Earlier this month, EcoCamp Patagonia was delighted to help to organise their first ever wedding in Torres del Paine National Park, for guests Michelle and Josh. Now back home in the US after enjoying their Patagonia Wildlife Safari and epic wedding adventure, Michelle took some time out to answer all our questions about their big day!
Why did you decide on Torres del Paine National Park for your wedding? And why EcoCamp Patagonia?
Michelle: When Josh proposed to me it happened to be at sunrise, at the rim of the Grand Canyon. It was also the first morning of our weeklong backpacking trip down into the Grand Canyon. As we were driving home, a week later, a real bed and hot shower sounded really nice. When it came to what we wanted to do for our wedding, we decided on something super small and it had to be focused on us and our commitment to each other.
Josh asked me if there was any place I wanted to run away to and get married? I instantly replied with Antarctica. He said if I could manage to figure out the details, then we could do it. Unfortunately for me, summer season had already started and it was just too late to book anything that was less than a year’s mortgage for our house. We did mutually agree that the honeymoon spot should be Patagonia.
EcoCamp Patagonia: "We just felt so welcomed and loved everything about it."
I pitched to Josh the idea of exploring, yet being able to relax at the end of the each day. I wanted things planned out so we could just focus on each other’s company and not have to think too much about how we were going to get somewhere, where we were we going to eat, or where we were going to stay. I wanted all that figured out and to enjoy the outdoors and not have to experience my air mattress with a leak or cook by headlamp in the rain during our honeymoon or wedding day.
Due to Josh being a software engineer and myself an artist, the best way to spend time together has always been outdoors. No Internet, no techi gadgets, or cell service. Being off the grid while experiencing nature is important to us when we choose a place to enjoy together. We also enjoy places that incorporate unique ideas and have a great regard for quality in craftsmanship. We don’t want our money just going to some big corporation. We want to sign a guestbook and be remembered when we come back, like family.
We love to camp and backpack, but this time we really wanted to focus on being out in nature and each other’s company. Choosing EcoCamp Patagonia was a no-brainer once I tripped over it online. I am someone who doesn’t like anything normal. So the idea of hostels or basic hotels during our trip was not at all my idea of fun. Over the past five years of Josh and I being together we have stayed in “The Nest” at the Tree Bones Resort, in Big Sur, California, USA. We have also stayed in the “Peacock Perch Treehouse” at Out’n’about Treehouse Resort in Takilma, Oregon, USA. All of these places have been full of beautiful craftsmanship and in the middle of nature.
We knew we wanted to say our vows at some point on our 10 day trip; where and when was up in the air for us. When we arrived in Torres Del Paine and EcoCamp we just felt so welcomed and loved everything about it. We quickly knew this was where we wanted to say our vows. We thought we would first see if we could get onto a glacier to say our vows, but due to it being summer that was out of the question. So, a special spot was sought out and found with help from EcoCamp.
How did your friends & family react when they found out?
"There were gleeful squeals from the ladies
when they heard I had brought my dress."
Michelle: At first everyone thought we wanted and expected them to come along with us in some kind of “Destination Wedding”. We had to explain clearly how no one, not even our parents were invited on this trip. We really did not want to push our loved ones’ finances. We both come from large families and the easiest way to go about it was like this:
- Vows said on epic trip in Patagonia, honeymoon on same trip.
- We will be going to the courthouse following our epic trip with our parents to legalize our marriage.
- Followed by a huge Spring Wedding Celebration Bash on my family’s ranch with all our family and friends in a campout weekend!
It took a while for this idea to sink in, but it was largely accepted, for I have never done anything “normal” or “expected” of me.
My father told me over the phone one day, while I was having a meltdown caused by trying to please everyone, “Why are you trying to do normal now? Isn’t too late for that? Do what you want to do, because you always have this far in your life, why stop now? This is about you and Josh. So do what you and Josh want to do.”
So we did just that, we did what we wanted to do and are currently enjoy our epic trip’s pictures and tokens while planning out our courthouse date with our parents and planning the awesome wedding celebration bash. I feel less stressed and so excited to celebrate our union with our family and friends. I would also like to point out the featured 8 minute video on EcoCamp’s website did help persuade family and friends, that indeed this is a fabulous place to go. There were no arguments for a better location.
How did the great atmosphere in your group influence your decision to say your vows in the park?
"We quickly knew this was where we wanted to say our vows."
Michelle: Our Wildlife Safari group at EcoCamp Patagonia changed daily depending on who arrived and who was leaving. However, there was camaraderie with everyone the entire time we were there. There were Americans, Australians, Germans, and Colombians making up our Safari group, of all different ages. The youngest being a 14 year old boy, there with his family, and the oldest a couple in their 70s. Everyone was there to trek and explore Torres Del Paine and parts of Patagonia. Most were couples, families or groups of friends. Everyone was helpful and courteous on the trails. When it came to downtime back at EcoCamp we all enjoyed conversation and food and drink with each other. However, we all expressed respect for conversation and space so others could enjoy their spouse, friends or family.
When our group learned of our wedding plans they were so great at giving helpful marriage advice and there was widespread excitement of being part of something as positive as a wedding on their adventure to Patagonia. There were gleeful squeals from the ladies when they heard I had brought my dress. Josh and I didn’t expect anything from anyone of our group for this was also their holiday/ vacation, so it was a delight how much support we received from our wonderful group.
What part did Isi from EcoCamp Patagonia play in the wedding? Is she the photographer?
Michelle: Being a photographer myself, this had to be the only part of my day I was stressed about. I didn’t want to have pictures of my day with my head cut off or not in focus! I originally approached Rafa with this idea of him taking the pictures, however plans developed and Isi became our helpful guide, while Rafa secretly helped with wedding things back at Eco Camp. Isi is a very experienced guide of 5 years and was very helpful when it came down to the moment of vows.
I set the camera how I wanted, then handed her the camera. I felt so at ease with Isi, I didn’t stress at all about how the pictures would turn out. When I got home I finally got to see just what a great job she did with a few different angles and how she used the correct zoom distance. I didn’t have to crop a thing. I wish I could just give her a big hug for truly being so awesome!
You popped the champagne cork with Isi & Rafa correct? Why did you want them to share the moment?
"We returned to our dome and
discovered such a wonderful sight!"
Michelle: We returned to our dome and discovered such a wonderful sight after such a grueling and wonderful day. Our dome was cleaned; the bed covered in rose petals and topped with a box of locally made chocolate. There on the side sat a bottle of champagne chilling with glasses and a note from the staff. I would like to point out we didn’t ask for such wonderful goodies, so it meant a lot to us they went to the lengths they did to make our day so special. After washing up we decided we needed to hunt down the two people, Rafa and Isi to share this wonderful liquid delight.
They helped at a moment’s notice to make the day happen. It’s still mind blowing how simply asking if it was possible two days earlier to find a spot to say our vows to each other, and have it not seem like we were asking for the moon, and to find out that it was possible, then for it to happen, was truly special to us. To be surrounded by people who were just so positive and willing to make something so positive happen was truly a blessing. EcoCamp’s staff work very hard and truly make you feel like part of a family while you are there. So, sharing our champagne with Rafa and Isi was like sharing it with family.
Finally, do you think EcoCamp is a romantic place for such occasions? We've had honeymooners before but never a wedding!!
Michelle: Yes! I see no reason why not. We believe being surrounded by Nature’s beauty and God’s works of art is by far the most beautiful thing. EcoCamp offers such an intimate relaxing experience. We truly believe this should be a destination wedding spot for nature lovers, adventure folks and of course those who care about their footprint on the world!
Thanks for all the info Michelle! Check out Josh and Michelle's wedding website for more photos and background on their special day, and don't forget you can contact the Cascada team for help with planning your own romantic getaway at EcoCamp Patagonia!