Rustic wedding inspiration

rustic wedding inspiration board

What is "rustic elegance" and how do I get the look?

Author: Diana Ma

Having an outdoor wedding by a lake midsummer? Or how about an autumn affair with perfect views of the colorful mountains? Then take full advantage of your outdoor landscape by planning a perfectly rustic and elegant wedding!

Rustic weddings are casual in nature, cheerful and relaxed. The elegant part kicks in when you create an ambiance that is charming but still very put together. Don't be afraid to mix and match – but keep it coordinated by designing within your season, location, theme and color palate.

Here are 10 simple ideas to expand your imagination for a rustic and elegant wedding:

  1. First, assess the season and location of your wedding. Fall lakeside weddings, like the one I helped plan last September took advantage of gorgeous autumn colors back-dropped against Lake Winnipesaukee: burnt orange, gold, navy blue, periwinkle and burgundy. A summer beach wedding would inspire a totally different color palate. Establish your design parameters (season, location, theme and colors) and let your creativity work around them when designing the complete look.
  2. Don't be afraid to mix different patterns. One of my clients is forgoing rented dishware in standard white. She has opted to ask family and friends loan her plates within a certain color scheme to mix and match on the family-style dinner tables she has planned for a farm wedding next June. The mix in different patterns and shapes will make for a unique and personal table setting.
  3. Think mason and jelly jars, glass pitchers and galvanized buckets as centerpiece holders for all of the locally grown flowers!
  4. Tie an eclectic look together with the same ribbon throughout.
  5. Why not display escort cards in a birch wood box with home-grown grass and littered with acorns? It's easy and very cute!
  6. Fairy/strung white lights are inexpensive and elegant. Drape them along the edge of your tent and around trees.
  7. Sparklers are also great for photos and incredibly festive to bid farewell to the happy couple.
  8. Use mini chalkboards to display different food stations for a buffet-style wedding. The look is very sweet with farmer's market appeal!
  9. Set up a fire pit to be ignited as the night wears on. Have a pretty serving station nearby stocked with marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolates for do-it-yourself s'mores. The perfect snack after a long night of dancing!
  10. Expecting the weather to be crisp on your wedding? Keep guests warm with mulled wine or hot toddies during the cocktail hour!

Think back to family traditions that you can incorporate in your reception. One of my clients paid tribute to her grandmother by setting up a camp-themed candy table that mimicked the variety shop she had when the grandkids were young. A beautiful portrait of her grandmother was printed in sepia tones and featured in a distressed white frame.

No matter how large or small your guest list, your outdoor wedding can be as memorable and sentimental as you want to make it. The sky's the limit in terms of design elements! Just be sure to keep it natural, charming and simple.

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About the Author

Diana Ma is a wedding planning expert who has produced weddings in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. She is the owner of Diana Ma Weddings & Events. For more information, visit

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