A sophisticated blend of country, vintage, and ethereal wedding styles, a rustic affair is often categorized by unique woven elements, floral-adorned tablescapes, wooden backdrops, and farm-to-table features. Dreaming of planning your own rustic celebration? Here’s what experts recommend.
Think about ambiance.
Lighting can transform your reception or ceremony space, and it should be a major focal point of any design plan. “The lattice-look of these hanging fixtures gave the room a touch of sophistication, as well as polished whimsy,” she Caitlin Campbell, senior coordinator and designer at True Event.
Embellish your seat.
For a decorative walk down the aisle, Erin Dahl Sellers, associate director of Revel Décor, suggests using florals, greenery, and other ornate elements to enhance guest chairs and play off of the natural elements of an outdoor ceremony space.
Go bold with your bouquet.
An ode to the relaxed style of a rustic wedding, Rebekah Sams, wedding event specialist at Gillespie’s Flowers and Productions, suggests using dried lavender in lieu of traditional flowers for your bouquet. “The fragrance is amazing, and it makes for a great keepsake!” she says.
By using larger branches and natural wooden poles as the base for this rustic chuppah, Eatherley Schultz, founder of Floressence Flowers, was able to create an elegant structure without making it look overly cheesy. “When going for rustic, it’s easy to get kitschy,” says Schultz, adding, “attach soft florals to existing structures, like a stone fireplace or birch structure, to add elegance and refinement.”
Lean on your surroundings.
“Make the most of your rustic setting by maximizing your time outdoors,” suggests Kara Stutzman, sales manager at Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards, who used the backdrop of this couple’s outdoor nuptials to showcase a day filled with natural rustic elements. “From a gorgeous outdoor ceremony to a sun-streamed cocktail hour with elegant table settings, the alfresco ambiance will bring your theme to life!” she says.
Utilize farm-to-table freshness.
When designing dishes with a pastoral theme in mind, an emphasis on local ingredients and undeniable freshness are the basis for any menu. John Karangis, executive chef of Union Square Events, makes a point to create food that is delicious, and both seasonally inspiring and exciting for each guest. “Then I work within whatever color palettes are chosen to accomplish my goals,” Karangis adds.
Use wood as a decorative accent.
When throwing a rustic reception al fresco, utilizing the organic wooden elements found in nature is one way to elevate your overall design. “Capturing the wood features of this outdoor ceremony (the naturally crafted chairs, table) contributed to the rustic feel of the evening,” says Brian Leahy, owner of Brian Leahy Photography. “The twinkle lights hung from the trees, as well as the stone floor, made for a wedding album that was filled with plenty of pastoral inspiration,” adds Leahy.
“A rustic vibe comes together by making the floral design seem as if it was pre-existing to create a Provençal and natural feel,” says Guerdy Abraira, event designer at Ocean Flowers and Events. “By using lots of textured greenery—as well as wispy hanging florals—we were able to craft an altar that blended in organically with the nature of our surroundings,” Abraira adds.
Find a focus.
Allowing florals to take center stage of this rustic botanical garden, Kimiko Hosaki, founder and creative director at Elements by K.H. & Co., was able to create a focal point throughout a variety of different design elements. “Using crates and removing chairs from the head table, for example, we created the effect of florals cascading off of the table,” she says.
Enhance everyday props.
When looking for furniture or other decorative objects to blend in naturally with an outdoor setting, Tessa Brand, owner of Tessa Lyn Events suggests using farm tables. “You can always dress them up with beautiful charger plates and runners,” she says.
Incorporate pops of color with flowers.
For this wooden name card display, Sherene Hulugalle, owner of Wisteria Lane, used blush-toned blooms and assorted greenery to liven the display’s wooden foundation.
Compile treasured objects.
To complement the rustic feel of the wedding’s barn venue, Diana Chouinard, lead event planner and designer at Jubilee Events, created a tablescape that paid homage to some of the couple’s most fond memories. “There are so many memories around these glasses that took the couple back to their weekend celebrations with friends and family,” Chouinard says.
Elevate your installations.
Drawing the eye up, the suspended greenery from the top of this couple’s barn venue created a sophisticated final design and added elegance to the atmosphere. “The lush foliage against the dark grain of the venue’s wooden structure made for the most eye-catching display,” says Jennifer Zukovsky, co-owner of Fionna Floral.
Make a significant impact with small details.
For these blush boutonnieres, Kathleen Deery, owner of Kathleen Deery Design, decided to go with small scale florals, which were photographed on a beautiful wooden tray.
Showcase your tablescape.
“Your tablescape is a chance to really play with your day-of style,” says Eyal Tessler, owner of Tessler Events. For this affair, the use of farm-to-table florals helped add a bucolic feel to the table display.