How to Have a Rustic Themed Wedding

A rustic theme is becoming one of the fastest-growing wedding trends. It’s easy to see why. They’re simple and can be fairly inexpensive compared to that of a traditional formal setting.

They’re also beautiful in their simplicity. Mother Nature provides some of the best tools and settings you need to incorporate into your wedding day. Rustic weddings offer charm and character. Guests enjoy the casual atmosphere and can sometimes be more relaxed.

Most rustic weddings are held outdoors. If you’re choosing an indoor venue due to weather or season, consider a simple historic chapel or barn. Bails of hay make terrific seating arrangements for your guests. Or for the very easy-breezy outdoor rustic wedding, simply spread checkered clothes on the ground picnic style!

Tell your guests to come dressed casually. Rustic weddings are best enjoyed comfortably. Even the wedding party can make the best of this! The bridal party can sport anything from flip-flops to cowboy boots under their dresses. Or they can not wear any shoes at all! On a warm summer day fresh grass feels great on the bare tootsies! Make sure to get that pedicure first, though!

Wild flowers are a natural choice for your floral arrangements, both in bouquets and centerpieces. Simply arrange some in a watering can or clear glass jar for a table centerpiece. Or include some pine cones and branches for extra added rustic charm.

Earth tone neutral colors tend to be the easiest to incorporate with rustic themes, but throwing in a few bright colors can really jazz up your overall look! Imagine a pair of hot pink cowboy boots popping out under your wedding dress while you dance. How about an electric blue here or there? Maybe you’d like to match nature’s own bright colors and go with cheery citrus tones? You can match the lemonade!

For the reception you can hand out picnic baskets if you went with blanket seating which is also great if you went with the hay bails. Or you can treat your guests to a barbeque! Add some corn on the cob, baked beans and cornbread to the menu.

Picnic tables are perfect for the rustic wedding. Simply add a checked cloth or wildflower-printed table covers to add wedding day charm. Throw in a chalkboard sign here or there to let guests know where to sign the guest book or what’s on the menu.

Whatever you serve, buffet-style or family-style arrangements are the most casual and cozy. Fill tin buckets or barrels with ice and bottles drinks. Place pitchers on lemonade on the tables with frosted drinking jars for an extra cute touch.

For the cake, try another fabulous new trend in weddings-the “naked” cake. This natural-looking alternative to the traditional heavily iced and decoratively covered with fondant cake you’re used to seeing. What’s different is you can see the outer edge of the cake itself. The benefit to that is that you can see the layers in between! The naked cake has a naturally simple look to it.

Cupcakes also make an easy alternative to the traditional wedding cake and are perfect for the rustic theme. Don’t be afraid to use plenty of chocolate frosting! The earthy brown tones go perfect with the theme, so no need to use all white icing for the rustic wedding!

A candy buffet filled with old-fashioned style candies is simply darling for the rustic wedding. Don’t forget the s’mores! What better way to top off the festivities of a rustic country wedding than with a bonfire? You can’t have a bonfire without s’mores!

But before the sun goes down, let your guests enjoy a few rounds of corn hole toss or horseshoe! When the night dancing begins, lanterns and simple white lights are the perfect setting.

Don’t forget the wedding favors! Make sure to send your guests home with some darling rustic themed wedding favors such as photo frames, luminary lantern tea light holders, or chalkboard shot glasses.

Maybe your photographer can put a few photos of your special day in black and white. This really can enhance the simplicity and elegance of the day.

Your rustic wedding can be as much of a family reunion or barbecue as it is the day you say “I do”. What a fun way to celebrate and begin your life together! Everyone is sure to have a ball. Your friends and family will be talking about what a great time they had at your rustic wedding for years to come.

What is ‘Rustic Elegance’ and How Do I Get the Look?

Having an outdoor wedding by a lake midsummer? Or how about an autumn affair with perfect views of the colorful mountains? Then take full advantage of your outdoor landscape by planning a perfectly rustic and elegant wedding! Rustic weddings are casual in nature, cheerful and relaxed. The elegant part kicks in when you create an ambiance that is charming but still very put together. Don’t be afraid to mix and match – but keep it coordinated by designing within your season, location, theme and color palate.

Here are 10 simple ideas to expand your imagination for a rustic and elegant wedding:

1. First, assess the season and location of your wedding. Fall lakeside weddings, like the one I helped plan last September took advantage of gorgeous autumn colors back-dropped against Lake Winnipesaukee: burnt orange, gold, navy blue, periwinkle and burgundy. A summer beach wedding would inspire a totally different color palate. Establish your design parameters (season, location, theme and colors) and let your creativity work around them when designing the complete look.

2. Don’t be afraid to mix different patterns. One of my clients is forgoing rented dishware in standard white. She has opted to ask family and friends loan her plates within a certain color scheme to mix and match on the family-style dinner tables she has planned for a farm wedding next June. The mix in different patterns and shapes will make for a unique and personal table setting.

3. Think mason and jelly jars, glass pitchers and galvanized buckets as centerpiece holders for all of the locally grown flowers! Tie an eclectic look together with the same ribbon throughout.

4. Why not display escort cards in a birch wood box with home-grown grass and littered with mini-daisies/aster (summer) or acorns (fall)? It’s easy and very cute!

5. Fairy/strung white lights are inexpensive and elegant. Drape them along the edge of your tent and around trees.

6. Sparklers are also great for photos and incredibly festive to bid farewell to the happy couple.

7. Use mini chalkboards to display different food stations for a buffet-style wedding. The look is very sweet with farmer’s market appeal.

8. Set up a fire pit to be ignited as the night wears on. Have a pretty serving station nearby stocked with marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolates for do-it-yourself s’mores. The perfect snack after a long night of dancing.

9. Expecting the weather to be crisp on your wedding? Keep guests warm with mulled wine or hot toddies during the cocktail hour.

10. Think back to family traditions that you can incorporate in your reception. One of my clients paid tribute to her grandmother by setting up a camp-themed candy table that mimicked the variety shop she had when the grandkids were young. A beautiful portrait of her grandmother was printed in sepia tones and featured in a distressed white frame.

No matter how large or small your guest list, your outdoor wedding can be as memorable and sentimental as you want to make it. The sky’s the limit in terms of design elements. Just be sure to keep it natural, charming and simple.

Wedding Photographer and Wedding Venue – Tips For the Bride and Groom

Often the ‘bride and groom to be’ approach me in the very early stages of their wedding planning and are undecided on their wedding venue. I often get asked the question by these young couples looking to get married, whether or not the wedding venue makes a difference to the wedding photographs. There is no simple answer to this question – it is actually yes and no.

As a professional wedding photographer, I have been to many wedding venues in Johannesburg, many of which have truly breathtaking surroundings. It is for that reason that I say ‘yes’ to the above question, because obviously a beautiful wedding venue such as the many wedding venues in Muldersdrift (namely Oakfield Farm, Glenburn Lodge, Avianto, Moon and Sixpence, Gardenworld, etc) have both beautiful landscapes and gardens in which to take unique wedding photos.

I got married at a wedding venue called Glencove which is part of Glenburn Lodge that I absolutely loved (and still do – I am such a sentimental fool…) because the gardens and the chapel and the whole setting is just so intimate and romantic….. I just love it!

One of my favourite wedding photographs is one where my husband and I are standing on the bridge over the river, looking into each others eyes and the lighting is just beautiful. It is the perfect setting for the perfect wedding photograph and it completely captured the moment. Having said that, I think any photo where my husband & I are looking into each other’s eyes would be special to me, regardless of the background or the lighting or the setting. It is precisely for that reason, that I also say ‘no’ to the question about wedding venues making a difference to the photographs.

Well that, and also because a good photographer can usually work around most settings and find ways to make the photographs beautiful and unique. A good wedding photographer captures the special moments and the emotions of your wedding day and the setting shouldn’t make a difference to any of that.

The most rustic, basic venue can make for beautiful and unique photographs. Likewise for an ultra-modern supposedly ‘unromantic’ setting…. Obviously, depending on your photographer and the kind of style of photographs you prefer, many photos can be very clich├ęd so be sure to choose your photographer and your wedding venue accordingly.

All in all, I always recommend that you choose a venue that you feel comfortable with, that you resonate with and that you really love, for no rational or logical reason – but simply because it feels good to you. Trust me, when you feel good, the photographs will show it and you will be the most beautiful bride and groom in your own unique way. I wish you the wedding of your dreams and photos that you will cherish forever!