12 Simple Tips for Planning an Amazing Burning Man Wedding


// 12 simple tips for planning an amazing Burning Man wedding

If you’re reading this you most likely are spending your Labor Day weekend in Playa. And you probably are getting married there as well. And it’s fOcking exciting in so many ways, yet keep in mind: just like putting together a default world wedding, you will have homework to do. 
Where to start? What to expect? And how make sure you get the most out of it.

I went ahead and I did put a list of simple and easy real-life wedding planning tips to help you get the most out of your wedding and have an amazing Burning Man experience. I’ve been going to and photographing Black Rock City since 2009.

And while the wedding planning tips below will be most helpful to someone who have never been to the Burning Man before, I’m pretty sure a seasoned burner still can find some of them useful.


1. Figure out legal stuff in advance

I know, it’s not most exciting thing to do, but if you want a real wedding, that’s where it all needs to start. Marriage license, officiant, etc. Burning Man website has some useful information regarding weddings in Playa. Make sure you do your homework in advance, because it won’t be an easy task if you arrive to Playa unprepared.

licensed officiant signing the marriage certificate after the Burning Man wedding ceremony

2. Find your wedding vendors

Yes, there’s more homework to do. So, roll your sleeves and hit the Pinterest and Google search. I imagine, finding wedding photographer is probably a bit easier than, let’s say, finding a guy will roast you a pig, but… Reality is, every imaginable wedding vendor is there in Playa. I’ve met music bands, I’ve seen pastry chefs delivering cakes, I know florists who made flowers for brides. Go ahead, find a camp that serves dessert, talk to some fire spinners you found online, grab some champagne on the way to Playa. And you got yourself a decent start for the wedding ceremony after party.

licensed wedding officiator friend is taking a gulp of bourbon bottle after signing marriage certificate

3. Do all heavy lifting BEFORE event starts

Talk to all your vendors in advance and touch base again 2-3 weeks before the event. Once out there in the desert, communication could get tricky due to unreliable phone and internet service. Also, bear in mind that all serious shopping is done in Reno, NV. And that’s 3 hours away.

bride and groom raising their hands and shouting after their Burning Man wedding ceremony

4. Figure out where and when.

When it comes to time, be specific. “Sunrise” or “sunset” could really fall into 30-45 minute gap. Also, keep in mind, that sunset or sunrise, while definitely nice times of the day to get married, could be very busy in certain locations (i.e. Temple). Usually, around that time of the day, you can find numerous wedding ceremonies happening at those locations simultaneously.
Consider less traveled spot in deep Playa if you want more intimate Burning Man wedding experience.

group of people gathered for a wedding ceremony near art installation in Burning Man

5. Don’t get separated from your officiant/ wedding guests

Want to make sure your wedding ceremony attendees won’t get lost in transition? Go ahead and gather people in camp. Bike together or set gathering point at the art peace that is easy to find and is less traveled. If you’re going for a wedding ceremony at the busy spot, park your bikes further away, and walk to your spot the whole group.
Believe me, it’s easy to lose your friends (and wedding guests) in Playa.

lesbian couple holing hands after wedding ceremony in Black Rock Desert, Nevada

6. Have a plan, but also have no plan

Have a plan, but play it by the ear once there. Keep your eyes and ears open in Playa as Burning Man festivals offers lots of unexpected opportunities. So be smart and use them.

dusty bride’s and groom’s hands with wedding rings on fingers

7. Prepare for the worst weather

Seriously, please do. As someone who spends 2-3 weeks in desert during each Burn, I have a simple advice when it comes to newcomers: please do not underestimate Playa weather. Weather in Playa changes quickly and things could go sideways at the same speed. Over-engineer your camp, over-engineer your art installation structures. Please do the same for your wedding. And see a story about how bad weather almost ruined this beautiful same-sex wedding ceremony.

Burning Man wedding tip about dust storm whiteout in the desert

8. Don’t expect things to go 100% smoothly

Trust me, this will happen just like in default world wedding. Someone will get drunk and not going to make it, someone will get lost on the way to wedding ceremony location. Heck, I missed several Playa wedding myself. 
So, keep calm and keep smiling. Because all you really need is your significant other and your officiant.

groom is opening and spilling champagne bottle while bride is laughing

9. Invite your new friends to attend your wedding

While in Playa, you’ll meet new people, make new friends. Go ahead, plan your wedding for Thursday or Friday, and invite them all to your wedding ceremony. People love attending weddings in Playa!
Or just invite everybody.

man holding “just married” sign after the Burning Man wedding ceremony

10. Get creative. Dress up

If you could wear ANYTHING, (and by anything, I even mean you could arrive to your wedding ceremony naked), what would you wear? Seriously. Dress fucking up.

lesbian couple holing hands after wedding ceremony in Black Rock Desert, Nevada

11. Be yourself

No one is there to judge you. Nobody cares who you are. People who surround you are people who love you. The reality is, that there’s no better place to be true yourself, than Playa.

lesbian couple kissing after exchanging vows during Burning man wedding ceremony

12. Enjoy every little bit of it

No one is there to judge you. Do whatever the fuck you wanna do. Get weird, get freaky and have fun!

portrait of bride and groom after the wedding ceremony: Burning Man wedding tips

Thanks for reading!

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