Why have a wedding day when you can stretch it into a three-day camping weekend?
That was the thought Albert and Sarah Maldonado had when they booked a campground in the forest just an hour from Yosemite National Park to tie the knot. Camping is more than a hobby for the couple. It’s become a major part of their life, and so has their TAB 320.
It seems like every wedding has a funny or unusual story attached to it that forms the basis of reminiscences for years to come. But for Sarah and Albert Maldonado who were married June 19, 2021, it wasn’t so much a unique experience as a unique “guest” that will liven up those anniversary remembrances—specifically their TAB 320 who shared in the nuptial celebrations.
The couple had been dating for 11 years, having met in their freshman year at college, before finally tying the knot this year. They purchased their TAB in 2019 and haven’t had the opportunity to travel as much as they would like due to the state of the pandemic over the last year and a half.
Albert had been a tent camper though Sarah didn’t join him in his outdoor adventures until they were given a pop-up trailer in 2015. Camping together has brought them closer together, Sarah said.
“We started camping together when we were 22 years old, still growing individually and as a couple,” she said. “Over the last eight years, we’ve learned to work together as a team, setting up and breaking down camp, embracing the idea of exploring together, and wandering off into new destinations — all while having the most fun with each other either hiking, grilling, or doing absolutely nothing by the campfire.”
But while they enjoyed the experiences, they decided that they wanted to move up a notch to a camper. Ideally, they were looking for a lower-maintenance camper that would be small enough to be able to hitch up and go but still be large enough for a kitchen and standing clearance.
“I actually remember seeing a nuCamp trailer being towed on the freeway once and I thought to myself, ‘How cute and perfect is that?!’” recalled Sarah. “I guess in a way I manifested that for us and several years later, we bought our own.”
While Sarah acknowledged that at times flying and staying in a hotel might be more convenient, “traveling with your camper, especially one with so many amenities like the TAB, is really the best of both worlds. You get to see and visit new places, but there’s an element of serenity and comfort you get while camping that hotels might not provide. You can travel thousands of miles … but still feel right at home.”
As for making the TAB an honored guest at their ceremony and reception, it was just a foregone conclusion, as was bringing along their pups, Cash and Bert. When planning the ceremony and reception, the couple wanted all the elements of the day to be meaningful in some way.
“Camping represents us completely, which is why we decided to have a three-day wedding weekend at a venue located in the forest, just an hour away from Yosemite, which happens to be one of our favorite places we’ve ever camped,” Sarah explained. “I knew having our camper at our wedding would not come as a surprise to any of our wedding guests, because they’ve either camped with us before or knew how much we loved it!”
The TAB 320 also did double-duty as part of the scenery at the wedding, she noted. The camper was parked behind a lounge area at the reception, making it a perfect backdrop for guests to take photos with as they signed the guestbook or sat around the campfire.
Unfortunately, like so many things since the pandemic arrived on our shores, honeymoon plans were temporarily put on hold. The unpredictable nature of COVD-19 meant the couple didn’t take a honeymoon this past summer.
But, said Sarah, “we plan on making up for that now with several camping adventures already planned for the remainder of this year! Some of our destinations include road-tripping up the Pacific Northwest and visiting as many National Parks in the U.S. as possible. So far, we’ve been to Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Death Valley, Joshua Tree, the Mojave, and the Sequoias!”
And when she says “we” it’s clear that it’s not just herself and her husband she’s referring to, but the two dogs and of course, the camper—all part of the Maldonado family!