  5. To answer your question, Tonia, we basically told our guests that they should prioritize their needs when deciding where they wanted to stay. If access to a convenient indoor bathroom was their first priority, they should indicate that they wanted a room on the second floor of the Stockade. If privacy was their first priority, they should tell us they wanted their own cabin. If privacy AND an indoor bathroom just steps from their door were both equally important to them, they'd probably want to stay at a nearby hotel or B&B;, but they'd be welcome to join us for all of the meals and other activities happening at the camp. Giving people all of these options allowed them to make the choice that best suited them, I think. AND it let them know that we had most definitely given some thought to their needs and were understanding of the fact that staying at a camp might not be everyone's cup of tea!

  6. This wedding is a much different aesthetic than my wedding will be…but it conveys perfectly the 'vibe' that I hope to achieve- warm, welcoming, happy, fun and full of love. kudos!

  7. Love everything about this Wedding, from the rain to the summer camp and ice cream truck on top. More couples need to personalize their special day like this couple did. Its all about them and their loved ones.

  8. That's some great advice about not getting stressed out. I think that can be applied to just about anything… Like this darn Birthday party I'm planning for my fiancé, which isn't nearly as big a wedding, but surprisingly stressful.

  9. Loooooooooove the ceiling decor and all of the twinkle lights, they really add a romantic glow to the space. And the escort cards and great, simple to do but really beautiful!

  10. I actually kind of adore the rain at this wedding, brings together the entire package in a special, unique way. Lovely!

  11. Thank you Jen! I love your layout and image choices-it looks beautiful! I also love their artful details and rustic camp simplicity. The rain really did make things more intimate and dreamy. It was a wonderful happy day!

  12. By the way, we looked at a lot of different lighting options for the dining hall, and those little globe lights turned out to be a great inexpensive solution. We got 500 feet of them from NoveltyLights.com for just over $300 incl. shipping (they're G50 bulbs + C9 strings). The only tricky thing is assembly — someone has to do the job of screwing all the bulbs into the strings, and if you drop a bulb, it explodes with a loud pop and sprinkles tiny bits of glass all over the floor. So be ready for assembly and glass cleanup if you go this route!

  13. Oh – this wedding makes me yearn for the campsite wedding that we wanted but that turned into an impossibility. I am more than a little bit in love with this.

  14. This wedding has my heart! The venue is amazing + the details are so, so sweet! And I couldn't agree more; the rain only makes this wedding even better! xoxo

  15. Wonderful umbrella photos. Talking about taking what might be perceived as a negative and turning it around 180 degrees! Bravo!

  16. Really really fun, creative and inspiring imagery! Thanks for sharing! :)
    I especially love the rain… always!

  17. Thank you so much for featuring our wedding today, Jen! I'm so glad to hear so many people say that our wedding looks like it was warm and happy and full of love, because it absolutely was. And I wholeheartedly agree with everyone who has said that the rain added something to our wedding day. It *definitely* made it more memorable, and our ceremony was much cozier and more intimate than it would have been outside on a sunny day. We got lucky with the fact that the skies cleared up for about 20 minutes, RIGHT when we needed to take the bulk of our photos, but even if that hadn't happened, we'd have had a beyond fantastic day.

    All credit for the beauty you see here, though, really goes to our amazing photographers!! Heather and Jon could NOT have done a more tremendous job photographing our wedding, OR been more delightful people to spend the day with! To give you some idea of how thoughtful and forward-thinking they are: they showed up on the (rainy) day of our wedding with the umbrellas (one Renoir, one Monet) that you see us holding in most of the photos. They'd gone out and bought them for us that morning and they left them with us at the end of the day. While they're not really visible in any of the photos here, the pond at the camp was bordered by TONS of waterlilies, which meant the Monet umbrella matched it perfectly.

    Heather and Jon are tremendously good at what they do, because they notice little details like that, and their playful approach to their photography means that everything they shoot looks warm and fun and playful too. That talent is why we sought them out in the first place, and we are beyond glad that we did!

  18. This is so great!! I just had a wedding inquiry today about a camp-ground wedding and this makes me even more excited. Well done!!!!!

  19. This is one of the prettiest and romantic wedding I have ever seen. I like the setting and I find it so simple yet so beautiful!

  20. Absolutely beautiful! You couldn't ask for a more quaint event!

  21. Aww, this is so sweet! I just love the idea of renting out a camp. it feel so intimate and fun at the same time. Beautiful!


  22. I did not bother to read the texts but just looking at the pictures settled my opinion that this wedding is indeed adorable.

    There's really something cute about umbrellas. Plus, the ice cream bus was a plus. We never had those here in Philippines!

  23. I never would have thought that photos outside in the rain would be so beautiful. What a beautiful wedding, and gorgeous photography!

  24. gorgeous real wedding, very special! loving the details.

  25. Oh, how wonderful! Gorgeous, plus they are so in love…

  26. @Alison Thanks so much for sharing the details of your big day and answering our questions! What a beautiful, beautiful wedding. Congratulations!!!

  27. This was exactly what I set out for when planning our wedding. I wanted something where we could all stay together, but I just couldn't find it. There were close ones but then it would be missing something else very important to us. I love this and still hope to create this type of vibe

  28. Such a beautiful wedding! I have been searching for a way to incorporate grass in a circular manor, enter trays! Thanks for sharing!

  29. Wow. What a gorgeous, joyful wedding! Congrats Alison and Gareth. I followed the link here from PW and am just blown away. ;)

  30. So wonderful, magical, and heart touching. I, too, followed the link from PW. The photos are amazing, and I'm so happy for you both.

  31. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



  32. The cardboard cut-out hearts are adorable plus the table setting looks lovely with the grass-inpsired centerpieces.This is a simple yet beautiful wedding!

  33. Even with the rain this wedding is so beautiful!


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