On the Bridestory Blog, wedding inspiration boards, social media, or even some of your friends' weddings—rustic details have been popping up everywhere in the past few years. But what does a rustic wedding even mean? By definition, the word rustic is used to describe something rural or related to the countryside. It can also be used to describe something that is made in a plain and simple fashion.
A rustic wedding, on the other hand, is one that uses a lot of natural elements and decorations that are simple and understated. There are no fixed boundaries on what a rustic wedding should be like. In fact, we think that the beauty of this theme is how couples can infuse their personality and preferences to create their own version of a rustic wedding. We believe that the versatility of this theme has helped it outlast many other wedding trends in the past few years.
Climate-conscious couples have also adapted the rustic theme to create eco-friendly weddings, such as this beautiful celebration in the woods. Rustic weddings usually feature decorative elements created from everyday things, making them great opportunities to reuse found objects and forgotten items that would be considered as waste otherwise. Yet another reason why rustic weddings have become a favorite of many brides around the globe.
Today, we've prepared an easy guide to help you throw your very own rustic wedding. Whether you like it elegant or rugged, these simple steps are guaranteed to add that rustic vibe to your wedding day.
Honestly speaking, we think that you can add a rustic touch to any venue you wish. One couple even had a simple rustic wedding in the bride's backyard. If you want truly immersive rustic wedding experience, however, celebrating your happy day in these types of venues will be a decision you won't regret.
How about saying "I do" in the woods? No, we're not suggesting you and your guests to venture into the wilderness. You can make use of camping grounds, plantations, or recreational forests to hold a nature-inspired wedding with modern-day sensibilities. Inform your guests beforehand so they can prepare the right shoes and clothing. More importantly, take care of your permits as soon as possible, as some of these sites might not be open for public use.
Photography: Noise Photo
For a more accessible alternative, have a garden wedding instead. You can find gardens in hotels, public parks, or even your own home. Throwing a garden wedding has been an increasingly popular choice these days, and it is one of the surefire ways to make your wedding look super gorgeous. Want proof? This couple's wedding in the gardens of Hotel Majapahit will convince you.
Photography: Sweetlife Photography
Barn, lodge, winery
If you prefer the more rugged kind of rustic, get married at a place that's more unique and not easily found in urban areas, like a barn, lodge, or winery. These venues are perfect to evoke that homey, countryside atmosphere that will make your guests let loose easily and feel comfortable.
Photography: Maria Lamb
Here's a fresh idea, get married in a conservatory. The existing plants will serve as natural decorations and surely you won't have to worry about the lighting in your photos. Make sure you have enough space, though, as some conservatories are not spacey enough to hold many people.
Let's move on to another exciting part, rustic wedding decorations. There are plenty of ways to create a wedding decoration setup that looks and feels rustic. Below are some of our favorites, but you're more than welcome to get creative and come up with new ideas. Don't forget to consult with your wedding decorator for more ideas!
Photography: Sposto Photography
Keep your colors neutral
Rustic weddings are known for their neutral and muted color palette. Stick to classy, time-tested colors like white or ivory and incorporate earthy colors like beige or green for a natural feel. If you want to add some glamour, insert gold, silver, or bronze touches here and there.
Photography: Mint Photography - The Grovers
Make use of your surroundings
Rustic weddings have long been associated with eco-friendly weddings because of their close association with nature. So, why not make clever use of your surroundings? Slicing leftover wood logs for table numbers or making wedding signage out of cut wood are some great ideas.
Photography: Michael Wachniak - Virgil Bunao Fine Art Weddings
Vintage lights and lanterns can also be used to decorate a spot or even light up a whole evening. Don't worry if you don't have enough of the same types, as mismatched lamps have their very own rustic charm. Burlaps can also be used as decorative elements. Combine them with lace to add a vintage touch to your decoration.
Photography: Three Nails Photography - Graham Terhune
Bottles are also great for rustic weddings. You can hang them as pictured or use them as flower vases on the tables. If you're having a flowerless wedding, using bottles as candle holders is a great idea as well.
Photography: Mint Photography - Brancoprata
Let's not forget frames, chalkboards, and mirrors too! If you have plenty of antique frames, you can definitely use them as decoration. You can display several pictures and suspend them in mid-air as a photo gallery or escort card display. Meanwhile, you can use a chalkboard as a welcome sign, wedding board, or guest book that your guests can sign.
Photography: Julie Paisley - Sally Pinera
Rather than the usual chiavari or phantom chairs, choose cafeteria-style benches or cross-back chairs to spice up your rustic wedding. This might seem like a small detail, but it will add a different feeling to the whole setup.
Photography: Emilie Anne Photography - Mint Photography
Rich color accents
If you think neutral color palettes are boring, spice them up with rich color accents. You can use marsala, navy, ruby, or burgundy to add a certain depth into the celebration.
Photography: Laura Ivanova - Tamiz Photography
Having your wedding indoors? Decorate your ceiling for a complete rustic feeling. You can do so by hanging lights above the party area or greenery and flowers on the lights above your tables.
C. Wedding flowers
Up next are the wedding flowers. Creating rustic décor is one thing, but crafting a rustic-looking bouquet is another story. Here are some ways to do it easily.
Photography: Almond Leaf Studios - Judy Pak
Along with the carefully-arranged imperfection of rustic wedding decorations, loose bouquets are also on the rise. As it's not shaped into a perfectly circular bouquet, a messy bouquet will bring out that natural, rustic feeling.
Photography: Kayla Barker Fine Art Photography - Love by Serena
Deep jewel tones
Incorporate deep-colored flowers into your wedding bouquet to keep it looking vibrant. It would be even greater if you can match the color of your bouquet to your wedding color palette.
Photography: Photo Pink - Katie Stoops
Add rustic flowers
There are certain types of flowers that particularly suit rustic weddings. Flowers and greenery such as baby's breath, cotton flowers, as well as olive or eucalyptus leaves will look great as part of your rustic wedding bouquet. Consult your wedding florist, as they might have foolproof combination that will suit your personality and the wedding as well.
Photography: Austin Warnock Photography - onelove photography
Wrap it the rustic way
Make use of rope, burlap, and lace to wrap your bouquet for that rustic feel.
Photography: Almond Leaf Studios
Lastly, don't forget to also order rustic boutonnieres for the men as well.
Moving on to wedding cakes, let's discuss the sweet treats that will complete every party.
Photography: Mariel Hannah - Honey Honey Photography
Thanks to their intentionally unfinished yet eye-pleasing look, naked cakes are a popular choice for rustic weddings. Be sure to keep them protected during the event, especially if it's held outdoors, as naked cakes can get dry and dirty quickly.
Photography: Jose Villa - Heather Payne
Vines, fruits, plants
Use nature-grown elements to decorate your wedding cake. Vines, fruits, or even succulents will make lovely additions to the sweet treats.
Photography: Rachel Solomon - Kristin la Voie Photography
Rustic weddings are usually simple, intimate, and understated. So, a wedding cake with five or seven tiers will perhaps be too overwhelming. Stick with one to three tiers, four at most.
Photography: Savan Photography
Multiple short cakes
If you want something fancier then a three-tiered cake, why not have multiple short cakes on display? A great alternative to having one tall cake, this move will make your cakes the center of attention.
Photography: Elias Kordelakos - Simply Lace Photography
Not a big fan of cakes? Prepare a desert table with an assortment of pies, crisps, popcorn, cookies, or any other sweets you like as an alternative. Or, you can have a "cheese" cake as pictured above! Don't forget to add a selection of fruits and wine to come with it.
Escort cards and guest books
As part of your wedding decoration, the escort card display shouldn't be overlooked. Also don't forget to prepare a guest book, as it is one of the interactive elements in your wedding that will make your guests feel appreciated.
Photography: O'Malley Photographers - Honey Honey Photography
Organic escort cards
Use natural elements like drift wood as your escort cards. For an easier alternative, use regular paper for the cards and a tree branch as the display stool.
Photography: Coco Tran - Marianne Wilson Photography
You can also reuse other interesting objects like wine corks or stones as escort cards. Be creative with this one and think of something that no wedding has done before. Your guests will surely applaud your creativity.
Photography: Samuel Lippke - Jen Huang
Create innovative displays for your escort cards by reusing the things around you. Pictured on the left is a clever way to make use of an old screen door as an escort card display. Do you have any other ideas that might be interesting? Share to us in the comments below!
Photography: Julie Paisley - Mustard Seed Photography
Interactive thematic guestbook
Guest books are a lovely way to capture your guests' well wishes for you on your wedding day. The left photo features a tree with empty leaves on which your guests can leave their signatures. The one on the top right shows empty branches which will be filled with your guests' thumb prints as the tree's leaves.
We've talked about the wedding elements, now let's talk about the attires for both the bride and groom. What should rustic wedding attires look like?
Photography: Donny Zavala - Sara Weir
Skip the ball gown
If you've decided to have a rustic wedding, skip the over-sized ball gown and opt for something more simple and understated. Keep the train short and the veil modest. They are no less pretty, but more practical and suitable for a rustic wedding.
Photography: Anna Tereshina Photography - Ryan Ray Photography
Add some details
Since a big ball gown is out of the picture, spice up your dress with some extra details to keep it from looking plain. Ruffles, lace, cut-outs, or a cape are only some of the details to adorn your wedding dress with.
Photography: Brittrene Photo
More relaxed ensemble
Another great thing about rustic weddings is that you can wear a more relaxed ensemble without looking out of place. Cowboy boots or flats in exchange for heels, and jackets instead of blazers. How wonderful is that?
Sure, succulents are the go-to favors for rustic weddings, but we've come up with a few different ideas. Before your guests leave, present these lovely gifts for them to remember the day by.
Photography: via Me Pretty - onelove photography
Rustic weddings always bring tasty treats in glass jars to mind. You can put in pies, jam, tea, olive oil or whatever you want into the lovely jars. Your guests can also reuse these jars after they've finished what's inside.
Photography: Marina Koslow Photography - Catherine Rhodes
With the right touch, using mason jars in your wedding can be creative instead of clichéd. Versatile as they are, mason jars can be used not only as part of the decoration, but also as wedding favors. Your guests can use the jars for drinking during the wedding, then take them home after the party ends.
Photography: Sarah Box Photography - Wendy Laurel
A taste of home
Rustic weddings always evoke a sense of home. So why not gift your guests something to use at home? Wooden cutleries, tea towels, linen sprays, table covers, the options are endless.
Now that you've planned the rustic wedding of your dreams, it's time to prepare one element that will properly introduce it to your guests. Yes, we're talking about your wedding invitations. As always, we think that it would be best to keep your invitations and wedding theme consistent. A rustic wedding needs a rustic invitation, and here are some simple ways to create one.
Photography: Ozzy Garcia Photography
Keep your colors neutral
As with your decorations, keep your color palette looking neutral, like this beige-and-white wedding invitation suite paired with a wood texture.
Photography: Kelli Lyn
Elements of nature
To make your wedding invitations look even more natural, incorporate earthy textures like wood or burlap.
Photography: Brumley and Wells - Cmostr Photography
Also add natural elements into your designs, like this pear illustration. If you want to use the real thing, use feathers and some rope like the one on the right.
Photography: Laurelyn Savannah
Lastly, keep your invitation design simple. A simple and clean design works every time and it will support the rustic atmosphere you're trying to present.
There you have them, our top tips to have your very own rustic wedding. Which one of these tips is your favorite? Tell us in the comments section below! And if you finally decided to create your own rustic wedding, don't forget to share your story and submit your wedding pictures for a possible feature on The Bridestory Blog!