So You Want to Host a Festival Wedding? by Terri Logan

When my beloved and I sat down to conjure up our dream wedding in 2017, we said we would do it our way, or no way at all.  It had to be representative of us, our love and most importantly our community     

For us, the definition of a festival is more than just a weekend of frolic and merriment, it’s about connection, expression and creativity. It’s about bridging the gap between imagination and reality while engaging all generations in the event. Therefore, a festival wedding involves all of this and a lot of UNITY as well!

My husband and I did not want to reinvent the wheel. Between us, we have 22 Burning Man experience’s, 10+ years of conscious gatherings and additionally, our own skillsets like photography, graphic design and logistical planning to draw from. We used these past adventures and skills to create an outline of how we needed to delegate our resources and how we could personally make the magic happen.

A great place for YOU to begin is to list your strengths as an individual and well as a couple. Do you have a DIY affinity? Is your partner great at spreadsheets and organization?   Is there something from your festival experiences together, like working on an art project, that stands out as a special connection point for you both? These strengths will be the backbone of how you divvy up the responsibilities of running a 5-day festival extravaganza.

Location, location, location. No really. Finding a space that can house not only your Festie Besties, but Grandma, Aunt Gertie, and your Mother-in-law too.  It was important that the space not only have places to gather, but ways to engage. By choosing a place that honors your guests and their abilities, you can create an atmosphere encourages connection.

Locating a caterer for a festival wedding is no easy feat. This is so important because most places that you’ll throw a festival wedding will have limited or improvised culinary options. We got lucky with Mendocino Magic and its brand new outdoor kitchen, but still some of the prep had to be done in our guests’ cottages and a good portion of the meats were cooked on a giant woodfire grill.  Our chef had to have a unique skillset that not only used classic cooking techniques but also creativity and the ability to think on his feet. If you're scratching your head about what to do here, ask the venue for suggestions they would recommend.

We chose a high-country boil for our rehearsal dinner and it was perfect. The crawfish/sausage boil allowed us to not worry about extra plates/napkins to clean-up or additional flatware waste.  It’s no secret that weddings can create a huge carbon footprint. Mendocino Magic has the right mindset when it comes to excessive waste and aligned with us on embodying the “leave no trace" principle.

This is a great time to stop and think about your wedding vision. Does it have a lot of paper products? Cans? Glass? Are you going to reuse any of the items you bought for your big day? Or is it just going to Goodwill, or worse, the dump?  What plan do you have in place for all the décor, the extra liquor (if any) and the unused food? Perhaps there is a local shelter near by or the staff is notified in advance that they are free to take items left on a “gifting table.”

When it came time for the big day, I wanted our guests to join in the fun. In advance my husband and I created a survival guide that told them about the landscape, theme nights, weather, and potential hazards. Creating a survival guide seems daunting task, but start with the basics; food, shelter, and water. Build your guide from those necessities because safety is the most important item for your guests at a festival wedding. Mackenzie was fantastic at knowing if plants like poison oak were present and blooming at Mendocino Magic, and we discussed the different animals in the area, the proximity to hospitals, fire department and even had an evacuation route.  

In the Survival Guide, we also touched on what “radical self-reliance” was and how to maintain that in the space we were inviting them to.  And we discussed our desire for their participation throughout the weekend and ways to express themselves authentically. Some of our guests created a mobile coffee and donut bar. Others created a glam station to get ready at, a lighting structure that went to music, an incredible glow poi dance and, naturally, bubbles galore. By each person contributing, it gave our guests ownership of the entire weekend experience. Creating a survival guide took a few days of Doug and my time, but your guests will feel taken care of and you can rest easy during the event.  

Our wedding day was the most magical ever. Our bridal parties had helped to set-up our reception in the morning using organic elements found on the property and our guests were relaxing on the lake to music pumping through the speaker system we brought. As a unifier for our guests, we asked everyone to dress in festival white. This easy theme helped to bridge our multi-generations participating onsite and create a common denominator that was fun and accessible.

Ask yourself, what are you doing to bring everybody together? Is it a special sage cleansing ceremony? A request to  bring a photo to hang on the family tree? What about hosting a bad-marriage advice box for people to share their “opinions?” we utilized all these to develop a culture of interactivity and unification.

There are many facets to hosting a festival wedding and these are just a few things to think about when embarking on the adventure. The most important thing is continue communicating with your partner and to enjoy the creative journey.

Don't Forget The Magic: Dan Moscov's Summer 2017 experience

Don't Forget The Magic: Dan Moscov's Summer 2017 experience

Magic can be defined as an extraordinary or mystical influence, charm or power. This past
summer, I had the pleasure and honor of working on the Mendocino Magic property, tucked away in the mountains of northern California. The property has all three extraordinary qualities, in abundance. As soon as you enter through the front gate, you wonder if you’re in the right place, especially at night. One can only think ‘mystical influence’.

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Wallace Stegner's Letter to Congress: A Hipcamp Story featuring Mendocino Magic

As many of our guests are aware, Mendocino Magic's story would not be complete without due homage to Hipcamp, the largest online directory of campsites in the United States. Hipcamp is the first online resource for people looking for campsites across the country using an online platform, whether they be public or private campgrounds.

Check out Mendocino Magic's listing

and more campsites for your next adventure by clicking here

Friends with Benefits: Meghan and Mark Get a Life by Mark Davis

Friends with Benefits: Meghan and Mark Get a Life by Mark Davis

When Meghan and I decided to get hitched, we did not anticipate the amount of time and energy which went into planning. Everyone thinks they know how to throw a party until they actually have to throw a party. It involves accommodating many different groups of friends and family with different tastes, preferences, backgrounds, and needs. Oh, and by the way everyone needs a place to sleep.

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MBA Summa cum Terra, or 9 Lessons Learned in the Woods - Part 1 - by Jo Siebeck

MBA Summa cum Terra, or 9 Lessons Learned in the Woods - Part 1  - by Jo Siebeck

I recently graduated with an MBA from the University of San Francisco, a Jesuit school in the best city in the world – and boy, have I learned about economics, data analysis, marketing, accounting, and even the rare factoid about baseball! All this knowledge will sure come in handy for a career in the corporate world. What is equally important to what I am taking away from the past two years, however, is what I learned in the woods.

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Post from Pepper Bear by Guest Caretaker Eric Moore

Post from Pepper Bear by Guest Caretaker Eric Moore

Bear Dog here. You know I’m a sociable critter, so when the new fella showed at the pond house I thought I’d stop by and greet him. I recognized him right away from last year (he has a moustache like a Schnauzer I met once). He said hey, and that he also remembered me from last year which was fun to hear. Then, and like so many others, the next thing he said was a variant of “What a beautiful and healing place”, then he heaved a good long sigh…

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Posts from Pepper Bear - January 2016

Posts from Pepper Bear - January 2016

Muddy paws, cold nights. I always take advantage of sleeping on top of stuff in the winter time to avoid the thud of frozen dirt underneath me. So far this month it has rained a little bit every day, accumulating 27 inches already. The town of Laytonville usually receives an average of 71 inches of rain annually, which is plenty to keep the hills nice and green in the spring, and perfect for chasing stuff.

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Volunteer This Summer at the Magic!

Between preparing for upcoming large events or long term preparations for the property's longevity, We always need helpful hands up at the Ranch. Paying guests are not asked to perform any tasks besides abiding by the #onefire rules , but volunteers can pay part of their way or work to pay their dues pending on the task. Please visit our form at

Posts from Pepper Bear - December 22 2015

Thanks @dilltron3030 for your lovely picture of Pepper Bear at the  Pond House  . Guests and visitors are encouraged to tag their photos @MendocinoMagic on facebook and instagram!

Thanks @dilltron3030 for your lovely picture of Pepper Bear at the Pond House . Guests and visitors are encouraged to tag their photos @MendocinoMagic on facebook and instagram!

Well it's been a wet start to the 2016 winter up here. Trust me, I'm a dog and I live, for the most part, outside up on these lands. In November and December we started receiving rain; less than the last few years, but this is an El Niño year so my dog sense says to find somewhere dry and wait it out. It will be a much wetter winter this year, statistics say we'll reach our average by February and the ground will likely stay soaked through April. While that means a lot of mud and sloughs (super fun for furries like me), it also means extended winter camping for guests, so bring your muddy boots and tarps! Reservations for the 2016 season start after the 1st, and it's really quiet up here aside from the tapping of water off the dock, so come on up and visit me!

Bear hugs.

Posts from Pepper Bear - November 22nd 2015

Special thanks for your visit up at  Cannonball Camp  this Fall! November's instagram winner for Postsfrom Pepper Bear is @laurenhfifeld "My kind of Bear" :)

Special thanks for your visit up at Cannonball Camp this Fall! November's instagram winner for Postsfrom Pepper Bear is @laurenhfifeld "My kind of Bear" :)

Hey internet world, Pepper Bear here. The Autumn guests were all really nice people, and everyone fed me bacon! I like to walk around with guests to keep them on the trails, protect them from mischievous squirrels and rabbits, and serve as your guide on your hike (whether you like it or not). I am a very friendly Catahoula-Timberwolf and I am the spirit animal of Mendocino Magic. I'm only 2 years old, but I have an old soul you can see in my eyes. Come visit me and we can have our picture taken, too!

Mendocino Magic joins!

This June, Mendocino Magic began hosting campers at some of our beloved campsites on, the most comprehensive online source for campsites across the United States. By joining Hipcamp, we have the opportunity to bring in more campers to enjoy this special place, and are able to cover our operating costs more easily. We were even featured in PSFK recently in an article written by author Kiran Umapathy on the Sharing Economy and how camping brings out the best in this generation. Check it out!