Apr 12

3 Tips for Planning Rustic Weddings

I originally wrote this post a couple months ago as part of my monthly guest feature over on Simply Blue Weddings.  It was titled “3 Mistakes Couples Make When Planning Rustic Weddings”.  But after it when live, I felt bad.  I had just posted something really negative and it bothered me.

So today, I’m sharing it here on my personal blog, but I’ve reworked it a bit, shedding a more positive light on the subject.  Here are some things you should do to make sure that you’re rustic celebration is just as fabulous as you always dreamed it would be.

Quicksand Rose | Rustic Wedding Planning Tips | The Day's Design | Ashley Slater Photography

Photography: Ashley Slater Photography |  Styling & Floral Design: The Day’s Design  |  Calligraphy: Wondrous Whimsy

Properly Define Rustic

What does rustic mean to you? In the wedding industry, it seems any celebration that doesn’t take place in a formal ballroom (and even some that do) can easily be defined as rustic. However, these seem to be three different type of “rustic” bride that I most normally come across.

There’s shabby, vintage and sometimes even a little dirty “rustic”.  This bride includes décor choices that you might generally associate with a barn wedding.  Perhaps horse saddles, wooden crates, vintage table numbers and burlap accents.

Then there’s outdoorsy rustic.  Think almost woodland wedding or even more nautical style.  Birch bark, tree stumps and mossy touches might be mixed in.  You could also incorporate antlers, sand or outdoor activities that the couple enjoy together.  This is where natural lovers rejoice.

Finally, there’s the girl who describes her day as rustic elegance.  She dreams of a touch of sophistication paired with wide open spaces.  Think gold flatware against a raw wooden table.  Everything stays sleek and refined while complimenting a slightly more relaxed mood.

And of course there’s a hybrid of any of the above which makes every day extremely unique.

Choose the Right Venue

Michigan is home to a countless number of barns, wineries and other outdoor spaces that lend themselves so well towards this style of gathering.  With such a plethora of earthy spaces, I think that’s why we tend to assume that everyone getting married with a loose bouquet of wildflowers is search of that casual vibe.  However, we mustn’t forget that there are many hotel ballrooms, elegant restaurants and rental halls that also can host amazing events.  And not all of them pair well with burlap, wooden crates or nautical rope décor.  Make sure that your venue provides the right backdrop and sets the perfect tone for you wedding day.

Don’t Assume that Planning will be Simple

I hear it all the time, I want a simple wedding day.  Don’t we all?  Does anyone want their day to be an overly complicated nightmare??  The fact of the matter is, regardless of the style or theme of your wedding day, you’re still inviting guests, they still need invitations, chairs, tables, linens, food, centerpieces, transportation and about a 100 other details that go into the planning of a successful event. Oh and you thought it would cost less because it’s a rustic wedding?  While there might be a few details that become more casual and you could possibly skip out on the draping or extremely tall formal centerpieces, but that greenery garland and beautiful compote centerpiece is still cost money.  And the price tag on your flank steak is the same whether you serve it in a fancy ballroom or on a tented hillside.

I love working in casual elegance as well as grander ballrooms.  I think that’s one of the reasons that I love what I do so much, I get to meet a variety of people, working in different atmosphere and am never limited on my creativity.  Each wedding as is individual as the couple planning it.

Shelby signature

Looking for more wedding planning tips?  Read my guest feature over on Simply Blue Weddings the second Thursday of each month.


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