The Best Rock Climbing Wedding Ideas

A bride and groom on a rock formation.

Maybe you met through friends at the local climbing gym, or scraping skin next to each other on a bouldering rock in town. Or maybe you met in Hyalite Canyon while climbing some of the most gnarly ice routes in the world. You had a crush the first time you saw him skinning resolutely in—he gave you a solid belay, then followed your lead. You started going on trips together—the equivalent of moving in. Or maybe you even moved into his van, or he moved into your cramped Tacoma. Maybe you headed to Joshua Tree next and sweated it out on some gorgeous trad routes, followed by a headlamp-lit dinner on a natural rock table next to your campsite. Now, you’re getting hitched. So, how does that look for a pair of dirtbags? Here are some ideas to get you started.

Location and Lodging

A couple rock climbing together.

So, you’re having your dream climbing wedding, but you’re not sure where to go. Do you head to that first route in Hyalite, dragging family and friends to the site where you watched him wobble and knock down enough ice to keep a fridge cold? Or do you opt for somewhere warmer? Two climbers in love is a beautiful thing and getting married at the base—or better, at the top—of that hunk of rock you conquered is a great way to celebrate. Customizing your day so that it’s unique to you and your partner makes for a successful and exhilarating ceremony. Friends and family should plan on bringing tents and camping out, so they’ll be able to wobble away from the bonfire and into bed. Include a map so guests can find their way around.

Ceremony Rituals

It’s safe to say these weddings always include a lot of dogs, many with collars and leashes fashioned out of retired climbing ropes. Have one bring the rings up to the altar. You could even rack up for this part, making sure to include a lot of jokes about nuts, pro, and cracks in your marital vows.

Decorations

To stick with the nature theme, make sure there are plants on every table. Centerpieces could include local wildflowers, if the season is right, and you could print out topographic maps as name cards and labels. Name various tables after favorite routes or crags: Hyalite, Bear Canyon, Gallatin Canyon, Yankee Jims, Ten Sleep, and Wild Iris.

The Afterparty

An athletic couple rock climbing in the evening.

Your relationship has been anything but boring, so it would make sense that your wedding festivities would include adrenaline-soaked adventures as well. Activities could include climbing (of course), moonrise yoga, group hikes and bike rides, and, of course, more climbing.

The Cake and Food

A wedding cake could resemble some rock formation—the couple standing roped up at the top of Half Dome, for instance. Others may be covered with edible wildflowers. Climber weddings typically involve cakes made from organic ingredients. Splurge on a taco truck that you park next to the IPA kegs of your favorite local beer.

The Registry

Wedding presents will of course either be climbing gear or donations to an epic honeymoon in El Portrero Chico in Mexico to climb the epic 23-pitch behemoth known as Time Wave Zero. (Refer confused grandparents to REI for gift purchases.)

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