Getting Hitched: The Cowboy Wedding Aesthetic

Bride in white dress posed with seven bridesmaids wearing burnt orange dresses in front of a barnPhoto: Bella Raleigh / K.Hice Photography

 

You love wide, open spaces. You love line dancing to country music. You love comfort food and southern cuisine, especially when it’s accompanied by a shot of whiskey. Your vibe is natural and rugged and rustic … 

Now that you’re getting married and planning your wedding theme, how do you incorporate all of those elements of your style into your big day

With a cowboy wedding theme, of course!

Whether you’re hiring a wedding planner or DIYing your wedding on your own, here are some things you should do to pull off the cowboy wedding aesthetic. 


Choose a Rustic Wedding Venue


When it’s time to choose a wedding venue, look for spaces that have a natural, country-chic feel.

Cowboys ride horses, and since horses often live in barns, a barn venue is ideal. If the property has horses grazing, even better. Just think of all the incredible photos you can snap with some majestic equines in the background!

Of course, a barn wedding is just one option. If you don’t like or have access to a barn, don’t worry; any country setting will work.

With a few unique details, you can transform any open, outdoor venue with grass and greenery into a cowboy-chic space. Add a few bales of hay for seating and some old barrels to use as rustic cocktail tables for an extra western feel.

Need a focal point for your wedding ceremony or a cool backdrop for cocktail hour photo ops? Set up a simple wooden arch decorated with greenery or wrapped with leather ribbons. 


Decorate With Western Details


Black trailer redesigned as a bar with a neon sign that says "Drink" hanging in itPhoto: Mackenzie Alex


When planning a western wedding, it’s all about the details. Rather than decorating your venue with paper, acrylic, or metallic decorations, look for ranch-inspired items and natural wood elements to maximize the cowboy vibe.

Nothing screams cowboy wedding like a horse trailer turned bar! Leave it unadorned, or decorate it with flowers or greenery — either way, it will draw the eye of a thirsty wedding guest looking for a beer!

Forget about decorating your tables with tall, flowering centerpieces in glass vases. Instead, pot flowers in wooden vases or buckets for a more country-inspired look. Finish off your tablescapes with horseshoe-shaped table numbers and old lanterns to give your reception a truly western vibe.

Adding leather and suede details can also make your wedding feel more cowboy-esque. Wrap or tie strips of leather or suede across the back of your reception chairs, or set your tables with a suede runner or leather placemats.

The trick to decorating a cowboy wedding is this:

Just stick to natural elements that you might find on a farm or ranch. Avoid anything that looks too glitzy, too modern, or too traditional. 


Serve a Cowboy-Inspired Menu


Bacon and cups of alcohol on metal trayPhoto: Austin Gros


To keep the western theme going throughout your wedding day, serve your wedding guests a filling meal with traditional southern flavors and country-inspired dishes.

Cowboys love meat, so pulled-pork sliders and mini chicken biscuit sandwiches are perfect choices for a casual cocktail hour. Another way to wow your guests and satisfy their appetites is to set up a bacon bar or have your wait staff pass trays filled with different types of bacon. YUM!

Real cowboys spend their time on ranches and farms, so a farm-to-table menu is the best choice for a real deal western wedding.

You can keep it casual with short ribs and BBQ chicken or go a bit more upscale by serving thick steaks. Add country-style veggies, such as corn and potatoes, and rustic loaves of bread with flavored butters and dips to make it even more delicious.

Presentation is everything. Here are some additional ways you can cowboy-ify your wedding menu and add unique style to your reception space:

  • -Use bandanas as napkins
  • -Use old whiskey bottles as water jugs.
  • -Serve cocktails in mason jars.
  • -Set up a self-service beer tap wall.
  • -Add a whiskey bar cart so guests can sample different types of whiskey

    No matter what you serve or how you serve it, always be sure to include a fish dish or a vegan option for guests who don’t eat meat.


    Get Creative With Your Cake


    Tiered wedding cake make of oatmeal cookies stacked with cream in between each layerPhoto: Fox & Film


    Make your country wedding even more memorable by opting for a fun, slightly more casual cake than the traditional five-tier white wedding cake.

    From cookie cakes filled with marshmallows to cakes crafted from tiers of donuts, there are all sorts of fun ways to top off your wedding dinner with a sweet, unique, country-inspired dessert.

    Rustic cobblers, crumbles in mini cast iron pans, miniature homemade pies, and s’mores also make great cowboy-style additions to a sweet table or dessert bar. 


    Add Casual Accessories to Your Wedding Attire


    Bride in white dress posing with six bridesmaids in light blue dressesPhoto: Bella San Antonia / Pine & Blossom


    No matter what colors you choose for your Wild West wedding, there are a lot of ways you can make your wedding gown and wedding party look a bit more cowboy-chic.

    A simple lace wedding dress is all the bride needs. Add a pair of cowgirl boots beneath your dress, and you’re all set!

    Choose bridesmaid dresses in flowy, breezy silhouettes. From pastels to brights to neutrals to prints, any color scheme can work.

    To make your bridesmaid dresses look more western, have your girls wear cowboy boots instead of heels and add western buckle belts around their waists.

    For the guys, ditch the traditional tux for a shirt, tie, and vest combo. Add cowboy hats and bolo ties, and you’ll have an instant cowboy wedding party!


    Dance the Night Away to Country Music!


    No western-style wedding would be complete without some line dancing and country music. 

    If you’re having a DJ, give them a list of all of your favorite country tunes, as well as other songs in other genres that you want to dance to throughout the night. If you’re having a live band, consider hiring an acoustic group with a banjo to create that authentic country sound.

    Check out our list of the 37 Best First Dance Country Songs to dance to at your wedding reception!


    Make Your Getaway in Style


    Old car with flowers on the hoodPhoto: May The E.K Wedding Transport


    Don’t forget to arrange transportation for your grand exit from the wedding reception. Instead of driving away in a limousine or a vintage Rolls Royce, go out in true country style in a vintage pickup truck, a longhorn Cadillac, or a tiny little surrey with some fringe on the top!

    Want to make an even more dramatic exit?

    Ride off into the sunset on horseback, or climb aboard a rugged, rustic horse-drawn carriage!


    Conclusion


    From the food you serve to the music you play to how you decorate your wedding venue, pulling off a cowboy wedding is easier than you may think.

    With attention to detail and a few specific design choices, you can make your cowgirl wedding dreams come true!

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