Wisconsin State Park System
Many couples hold wedding ceremonies and receptions surrounded by the natural beauty of Wisconsin state parks. If you are planning a simple event for a small group, you may conduct the wedding in just about any public place in the park. If you require equipment or a shelter, have a large event or have other special needs, please see the following guidelines and consult the manager of the park.
Facilities and reservations
Some state park and forest shelters and amphitheaters can be reserved for weddings and other events. The fees vary with the shelters' size and amenities. Be aware that some park facilities and services (buildings, water, restrooms, concessions and campgrounds) may be closed during the off-season. Reservations can typically be made up to 11 months in advance.
For more information, see: Reservable Shelters and Facilities.
Equipment, food and music
You may bring chairs, small portable archways, backdrops, a roll of carpet or other small temporary equipment. Any large equipment (tent or shelter, stage, trailer-sized grill, catering van, etc.) must have approval in advance from the park superintendent. No amplified music or sound is allowed unless approved by the park superintendent. Acoustical music is allowed. Equipment or food may be delivered that day only.
Any decorations should be temporary, non-damaging, and completely removable. The use of staples, pins and tape is restricted at some facilities. Please contact the property directly for more guidance. All decorations and items used to secure them must all be removed after use.
Parking and vehicles
All vehicles must be legally parked and may not drive on the grass. A valid vehicle admission sticker is required on any parked vehicle. With advance arrangements, you may purchase (20 or more) daily passes for $5 each.
No special parking priority will be given to wedding/event vehicles. On very busy summer days it is common for parking to fill. Adequate parking for guests is not guaranteed.
Commercial use of state park properties
Any person soliciting or collecting funds for a business of any nature or engaging in commercial filming or photography or providing services for a fee is required to first obtain a Commercial Use Permit from the manager at the property. As you are organizing your wedding, remember to inform individuals and businesses of this permit requirement. Applicants must fill out and submit the Application and Permit (Form 2200-128) directly to the manager of the state property where the commercial activity is to take place a minimum of two weeks in advance of the activity.
For more information, see: Commercial Use of State Park Properties.
A public place
Keep in mind that state parks are public places. Any group is expected to follow the same rules on alcohol, noise, pets, parking and behavior as any other park visitor. Unless you have reserved and rented a specific shelter, you are conducting your ceremony in public. The wedding party has no right to restrict someone’s use of any part of the public park. Keep in mind that holding your event in a heavily used area or at a busy time of year may not turn out to be the setting you desire.
You must clean up and remove all trash generated by your event. Park hours are from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Make certain you communicate clearly and completely with all people involved with your event. There have been times when there have been multiple weddings in a park on the same day. Tell all guests, helpers, photographers, caterers, delivery persons and limousine drivers exactly where they should be and when to be there. It is very helpful to let the park staff know where and when your event will be held if you have not rented a shelter.