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The Green Life: Get Married in a National Park

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June 19, 2009

Get Married in a National Park

Wedding at national park You’ll have a hard time making your wedding ceremony compare to the majestic beauty of Yosemite Valley, the stunning colors of fall leaves at Acadia, or the rich sounds of singing canyon wrens at the Grand Canyon.  So why not skip the balloons, the plastic ribbons, and the headache involved in decorating a wedding hall and invite your guests to enjoy a national park on your wedding day?  Most parks—including Yosemite, Acadia, and Grand Canyon—issue permits (that cost between $50 and $200) to host weddings on their grounds.

Your guests will support the park by paying the entrance fee, there will be no decorations left in the trash, and parking restrictions in most national parks encourage carpooling, which will cut down on your wedding's carbon footprint, if you choose a park that's convenient to most of your guests.

Not all parks can accommodate weddings, but you can find out which ones do by checking each park’s website. Submit your application for a permit in advance and be aware of restrictions on parking, number of guests, and your celebration (most parks don’t allow throwing rice or playing loud music, for instance). You’ll have to arrange for someone to perform the ceremony, but all the venue details—the flowers, the decorations, and even the music—will be taken care of by nature.

--Sarah F. Kessler

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