Hocking Hills Weddings: How To Plan The Perfect Destination Wedding

Hocking Hills weddings on either a shoestring budget or on a massive grand scale, have become commonplace at the Midwest haven for ecotourists. Destination weddings in the beautiful southern Ohio region are often simple and rustic affairs, but do require advance planning do the popularity of using the state parks and services of wedding vendors in the secluded rural area.

Planning the perfect destination wedding, regardless of the number of guests, still requires making many of the same decisions brides and grooms have labored over for decades. The most popular and busiest times to host a Hocking Hills wedding is during the fall and the spring months.

hocking hills weddings
The Hocking Hills have become one of the top locations for destination weddings in the Midwest. (Image by Shutterstock.com)

Wedding planners should reserve the ceremony service providers, location, and lodging facilities at least three months in advance when planning nuptials at or around the Hocking Hills State Park during the busy seasons. Multiple campgrounds, primitive to luxurious cabins, lodges, and chalets, as well as several hotels, exist within just a few miles of each of the state parks in the region.

Hocking Hills Destination Weddings Planning Tips

  • Picking a location and booking the spot will guide the rest of the Hocking Hills wedding planning journey – and may vastly impact the ceremony and reception budget. The expense of Ohio destination wedding ceremonies in the region varies greatly depending upon the specific venue and number of guests. Getting married inside a state park requires securing a low-cost permit.
  • Many of the lodging facilities also offer indoor or outdoor reception areas as well. This type of venue offers the wedding party an all-in-one experience. The venues which offer cabins, a reception area, and a host of ceremony amenities, book up sometimes six months in advance, especially during the busy season and colder times of the year.
  • Getting married on horseback, at a cabin, lodge, or chalet, chapel, barn, or in a canoe, are all popular Hocking Hills destination wedding choices. Hocking Hills wedding chapels, of both the outdoor and indoor variety, are also available for Ohio destination weddings held near the Zaleski State Park, Tar Hollow State Park, Hocking Hills State Park, and Lake Alma State Park. The number of bucolic barns and tipis available for wedding services is limited. Book the venues well in advance of the ceremony to avoid losing the prime locations to other brides and grooms.
  • Contact the main office of the state park where the wedding will be held to secure any required permit. When contacting park officials for a permit the bride and groom will need to provide a specific location, date, start time of the ceremony, and back-up dates in case of weather or other emergency situation interrupts the festivities, the Hocking Hills State Park Travel Guide notes. As of this writing, the permit fee was less than $50 for ceremonies to be held on state park grounds in the region. The park-use permit is limited to a half hour, including setup and cleanup time. The wedding ceremony must be held in open public spaces or on designated trails and cannot inhibit the hiking of other visitors. All decorations must not harm the natural offerings of the park and be immediately removed after the ceremony.
  • Hocking River in October at sunrise shows beautiful fall leaves [Image by Larry Knupp/Shutterstock]
  • Ash Cave is one of the most popular wedding venues inside the Hocking Hills State Park. The paved walkway to the overhanging cave and waterfall area is handicap accessible and easily traversed by visitors of most ability levels and strollers. The area surrounding the waterfall area is loose sand and is spacious enough to handle at least 75 guests.
  • Large shelter houses exist at all of the Hocking Hills region state parks and can be rented for wedding receptions. Small BBQ grills and primitive rest rooms are located near each shelter house.
  • Some of the Hocking Hills private wedding venues offer their own catering services, require you to use their catering services, or boast a kitchen or outdoor grilling area for the bride and groom to use to craft their own reception menu. Setup and cleanup of the reception meal is often included when the wedding ceremony is catered in-house by the venue.
  • Destination weddings service providers in the Hocking Hills area include photographers, portable massage therapists, caterers, cake designers, musicians and disc jockeys, clergy, and adventure honeymoon attractions, as the Hocking Hills Weddings website notes.

[Featured Image by shpakdm/Shutterstock]