Behind the Scenes of a DIY Rustic Wedding

a couple at their diy rustic wedding

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Congratulations on your engagement! While you’re busy celebrating with friends and family, you’re also preparing the ins and outs of your dream rustic wedding. Weddings held in barns and on farms offer one-of-a-kind backdrops but require a bit more love when it comes to planning. From tables and chairs to food and beverages, we’ve compiled advice for dealing with some of the more challenging aspects of setting up, cleaning up and decorating your dream DIY rustic wedding.


Rustic Wedding Decor

Rustic weddings have become a staple for a reason: Their pastoral settings allow couples to celebrate in a stunning backdrop and connect with nature in a unique way. Barns offer a natural and neutral setting that looks great with almost any color palette, for both decor and attire.

Go bold with richly colored tablecloths and jewel-tone stemware, centerpieces and accents, or stick to pastels with muted fabrics, dainty crystal votives and soft details. Regardless of color palette, make sure to introduce a few delicate elements—think flowing fabrics and fresh flowers—as they’ll add the perfect touch of softness to the rustic barn wood.

If your rustic reception is being held outside, make sure to take a few details into account when choosing flowers and centerpieces. Some blooms, like peonies and baby’s breath, are notorious for attracting pests. Keep this in mind when choosing flowers for any outdoor areas. To keep bugs away, incorporate natural pest-deterrent sprigs of mint, lavender or rosemary. You should also avoid lightweight vases and centerpieces that can tip over in the wind. Instead, opt for heavy, wide centerpieces and tall, sturdy vessels that will keep candles lit through the breezes.

food trucks are perfect for a rustic wedding
Photo Credit: Lyndsey Renee Photography

Food and Drink

Like decor, food and drink can have a few surprising points to consider when your wedding is outdoors. In warmer weather, nibbles like cheese and dips can melt in the sun and attract pests, so be sure to keep them to the evening or cooler weather, or hire a food truck to dispense them instead.

This is also the case for having the cake outside: Temperatures above 75 degrees may melt cakes with delicate buttercream frosting decorations. Instead, have your cake decorator go with fondant, or keep the cake in a refrigerated area until you’re ready to slice it.

For meals, a food truck offering fresh seasonal foods is fantastic for warm summer days—plus, you won’t have to worry about keeping the food hot or cold. Keep richer foods for fall and winter receptions. Food trucks that offer snow cones, boozy popsicles, oysters, candy or hot cocoa are all unique ideas perfect for outdoor settings, where there’s no need to worry about carpet stains.


Simple and Sophisticated to Glitzy and Glamorous

Having a rustic wedding doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice glamour for everything casual and country. After all, your wedding is all about expressing your style as a couple. Find your perfect balance between relaxed and sophisticated by playing around with a variety of glam and rustic decor.

For instance, barns and farms are fantastic backdrops for both simple, personal receptions or glitzy, glamorous affairs. If simple is your style, classic string lights and delicate candlelit centerpieces create a cozy setting for intimate conversations both indoors and out. If glitzy calls your name, take advantage of tall, expansive barn ceilings. They’re perfect for hanging glimmering chandeliers, delicate drapery and beautiful greenery for an awe-inducing effect.

Regardless of style, make sure to have a few key areas available to your guests so they can enjoy the party for hours. Patio furniture set up inside or outside creates an intimate seating area for guests to mingle between the ceremony and reception. For libation-loving guests, a bar tucked into a cozy barn corner or under a tree is a great area to show off your favorite rustic decor.


The Ins and Outs of an Outdoor Wedding

Never underestimate the cost of an outdoor wedding. The natural romance that comes with having an outdoor wedding is unparalleled. However, it does come with its share of extra to-dos. It’s easy to assume rustic outdoor weddings merely require a tent and a few tables, but planning and logistics can be far from easy.

Last-minute issues like unexpected weather and wind can be a gamble, and logistics like sanitation services (portaloos, anyone?) can be easily overlooked. To make things easier, consider venues that offer both an outdoor setting and a barn interior. This allows you to keep true to the rustic theme and stay out of the rain on your wedding day.

Keep extra costs in mind when it comes to your rustic wedding and make sure to keep a few key things in mind when planning your rustic outdoor wedding:

  • What’s the weather like? Will there be pesky bugs and heat waves, or are torrential downpours expected?
  • Will you need to rent bathrooms and sanitary services?
  • Is there a dedicated kitchen facility, or will that need to be rented?
  • Will you need generators? What about lighting, fans or heaters?
  • What’s the parking like? Will you need valet services for the area?
  • Is your wedding at a remote location? Consider extra delivery charges and keep that in mind when planning timing for the day of the wedding.

While there are a many things to keep in mind when planning a DIY rustic wedding, there are ways to keep costs down and still have an amazing day. Check out these 11 tips on how to have an inexpensive wedding without compromising on quality.

Kerrie Kelly of Kerrie Kelly Design Lab writes for The Home Depot and is an interior designer whose talents extend to providing decor tips for outdoor weddings, including the best type of outdoor seating. Click here to see some beautiful outdoor dining sets. 

Photo by:

Lyndsey Renee Photography