Unique. Fun. Vintage. Those are the three words that come to mind when you think of The Happy Camper. Photo booths have been a growing trend over the last several years, and we’re all familiar with them. You step into the booth box, grab a couple of props and take a few pics. The Happy Camper owners Dina and German Hoppenstedt have taken this idea to a whole new level.
A happy beginning
Dina was planning her daughter’s wedding this past March. Her daughter had her heart set on a cute mobile photo service out of Austin featuring a vintage VW Van. There was nothing like it in the RGV, so they hired the company to come down. That was a bit pricey. It was then that Dina decided they needed to bring the idea to the Valley.
Although German and Dina have full-time careers, his in government and hers in the medical field, they were ready for a fun endeavor. “We had become empty nesters and felt like it would be a great project to embark on together,” said Dina.
They began searching for the perfect RV shortly after the wedding. With a vision in their head, they searched as far as Utah and considered driving there to pick one up. As luck would have it though, they found one in Weslaco just two miles from their home. “The Shasta was in great condition when we purchased it, but to make our vision come to life, we knew we needed to gut it completely and rebuild it to become The Happy Camper,” said Dina. They found the perfect camper in July 2019 and had it completely transformed by September.
Now, picture a two-toned white and banana yellow vintage Shasta RV transformed into the perfect photo location both inside and out. The inside has been remodeled to feature gorgeous wood paneled walls. A large comfy bench seat has room for your entire group. There are also props including hats, sunglasses, signs and more hanging up for everyone to have some fun with. Add in the highest quality camera and lighting equipment and customizable photo strips, and you’ve got a fun photo booth.
Time to party
It’s not just for weddings. The Happy Camper adds a unique experience to any celebration. They are also prepared for any type of event including birthdays, reunions, holiday parties, bridal showers, church functions and any other event they could bring a little fun to. “We’ve enjoyed seeing the smiles and hearing the laughs at the events we’ve done so far,” said Dina. “It’s made the whole experience that much better for us.”
In addition to the completely remodeled interior, you an add on decorations outside of the RV to your party package as well. This includes seating, decorations, balloons, lighting and a ton of other cute, special touches. You can see the passion Dina has for decorating in the set-ups she provides for her clients. Each one is customized to the event or theme and brings that extra added touch to make the outside of the RV photo ready as well. “It’s so much fun to create a unique experience for each event. Now, I have so much stuff, I had to rent a storage unit,” said Dina.
The Happy Camper has furniture themes that range from Casa Blanca Glam to Mexican Fiesta, and of course holiday themes. In addition to the décor, they have cornhole and giant tic-tac-toe that takes the experience up one more notch. Finish off the whole vintage feel with their 1966 Mustang in the same vintage yellow color as the Shasta that can be added on to the package to be used as a drive away car at a wedding or as a photo prop addition, and the party is complete.
Not only is The Happy Camper available to rent for parties, but during the holiday season, they set up a super cute photo shoot for families. “Holiday photo shoots run about $150, and that’s just too much. I knew we had a cute backdrop, and with a few festive decorations, I could turn it into a great photo shoot at a much better price,” said Dina.
Their daughter Kelsey Hoppenstedt used her skills as a photographer for a publication at Texas A&M University where she is going to school to take photos for the families that purchased a photo session.
The Hoppenstedts are ready to provide a unique and memorable vintage photo opportunity to all of their clients. Dina said, “We look forward to being a part of more events and introducing The Happy Camper to more people across the Valley.”