Dreaming of a Rustic Wedding? Here's How to Have One!

Picture this: You, walking down the aisle, with beautiful handmade decorations everywhere you look. Your guests all seated on wooden benches, and the sun beginning to set on the horizon. If this is what dreams are made of when you think of your wedding, then consider a rustic wedding theme! Rustic weddings are forever popular, combining nature, romance, and charm, and you, too, can create a magical setting to reflect your styles and personalities.

Within the rustic aesthetic, you can have so many different themes: rustic elegance in a luxury barn, western cowboy vibes with cowboy boots and horses, vintage rustic for the shabby chic look, boho rustic with sailcloth tents, just to name a few. The rustic wedding style gives couples an opportunity to become creative and create a romantic, memorable day that emphasizes the beauty of nature, organic textures, and a cozy "imperfect, but perfect" home feel. A rustic theme offers countless possibilities for d├ęcor, flowers, food, and other wedding details at every budget, so let's explore the ways on how you can bring the homespun appeal to your celebration!

[Photography: Ch & Sh Fredericks Photography via this LGBTQ orchard wedding on Tidewater and Tulle]

Rustic Wedding Colors

With the right color combinations, you can create a one-of-a-kind rustic wedding that fits your unique style. Whether you want romantic pink and champagne shades for your bouquets, neutral colors for your wedding party, nature-inspired hues for your reception space, or bold colors to add a visual statement, think about how your colors create a cohesive atmosphere and how you want your guests to feel when they walk into your ceremony and reception.

Beyond a lovely fall-themed wedding, rustic weddings run the gamut in color choices, so to start, look at your wedding venue. Rustic means a bit more casual and relaxed than a black tie affair, so take your cue from your venue's aesthetic. If you're in a traditional red barn venue, a more natural palette of greens, whites, and golds would complement the big red structure. If you're in a garden in springtime, perhaps a pastel mix. If you're getting married underneath the stars with large tents or surrounded by a lot of brown, jewel tones such as navy blue, cranberry red, and emerald green would shimmer and shine. Or if you're saying I Do in a predominantly white-colored room or area, bright colors could be fun for a modern rustic twist.

[Photography: Lindsay Collette via this spiced cherry old fashioned signature cocktail recipe on Tidewater and Tulle]

Popular Food & Drinks for a Rustic Wedding

To help you achieve the perfect rustic wedding menu, determine what your budget is first. Catering tends to be a big chunk of the wedding budget with most couples, and it all depends on what you're envisioning for your wedding food and drinks. Are you hiring a professional catering company who can also provide serving staff and cleanup services? Are you having folks bring a dish for a more casual event? Are you wanting a specialty station like meat carving or a wood-fired pizza oven? Are you hiring a mobile bar to offer alcoholic and soft drinks?

From hearty meats and comforting casseroles, to make-your-own taco bars, to artisanal cheese platters and classic comfort desserts like banana pudding, there are ideas a-plenty for any proper rustic or country celebration. Buffets are always steadfast favorites, especially when it comes to BBQ and home-cooked food. If you're reading this as a Virginian, then you'll probably already know that mini Smithfield ham biscuits and macaroni cheese bites are two local wedding favorites!

For signature drinks, bourbons and warm-toned drinks blended with their complementary mix-ins can go really well at a barn wedding venue. And if your venue will allow you, ask to bury a bottle of bourbon a month before the big day somewhere on the grounds to partake in this southern wedding tradition.

[Photography: Sharon Elizabeth via this rustic winery wedding on Tidewater and Tulle]

Rustic Wedding Decor Ideas

Rustic weddings can be magical affairs that are both beautiful and memorable. Whether it be a handmade seating chart, beautifully textured floral arrangements, or a row of twinkle lights to add a touch of romance, there's no shortage of creative decor ideas to make your rustic wedding spectacular.

When planning your rustic ceremony and reception decorations, chat with your venue to ensure that your chosen decorations won't interfere with the natural beauty of the setting or go against their decor restrictions (especially if it's an historic location!). Once you get the all clear on what you can do, start planning! Consider using a combination of natural items like branches, wood slices, and flowers alongside your personalized printed decorations such as banners and signs. These are instant timeless rustic favorites!

Don't forget to consider lighting when decorating, too! Little lights can create a big visual impact. Candles are a great way to create a romantic atmosphere for your tables while twinkly lights and paper lanterns hung above can provide a warm, inviting ambience. With the right combination of natural and personalized details, you’re sure to have an outdoor wedding your guests will never forget.

[Photography: Kelsie Scully Photography from our editor-in-chief's own wedding!]]

Fun Outdoor Activities for Your Guests

Use your spacious venue to the max with games and non-dancing entertainment! There are numerous ideas for outdoor wedding games that range from classic life-size board games to scavenger hunts. Whatever games you and your spouse decide on, make sure it reflects who you are as a couple and the kinds of things you like to do together as it adds a uniqueness to the day your guests will talk about long after the games are finished.

Over the years, custom cornhole boards have become a popular favorite, especially since you can use them at home after the event. Giant Jenga, giant tic-tac-toe, giant connect four, giant dominoes. Getting the idea? Literally go big on the grassy lawn areas of your wedding venue!

Imperfectly Perfect

When dreaming of a rustic wedding, no detail should be overlooked. From choosing a location with the perfect rustic charm to selecting a menu that fits the theme, everything should be considered. Incorporating personal touches such as handmade wedding favors or a signature drink can add a unique touch to the special day. With the right strategy and a bit of creativity, anyone can plan the rustic wedding of their dreams. As the old adage goes: "The best things in life are worth a little hard work." So don’t be afraid to get creative and have fun – your perfect rustic wedding is within reach!