Yesterday Josh and I returned from an annual camping trip which we spent with two of the families my family is closest with. The twentieth Austin-Frost camp-out was set at the Lodgepole Campground of the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, two enormous parks which lie side-by-side in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California and cover 865,258 acres of land. There is so much to see and do in the parks that we couldn't possibly exhaust our options in just one trip. Over the four days we swam in the Kaweah River (very low in parts at this time of year), hiked to the Tokopah Falls, enjoyed a historical talk at the top of Morrow Rock, viewed the General Sherman Tree (a beautiful sequoia and the world's largest tree), and even had some close encounters with deer, bears and a coyote. Though the "seniors" in our camp enjoyed the conveniences of the RVs they worked hard to obtain, Josh and I borrowed a tent from my parents and an air mattress from my uncle (luxury, to us), choosing to sleep in privacy and comfort.
During the trip, my parents each mentioned something about Josh and I going camping more in the future. We'd snuck off for a weekend at a nearby lake during our first summer together, but hadn't been able to make it back to nature since. At the end of our trip, we were once again making promises to ourselves to camp more often, yearning for the chance to return to the forrest before we'd even exited the parks. My dad was kind enough to give us the tent he lent us for our weekend trip two years ago. I guess he figured that we'd probably borrow it again anyways, plus they have two RVs and two more tents to their names. It was a very thoughtful gesture, and got me brainstorming about all the many things we'd need to go camping regularly.
By the time we got home, I'd convinced Josh that we should change our honeymoon plans from staying in a tree-house hotel near Seattle, Oregon, to camping in one or more places over a 7-10 day span. It seemed to me that the overall cost would be less, which would mean that we could stay longer and do more than if we paid for a special "hotel" room. I'm sure we'll check out the tree-house hotel sometime in the future, but camping would be a more economical, ecological and sensible choice to help us build great memories for the start of our married lives. So, basically, we're throwing all the information we had for our honeymoon out the window and starting from scratch! Josh would like to determine (and book) the places we'll go well before the wedding, but I'm up for just winging it (a definite role reversal).
This somewhat dramatic change in plans also helped us get some direction in relation to our registry choices. Originally, we thought we'd forgo all the housewares and simply set up a honeymoon registry, which would allow our friends and loved-ones to contribute to our memories by purchasing things for us like snorkeling lessons or one night of our hotel stay. Since we'd both had previous roommates and have been living together for over a year now, there's not much that we need for our home. Sure, some people see their wedding as an opportunity to at least upgrade their current wares, but not us (we may joke about going completely luxury if we hit the lottery, but we're really more hippies at heart.). We'll be fine with mismatched silverware and scratched-up furniture; as long as our items function and can be made to look decent, we'll try to stay humble about our needs. Nonetheless, there is a small list of items that we are reluctant to pass on. For those, we'll probably set up one traditional registry at Target or some other retailer which is easy to access around the nation. However, in lieu of the more commonplace honeymoon registries out there, which only offer trips to places where we'd have to stay in a hotel or bed-and-breakfast, we're going to set up a kind of registry on our site that will allow guests to help us build our first "camp box" (typically one large container which holds all one needs to go camping- everything from large items like the tent to small accessories like coffee mugs). Since we're focusing on having a "green" wedding, we're going to encourage everyone to give or purchase gently-used items whenever possible.