8 Reasons You Should Get Married in an Iowa State Park

We all have visions of what our special day will be like. A timeless white dress, flowing gossamer veil, fiancé glowing with pride at the sight of his breathtaking bride. Surrounded by family and friends, the most beautiful bouquets adorning the hands of the bride and maids, champagne flowing, white lights twinkling in the night, your full and virtuous love on display. But what is the backdrop for your bliss?

For husbands-and-wives-to-be, choosing the location is just as important as choosing the perfect dress; after all, this is largely what your guests will remember about your wedding day. Will they travel to witness your vows, or will you stay in your hometown and marry in the local church? An indoor ceremony appeals to many traditional couples, but if you want something more unique and tailored to your adventurous, nature-loving spirit, look no further than your state park service.

An outdoor wedding in one of our state’s parks is a gorgeous way to celebrate your love for your special someone, especially if you love the outdoors. Whether it’s forest and blue skies, calm waters or soaring cliffs, you are guaranteed an amazing backdrop for the most special moment of your life in one of the 85 protected State Parks in Iowa.

Below are the top eight reasons why marrying in an Iowa State Park or Natural Historic site is for you.

1. Scenery: When marrying in a state park, you are ensuring that the views at your wedding will be absolutely magnificent. Taking your altar to the state park of your choice guarantees that your ceremony will transpire in a peaceful, breathtaking locale, surrounded by the earth’s natural beauty, promising that your guests will always remember the sight of you and your loved one exchanging vows.

2. Photography: Don’t forget the photography! Today, photography is one of the most vital features of a wedding. After all, you want to capture this important day in every way possible, and you likewise want your wedding photos to look their best. Photos taken at a state park are always going to be breathtaking, unlike any other bride’s you’ve seen, and are sure to secure a display in the living room.

3. Uniqueness: For millennia, couples have married in churches. Your family may even prefer that you marry in a church, and while there are beautifully engineered churches all over the world, it isn’t the most unique option for your wedding day. For a truly exceptional experience and to stand out in the minds of your guests, a state park is your best bet.

4. Nature: For the adventurous and outdoorsy bride and groom, you will want to be surrounded by nature on the best day of your life. Stunning skies, greenery surrounding in the spring and summer months or golden hues in the fall, nature is truly the best embellishment out there. Make your wedding planning easier by focusing on a stunning location, where you have only to bring seating and simple décor.

5. Cost: If you’re a small town Iowan, chances are you have a scenic park nearby that you can marry in for little to no cost. Do your homework early and apply for a permit at a no cost or a low rate, reserve your shelter for the day if you choose to use one, and done!

6. Size: Do you and your fiancé want to keep your ceremony on the smaller side? A ceremony in a state park is an intrinsic way to go about arranging one. Keep in mind that if the terrain is rugged, only young and able bodies will easily make their way to you without assistance. Furthermore, you wouldn’t wish to trample all that natural wild shrubbery, so keeping the guest list small is a stress-free way to incorporate nature into your ceremony.
On the other hand, being outdoors can also be a fabulous way of including all of your treasured guests, as there is no limit on space when there are no walls.

7. History: There is no doubt about it – when you’re on the trail, hiking through one of Iowa’s exquisitely natural parks, you can feel history all around you. The majestic feeling of a land unchanged by the hands of man for all of time … There truly isn’t a better location for your wedding day! And the best part? You can come back to your special place again and again, reliving the moment as many times as you wish. It’s forever protected to stay just as it was.

8. Tradition: Speaking of coming back again and again, make it a tradition! You will now have the opportunity to return to your beautiful wedding site year after year, reliving the memories, taking the children and possibly grandchildren one day far in your future. With a wedding in a picturesque, preserved state park, the possibilities are endless.

Now that you’re inspired and ready to plan your Iowa State Park wedding, here are some links to get you started. Happy planning!





By Torey Rohde


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