Photo: Richard Barlow
Every bride and groom has their own vision of where they'll say "I do."
Some couples want a quick City Hall wedding with nothing more than a witness or two. Others dream of having an extravagant, black-tie affair at The Plaza Hotel (minus the Kate Hudson/Anne Hathaway throwdown in Bride Wars, of course).
For some, it’s all about the rustic vibe.
“Rustic” can take on different forms. It can be country style, boho, or cottagecore. However, it always involves natural elements, making outdoor venues perfect for a rustic celebration.
No matter where in the world you’re planning your wedding day, there are plenty of rustic venues to choose from (and lots of ways to give any venue a rustic feel).
Here’s how to find — or style — the perfect venue for your rustic wedding.
Look For Venues With Natural Beauty
Photo: Bella Memphis / Taylor Square
Rustic has a natural, unfussy vibe, so it’s easy to pull off this theme if you’re having an outdoor wedding.
When touring and visiting venues for your big day, checkout these types of venues:
Choosing a venue that already has a rustic feel is ideal, but your location may make that tricky. For example, if you live in New York City, you may need to venture Upstate to have your the barn wedding of your dreams.
Can’t find a rustic wedding venue in your area?
There are LOTS of ways to make a non-rustic venue look like the natural, casual setting you want.
Blank space venues, such as warehouses or industrial spaces, are much better choices for this approach. These usually have minimal décor and can easily be transformed into a rustic wonderland with the right accents and decorations!
Sometimes, the best rustic wedding venues aren’t wedding venues at all. If someone in your family or network has more than a 1 acre property, you can style an outdoor ceremony or wedding reception with the feel of a true farm wedding.
Some higher-end vacation rentals allow weddings and special events. Look for outdoor gathering spots like firepits or a gazebo.
Add Rustic Elements Wherever You Can
Need to turn a venue that isn’t particularly rustic into one that it is?
It’s easier to do than you may think!
All it takes are a few specific pieces of wedding decor to make your vision a reality. You can make a space look more rustic by adding elements like these:
In addition to creating a rustic reception space, there’s also a way to give your ceremony site a more rustic feel:
A wooden wedding arch!
With a few pieces of wood, a level, a hammer, and nails, anyone can build their own wedding arch!
Read more here: DIY Wedding Arches for Your Ceremony
How to Choose Rustic Bridesmaid Dresses
Photo: Bella Nashville / Blackbird and Rye
You can also create a rustic vibe in the way you dress your wedding party.
For a country wedding vibe, dress your bridesmaids in knee-length dresses with cowboy boots.
To pull off the cottagecore vibe, opt for lace bridesmaid dresses or long bridesmaid dresses with short sleeves, ruffles, or pleated accents.
When it comes to choosing dresses for your bridesmaids, there are no hard and fast rules as to what’s rustic and what isn’t.
However, with so many options to choose from, we have some tips that will make it easier to find the perfect bridesmaid dresses for your rustic wedding.
Whether you’re envisioning your besties in sleeveless, backless, floor-length bridesmaid dresses or want them to look a bit more playful in short dresses with deep V-necks, there are lots of ways to give your wedding party a rustic look:
Tip 1: Choose Natural/Neutral Colors
Pastels, mid-tones, and dark hues work well for a rustic theme. Colors that exist in nature, such as blush pink, light blue, and sage, are ideal. Neutral and natural shades, such as varying hues of yellow, gray, and brown, are also great options.
The only colors that we would recommend steering away from are super vibrant shades, such as fuchsia pink, bright purple, or bright red.
Tip 2: Fabric and Embellishments Matter
For a rustic wedding, color choices take a backseat to fabric choices. Whether you’re leaning towards short bridesmaid dresses or long gowns, fabric choice is important!
Heavily beaded dresses, satin gowns, and sequins tend to look more glamorous and chic than natural and rustic. So if it’s the organic, casual vibe you’re going for, long chiffon bridesmaid dresses, lace dresses, and unadorned designs reign supreme.
Tip 3: Which Necklines and Silhouettes Are Best?
Cap sleeve, long sleeve, sleeveless, or one shoulder?
Strapless, high-neck bateau, cowl neck, or halter neckline?
Good news, brides to be:
Sleeve length and neckline do not define whether a dress is rustic or not — it’s much more about the overall silhouette.
We love a structured A-line, tea-length dress, and we revel in any moment when we get to wear a figure-flaunting maxi dress.
But for a rustic event, we usually prefer a dress with a bit more movement.
Rustic is natural, easy, and unfussy, so something that blows in the breeze is ideal!
Shop our full collection of bridesmaid dresses here!
Serve a Rustic Meal
Photo: Alicia Nacenta
Another way to create that authentic rustic vibe is to serve your wedding guests a rustic meal.
We’re talking artisanal bread stations and grazing tables filled with fruits, veggies, cheeses, jams, and chutneys. We’re talking chicken-and-waffle sliders, shrimp-and-grits shooters, and other unassuming comfort foods as appetizers. We’re talking roast chicken or beef with hearty vegetable sides for dinner.
Let’s not forget about dessert!
Serve a semi-naked cake or cupcakes with minimal frosting instead of ones with thick, full icing and fondant flowers. Add miniature pies or fruit tarts to your dessert table. Serve mini cakes, one-bite desserts, or cocktails in mason jars.
When it comes to food, the options are endless!
With the right dresses, decorations, and food, you can have the rustic wedding of your dreams, no matter what type of venue you choose.
Of course, you can’t forget about music. If you’re having a country-style wedding, this article might help you choose your first dance song: From Old Classic to New Country: The 37 Best First Dance Country Songs.
Whether your special day is set against a backdrop of rolling hills, a red barn, or rows of vines in wine country, wedding planning for a rustic wedding can be simplified by following our advice above.
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