A bit shabby, a bit earthy, a lot country, with some mismatched and vintage elements thrown in — rustic weddings are all about comfort, simplicity and enhancing the inherent beauty of natural elements. Because the theme is so easy to pull off, it’s no wonder that rustic weddings are so popular with modern couples. But with so many different ways to interpret the theme — think “chic rustic” or “minimalist barnyard” — you can definitely make your wedding unique and totally “you.”
Contemplating a rustic theme for your big day? Scroll down for our favourite rustic wedding ideas and the venues that will let you bring your vision to life.
Build an organic ceremony arch
Rustic wedding themes often feature wooden accents, natural textures and greenery. Build a beautiful backdrop for your ceremony with a simple arch made of timber or tree branches. Adorn the arch with flowers, leaves or grass, or drape it with linen. A rustic nuptial arch looks fabulous whether you’re having an outdoor ceremony or one inside a hotel ballroom.
Serve simple farm-to-table fare
Rustic weddings embrace the farm-to-table philosophy and traditional home-style cooking. If you’re working with a rustic theme, build your reception menu around organic and local ingredients. Make sure your spread includes heaps of bright, beautiful fruit and veg that are in season to really capture that pastoral feel. And whilst hosting an elaborate multi-course dinner is always fun, you may want to consider serving up comfort food like roasts, casseroles and fresh-from-the-oven bread.
Another great rustic wedding idea we love is having outdoor cooking stations at your reception. There could be an outdoor grilling station for mains or an outdoor brick oven pizza station where guests can choose toppings. It’s in keeping with a rustic theme and is COVID-safe as well!
Make your tablescapes sustainable
Instead of decorating your tables with floral centrepieces, artfully arrange fruits and veg like artichokes, apples, squash, pomegranates and pears. This is a budget-friendly way to make a stunning tablescape with a bucolic feel and it’s waste-free. If you have your wedding at a farm, you can feed the table display to the farm animals after the reception!
Draw the eye up
Barns, tents and other typical rustic wedding venues usually have high ceilings that are just begging to be decorated. Don’t overlook this space! Pay as much attention to what’s overhead as to what’s at eye level. Hang greenery from the rafters in your barn venue or string fairy lights or glass orbs. A line of rattan pendant lights hanging above the bridal party table makes for the most eye-catching display!
Use lots of wood accents
Whether you’re throwing a reception al fresco or in the confines of an urban venue, using a lot of wooden elements is a budget-friendly way to achieve that rustic look. Use wine barrels with a wooden slab placed on top for serving desserts or as a booze station. Assorted wooden crates dressed up with floral garlands or greenery make a striking focal point at your reception. Slices of raw wood make great coasters, cake stands and placecard holders. Use a plywood board to display your seating chart or to list the dinner courses. The possibilities are endless!
Use everyday objects
Give your wedding a shabby-chic feel by decorating with things commonly found at home. Think burlap, mason jars, mismatched flatware and glasses, gingham fabrics, crochet doilies and satin ribbons. There are so many ways to decorate with these objects and they blend in so well with a rustic wedding.
Even better, use everyday objects that pay homage to the couple. Treasured items that hold sentimental value for the to-be-weds make the decor so much more personal and meaningful. Combined with rustic wedding flowers, these everyday items really bring your venue to life.
Serve simple, homey desserts
For a rustic wedding, forego the doughnut walls and the tiers of cake pops. Instead, evoke a cottagecore feel with a selection of homemade pies! Incorporate an earthy element by displaying the pies on tree trunk serving platters or by warming them in an outdoor fire oven before serving. Take the outdoor element a step further by setting up a s’mores station with a fire pit and all the basics (graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate). Sweet treats like waffles, churros and candy apples also make great rustic wedding desserts.
Set the scene with DIY elements
Flex your creative muscles and prettify your ceremony with as many DIY elements as you can. Ditch the table cloth and make a natural table runner out of moss or tree branches. Or create a minimalist tablescape with white blooms in jam jars and milk bottles. Hang a floral backdrop by attaching individual flowers to a piece of muslin with pins. Or fill empty light bulbs with wildflowers and hang them from trees or rafters. The simplest things can make the most memorable statements.
Fill your venue with flowers and green things
Rustic weddings are all about that cosy, natural and romantic vibe, and having heaps of flowers and greenery help you achieve that effect. Use trailing foliage everywhere, especially to soften hard edges. Hang them on guest chairs, fireplaces, tables and your wedding arch. And don’t just stop at blooming flowers — add succulents, herbs, ferns, wheat and willow to your barn wedding arrangements.
Keep your green elements from looking too structured by using lots of wispy hanging leaves and branches. Willow and olive branches blend in organically in a rustic setting, especially when paired with seasonal barn wedding flowers.
Get creative with natural elements
Instead of a traditional bouquet, use dried lavender, which has a wonderful scent and makes for a lovely wedding keepsake. Instead of confetti, use sustainable and natural alternatives like rose petals, eucalyptus leaves and dried herbs.
Keep it simple
As you plan your rustic wedding, you’ll be bombarded with heaps of country wedding ideas so good you’ll want to try them all. Keep in mind that rustic weddings are more about elegant refinement than overwhelming drama, so while you may be drowning in a sea of rustic wedding decor, resist the urge to overdo it. With a rustic theme, less really is more.
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Rustic wedding venue roundup
Rustic weddings are often held in venues like farms, barns, tents, ranches, mountain lodges and campgrounds. But with some clever decorating, you can definitely capture that casual and natural vibe anywhere. These are our top picks for rustic wedding venues:
Perth City Farm, Perth
This warehouse-style barn with a minimalist industrial look is the perfect stage for a rustic wedding. Next to the barn is a spacious courtyard for you to set up some outdoor food or booze stations.
National Wine Centre of Australia, Adelaide
Pull off a brilliant wedding with a rustic theme at this winery setting in the midst of the city. With a gorgeous wine barrel wall, 5-star service and an outdoor terrace overlooking the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, it’s a fitting backdrop to any rustic wedding.
SoHigh Gallery, Melbourne
You don’t need to hold your wedding out in the countryside to get that country feel. Blank canvas venues like this premier function space can be tailored to suit your specific vision.
High Church, Brisbane
Venues steeped in history help you capture the cosy, intimate atmosphere unique to rustic weddings. This iconic building in the heart of Fortitude Valley has a heritage-meets-minimalist look that makes a charming backdrop for your nuptials.
Yering Farm Winery, Melbourne
An actual hay barn from the 1800s is the perfect setting for a rustic ceremony in Melbourne. With breathtaking 180-degree views of the Yarra Valley and estate made wines and cider, this charmingly rustic venue is practically tailor-made for your rustic-themed nuptials.
Botanic House, Sydney
This elegant venue is just minutes from the Sydney CBD, but because it’s nestled in the lush foliage of the Royal Botanic Garden, it makes for the perfect wedding location for those who want a rustic garden hideaway.
Captain Melville, Melbourne
With a light-filled indoor courtyard, a balcony bar, a 24-hour license and a dedicated events team, this gastropub in a historic building in the Melbourne CBD is perfect for feasting and dancing the night away.
Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, NSW
A hidden gem with breathtaking views across the Blue Mountains, this is the quintessential venue for a rustic wedding. Shaded by eucalyptus trees, this private section of the Botanic Garden is suitable for groups up to 100 and is one of the most romantic settings for your wedding day.
Find your perfect rustic wedding venue
The best way to get your wedding day off to a good start is to pick a fabulous venue. For a rustic wedding, the venue has to evoke the outdoors or must be one that you can tweak to look rustic. Fortunately, there are heaps of these venues — both outdoor and indoor ones — all across Australia. But you don’t have to spend days scouring the internet for the best of them. VenueNow has curated the top wedding venues in Australia so you can book your perfect venue in just a few clicks!
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