Camp Wedding might just be the best ever workshop. Dreamed up by the ladies of Cherry Blossom Events along with photos by Lexia Frank, it’s glamping at its finest with a cozy lakeside backdrop and decked out welcome backpacks, delicious farm-to-table meals and dance parties galore – oh and important stuff like floral workshops and loads of business advice. Forget everything you remember from childhood summer camp and meet a one of a kind workshop that’s all glamped up.
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Mosquito bites, poison ivy rashes, sunburns, and homesickness are just a few of the things you’d associate with summer camp. Least of all would be floral design workshops, expert-provided small-business advice, decadent farm-to-table meals beneath a canopy of trees, twinkling lights and starry night skies, and a DJ-led dance party where campers could cut a rug–or more like a few blades of grass. But such was the case for creative and wedding professional campers in attendance at the second-annual Camp Wedding. This one-of-a-kind retreat is the brainchild of Andrea VandeBerg and Sarah Sarbacker, co-owners of Madison, Wisconsin-based Cherry Blossom Events, who first set out to offer respite for vendors following the busy summer wedding season as well as creative inspiration and small business tips and tricks to entrepreneurs of all kinds. Building on the success and rave reviews of their inaugural 2015 event, this year’s Camp Wedding proved to be equally exciting and inspiring.
There seems to be a special bond that forms at summer camp. While that tends to occur after spending weeks of time together, with more than 70 percent of campers being repeat attenders from year one, Camp Wedding proves it only takes three days to happen. Many hugs and excited squeals came as campers from year one were reunited, ready to not only be creatively inspired by the speakers and workshops in store but also catch up with peers about work and personal life. Andrea and Sarah, along with very helpful event assistants Emily McCann and Hanni Gould, created a welcoming feel upon checking in the first day, warmly greeting campers, sharing itineraries for the day, and handing out perfectly-themed backpack swag bags filled with goodies such as a chic glass water bottle, a Turkish towel to accommodate the coming outdoor yoga session, gourmet popcorn, a campfire-scented candle, and and many locally-sourced items.
Something for Everyone
Despite the name Camp Wedding, you didn’t need to be a wedding photographer, event planner, florist, or other industry vendor to take away something special from this retreat. Budding photographers looking to take on family and senior class portraits or social media users looking to up their Instagram game walked away with amazing tips from destination wedding photographer Lexia Frank of Lexia Frank Photography. Those with creative careers or who simply love DIY as a hobby were touched by photographer, educator, and artist Jenna Kutcher’s welcome speech focusing on how to stay inspired to keep on creating. And for any entrepreneur or even someone looking to get a promotion, valuable “closing the deal” tips came from the always entertaining Ali Phillips of Engaging Events by Ali. When campers weren’t using their left brains, their right brains got crafty, trying their artistic hand at basic watercolor skills following the guidance of Saffron Avenue’s Angela Mondloch to paint beautiful foliage. And the greenery trend continued with a fun workshop led by floral-design artist Amy Osaba of Amy Osaba Design. Guests blended foraged leaves and wildflowers with beautiful blooms provided to create statement floral arrangements and lovely olive-leaf based crowns, the latter a common accessory worn the final night of camp.
All Glamped Up
If you’re loving the idea of a creativity-based retreat but are turned off by the idea of camping, don’t be. Set aside visions of sleeping on the ground with a pesky rock poking into your ribs, rustic pit toilets straight out of a horror movie, and showerless days spent covered in grit stuck to residual bug spray and sunscreen. Situated on a sprawling lake surrounded by mature trees, Camp Wandawega in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, offers an experience more 1950s vintage chic than really rustic roughin’ it. Comfy beds are nestled within cottages, cabins, and a group bunkhouse, all of which have electricity and the latter including indoor plumbed bathroom and showers. If you want to get a bit more one with nature, “glamp” it up in a tent, teepee, or newly added A-frame glass hut with secluded views overlooking the lake. Each offer cozy mattresses to rest on after an exciting day canoeing the lake, taking a ride on the rope swing, chatting with a friend in a hammock, or touring the grounds filled with rich history and decor (not to mention a few spooky ghost stories).
Hungry for More
Equally less rustic were the locally-sourced and made snacks and meals guests were served. Mornings began with indulgent pastries and sweet treats that paired perfectly with signature cups of coffee brewed as if meant to touch one’s soul. Lunches were held beachside, with gourmet tacos on day one and classic sandwiches, side salad, and chips on day two. Granola bars and evening cocktails hours held over campers, each highly anticipating multi-course meals sure to make any foodie drool. And of course no camping experience would be complete without s’mores around the campfire, where guests got to know one another, talk a little shop, and share a few much needed laughs. Ask any camper there, and you’re sure to hear Cherry Blossom Events went above and beyond in creating an awe-inspiring environment where peers could learn, connect, grow, and unwind. Like many before them who had to say goodbye after fun-filled days away from home, Camp Wedding goers left with heavy hearts that the event was done, but a pep in their step and a renewed sense of purpose of what the futures held for their businesses and budding new friendships.
Check out the Camp Wed website for more details on this one-of-a-kind retreat for wedding professionals and creative.
September 11-13, 2017
Photography: Lexia Frank Photography | Videography: One Fine Day Productions | Florals: KP Designs | Florals: Flora By Jamae | DJ: Sound by Design | Tent Rental: Sperry Tents | Accomodations: Camp Wandawega | Backpack: Artisan Preservatives: Quince and Apple | Backpack: Candle: Big White Yeti | Backpack: Custom Etched Water Bottle: Crystal Dae Dreams | Backpack: Custom Pencils: Roost Paperie | Backpack: Kettle Corn: Poppin Z's Gourmet Popcorn | Backpack: Magazine: Wisconsin Bride | Backpack: Memorabilia: Camp Wandawega | Backpack: Notebooks: Field Notes | Backpack: Notecards: Karly K Designs | Backpack: Toiletry Items: Fern & Nettle | Backpack: Towel: Turkish T | Backpack: Truffles: Indulgence Chocolates | Backpack: Whistle Necklace: KM Supplies | Breakfast Items: Batch Bakehouse | Breakfast Items: Bloom Bake Shop | Camp Wedding Custom Water Bottles: Sugar River Stationers | Cocktails: Gibs Bar | Coffee: Crescendo Mobile Bar | Coffee : Perkup Elkhorn | Dinner Items: Lombardino's | Dinner Menu: Flying Rabbit Press | Food Truck Tacos: El Grito Taqueria | Framed Session Sign and Program: Mint & Lovely Studios | Lunch Items: Underground Food Collective | Lunch Items: Underground Food Collective | Personalized Clipboards, Day of Timeline Signs: Saffron Avenue | Planning: Cherry Blossom Events | Rentals: A La Crate Vintage Rentals | Rentals: Event Essentials | Speaker: Saffron Avenue | Speaker: Jenna Kutcher | Speaker: One Fine Day Productions | Speaker: Perkup Elkhorn | Speaker: Engaging Events by Ali, Inc. | Speaker: Harmony Walton | Speaker: Christi Andringa | Speaker: Katie Selvidge, Cottage Hill Magazine | Speaker: Type A Society | Speaker:: Amy Osaba | The Knot Magazine: The Knot | Welcome Pennant Banner: Love Letter Calligraphy | Wine Bar: Botham Vineyards