OMG… what could be better than an outdoor wedding on a beautiful day? The sunshine, the crisp feeling of an end of summer breeze, the organic smells nature creates as it begins to transform into hibernation. All paint a magical background for your nuptials. I know most outdoor weddings follow a “garden party” theme, but do not worry. There is a new trend moving into town. A trend that mixes a little touch of country with the elegance of a garden theme… we call it Rustic!
I L-O-V-E Autumn weddings. The fall is a beautiful time of year. It starts to get cooler and the foliage change in most parts of the U.S. creates amazing backdrops for weddings. I am absolutely enthralled that this rustic theme is taking hold. It emerged last season, but was overpowered by vintage. This year, make no mistake it is here to stay. This theme has been made popular to mainstream viewers by resources like Martha Stewart and Town and Country. Think Better Homes and Gardens meets the Hamptons.
Using elements from nature
To achieve this look you are going to need to pull from nostalgic looks, like a vintage, retro, and urban. All these elements mix to make a sophisticated and elegant feel, while still creating a relaxed and classic atmosphere for your guests. Pull elements from nature to achieve your overall theme. You can use bark, leaves, pine cones, and wildflowers to decorate your tables. Line your tables with natural colored linens like taupe, beige, and cream. Use warm colors to contrast. My suggestion would be light pinks and yellows (for spring) and oranges and reds (for the fall), and lots of candlelight!
I’ve seen some designers set their tables up using bails of hay instead of chairs. It looks great in photos, but may cause problems for seasonal allergy sufferers. The bails of hay can serve double duty and be used for your ceremony, then can be moved to your reception. See if you can find an old barn to rent. You will more than likely have to search outside city limits, but you may get lucky. The barn can be used for both your ceremony and reception site. It will provide a good dance floor for you and your guests to dance the night away! Hire a square dance caller to organize your dancing. Most can recommend a band or DJ to help with the music. I know it sounds a little silly, but it will be loads of fun for both you and your guests.
Keep the look simple and let nature speak for itself
Have your maids dressed in a soft flowy fabric. Use the same inspiration for your ensemble. I like the simple slip dresses with a floral headdress and veil. Put the boys in suites or dress pants with a shirt and tie. Have your wedding party mix it up by wearing cowboy hats or boots. Your pictures will be amazing! I think a cocktail hour with finger foods works well and a sit down dinner served family style to follow. It’s an alternative not typically seen, but serving family style is a little more formal than buffet. Serving comfort foods like gourmet burgers and mac and cheese with sweet corn is a fun choice to the standard meat or chicken. If you still want traditional choices, why not offer BBQ chicken or brisket? Do a simple buttercream frosted cake. I most definitely suggest using a dessert table with multiple small layered cakes. It fits well with the theme and will be beautiful in pictures!
Keep the party going!
For further entertainment add a vintage photo booth where your guests can take pictures of themselves. You can also set up some games like horse shoe toss or have a fortuneteller. Have a small refreshment stand set up with bottles of pop, wine coolers, and beer in ice buckets. It eliminates bar service, but it would be a good idea to designate someone from the wait staff to be in charge of replenishing drinks. Should you wish to have wine; you can choose to leave a bottle of red and white selections on your tables, or opt for a poured service with dinner. A poured service will save you money in the long run by eliminating corking fees and you will only be charged for the number of bottles used, not the number opened. Skip the champagne toast… it’s a country inspired theme after all!! Your guests can toast with what they are drinking.
Fun transportation for your guests
Finally, if your destination includes a walk from where your guests are parking try to provide a shuttle service. I’m not talking about renting vehicles for a walk 100ft away. I’m talking about something fun like a horse-drawn wagon… kind of like a hay ride! The last thing you want are your guests trudging through tall grass and mud in their good clothes. See if you can work some deal with the site owner you are renting from. They may be able to suggest a local farmer or horse ranch that can accommodate your needs. Overall, I want you to be inspired to have fun and create a beautiful and unique wedding day you want to share with your friends and loved ones. A day both you and your family will talk about for years to come!