A Guide to Planning a Rustic Wedding

Rustic weddings, known for their charming blend of simplicity and elegance, have gained immense popularity. They create a sense of warmth and intimacy, often bringing in natural elements and a relaxed atmosphere. This guide will walk you through the various aspects of planning a rustic wedding, from choosing the perfect venue to the final touches in decor and attire.

Choosing the Perfect Rustic Venue

While any venue can be transformed into a rustic vibe with the right vision and execution, choosing the right venue helps set the stage and create a starting point for your rustic wedding. Options range from barns and farms, which offer authentic wooden structures, exposed beams, and a classic rural landscape, to vineyards with their picturesque rolling hills and rustic wineries. Historic estates provide a vintage charm with unique historical backdrops, while outdoor settings like forests, parks, or backyards allow for a more personalized and intimate setting. Each of these venues embodies the quintessential elements of a rustic setting: natural beauty and organic charm.

Decorating with Rustic Charm

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Decor plays a crucial role in bringing the rustic theme to life. Incorporating natural elements like wood in tables, chairs, and hand-crafted signs, along with floral arrangements using wildflowers and greenery, creates an authentic rustic atmosphere.

Vintage touches such as mason jars for lighting or vases and combinations of burlap and lace add to the charm. Lighting, particularly the use of soft twinkle lights and lanterns, is essential in creating a warm, inviting ambiance that defines a rustic wedding.

Selecting a Color Palette

The color palette for a rustic wedding should mirror the natural and earthy tones associated with the theme.  Consider colors like browns, greens, creams, light pinks, and blues for the primary palette.  Or add in bold accents like reds, oranges or navy can add an element of contrast. This combination of earthy tones and pastels strikes a perfect balance between rustic charm and elegance.  Consider sticking to brighter colors, with tan and light green wedding colors, or leaning into darker earthy tones, with burgundy or terracotta wedding colors.

Floral Arrangements and Bouquets

Flowers are a key element in enhancing the rustic aesthetic of a wedding. You can choose to utilize wildflowers, pampas, and succulents for bouquets, table arrangements, and decor encapsulates the spirit of rusticity. Incorporating herbs and greenery not only adds a unique touch but also brings a fragrant, fresh element to the décor.

Attire for the Rustic Wedding

Attire for a rustic wedding should complement the relaxed yet elegant vibe of the setting. For the bride, lace dresses are a classic and fitting choice, embodying both elegance and simplicity. The groom can opt for a tan or grey suit.  He might even consider tweed or linen for a casual but sophisticated look.

For the bridal party and your wedding guests, you can either stick with something more cohesive with a singular color or you can go with a mismatched theme of earthy tones to allow individual styles to shine through.  Below is an example of burnt orange wedding guest dresses worn by the wedding party.

Catering: A Taste of the Countryside

The catering at a rustic wedding should reflect the simplicity and quality of rustic dining. A farm-to-table approach, emphasizing fresh, local ingredients, is a great idea. Comfort foods such as BBQ can make the dining experience more relaxed and enjoyable. Beverages should include selections from local breweries and wineries, showcasing the best of local produce.


Entertainment and Activities

A rustic wedding, with its charming and relaxed setting, lends itself beautifully to a variety of entertainment options that can enhance the theme and delight guests. One of the highlights of such an event is often the music, which can significantly influence the ambiance. Acoustic bands, particularly those specializing in folk or country genres, are a perfect fit for this type of wedding. Their melodious tunes and earthy vibes resonate with the natural surroundings, creating an immersive and harmonious atmosphere. The selection of songs can range from classic country hits to soft, romantic folk melodies, setting the perfect backdrop for both the ceremony and the reception.

In addition to musical entertainment, rustic weddings often feature a range of outdoor games that add a playful and engaging element to the festivities. Cornhole, a popular lawn game, is a favorite at these events. It involves guests tossing bean bags into holes on a raised platform, offering a simple yet entertaining activity that appeals to all ages. This game, along with others like horseshoes, giant Jenga, or ring toss, encourages guests to mingle and provides a casual, fun way to pass the time, especially during cocktail hour or while the newlyweds are taking their photos.

Other Rustic Wedding Touches

Rustic wedding accessories –  Besides the quintessential rustic hats and boots that embody the spirit of rural elegance, there are numerous other small accessories that can significantly enhance the theme. Consider incorporating items like handcrafted leather belts, which add a touch of rugged sophistication, or vintage-inspired lace handkerchiefs, perfect for adding a delicate, nostalgic flair.  Additionally, handmade jewelry with natural elements like wood, stones, or beads can complement the rustic aesthetic. These subtle, yet impactful accessories work together to create a harmonious and picturesque setting, perfectly encapsulating the essence of a rustic wedding.

Wedding Favors with a Personal Touch – Wedding favors at a rustic wedding should be thoughtful and align with the theme. Homemade treats like jams, honey, or baked goods make delightful gifts, as do eco-friendly options like seed packets or small potted plants.

Rustic Wedding Invitations – The invitations set the tone for a rustic wedding. Using materials like Kraft paper and incorporating simple, nature-inspired designs can create an inviting first impression that aligns with the rustic theme.

Capturing the Moment: Rustic Wedding Photography

Choosing the right photographer for a rustic wedding ensures that the unique essence and charm of the day are captured and preserved. A photographer experienced in rustic or outdoor weddings will have a keen eye for utilizing the natural scenery, which is a hallmark of such celebrations. This means they should be adept at framing shots that incorporate the rolling hills, wooded landscapes, or rustic barns and farmhouses that often characterize the venue. Such backdrops can create stunning, timeless photographs.

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The photographer’s ability to capture the organic, candid moments of the day is equally crucial. Rustic weddings often have a laid-back and intimate atmosphere, and the photography should reflect this. A skilled photographer will move unobtrusively among the guests, capturing laughter, tears, and spontaneous interactions that occur throughout the day. These candid shots, when juxtaposed with more formal portraits, create a more comprehensive and authentic record of the event.

Furthermore, the photographer should have a talent for harnessing natural light to its fullest potential. The soft glow of golden hour or the gentle light filtering through tree branches can add a magical quality to the photographs. Expertise in this area ensures that the couple and their guests are photographed in the most flattering and enchanting light, further enhancing the rustic charm.


Planning a rustic wedding is about creating a harmony between elegance and simplicity. By thoughtfully incorporating these elements, your wedding day will not only be beautiful and unique but also a true reflection of your personal style and love story.

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