Beautiful arch between trees for forest wedding

Forest Wedding Ideas: 39 Options We Love

May 13, 2022
By Wedding Spot

Whether it’s an intimate ceremony nestled deep in a thicket of old-growth trees or a woodland-themed event at a luxury mountain venue, we love forest weddings. So, to delight your senses and fill our fellow forest wedding lovers with inspiration, we compiled a list of our favorite forest wedding ideas. We take a deep dive into ideas for the ceremony and reception, decor and design examples, helpful planning tips, and much more.

Ready to plan the forest wedding of your dreams? Keep reading. 

Impress friends and family with these fantasy forest wedding ideas

Forest wedding ideas for location

One of our favorite things about having a forest wedding is how much the setting can vary depending on where you are in the world. To start, let’s look at a few forest types that are perfect for outdoor weddings.

1. Hardwood forest. Hardwood forests are great for spring and fall weddings when the leaves are brightly colored and the air is crisp.

2. Rainforest. Say “I do” to the soundtrack of tropical birds, monkeys, and other exotic creatures in a rainforest wedding.

3. Pine forest. Host a winter wonderland wedding among the backdrop of colossal conifers and a blanket of fresh snow on the ground.

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4. Redwood forest. Get married among the redwood trees in Northern California. Take home spectacular wedding photos that capture the majesty of getting hitched surrounded by centuries-old radiant redwoods, some more than 100 feet wide.

Sub-themes for a forest wedding

Consider choosing a sub-theme to add an additional element to your forest wedding design. Some of our favorite forest wedding sub-themes include the following.

5. Woodland fairytale. Get married standing alongside a bubbling brook or sparkling waterfall at an enchanted woodland wedding. Flowy attire, magical lighting, and dreamy floral arrangements can transform a dark forest into a fairytale wedding setting fit for a storybook.

6. Celestial. Embrace the beauty of the night sky at your forest wedding with celestial wedding décor. Incorporate the moon, and stars, and create ethereal lighting with hanging orb lights.

7. Rustic. Create a rustic-inspired woodland wedding by decorating the ceremony space with mason jars, string lights, tin buckets, and burlap runners.

8. Elegant. Engaged couples do not have to forgo elegance for a wedding in the forest. Design a sophisticated wedding setup in the woods with a clean and crisp color palette, divine drapery, and formal seating.

9. Hiking. Casual couples who thrive on adventure can invite friends and family to “take a hike” after the hitching takes place. After a blissful forest wedding, invite wedding guests to follow you on a short hike to an epic reception spot, like an expansive overlook or the edge of a wide canyon. Help prepare in advance through detailed instructions on your wedding website.

Forest wedding ideas for the ceremony

Plan a memorable, mesmerizing forest wedding your friends and family will never forget with these ceremony ideas.

10. Direction decorations. Guide guests through the woods to the ceremony spot with standing or hanging wooden wedding signs that lead the way.

11. Welcome bags. Prepare guests for comfort at your forest wedding by providing water bottles and a paper fan in warmer weather or hot chocolate and a blanket if the air is chilly. Keep in mind that many forests hold a lot of moisture and debris could fall from overhead trees, so you should consider having umbrellas or parasols available for ceremony guests just in case.

12. Mark the aisle. Use large floral arrangements, tree stumps, lush garland, or other dramatic aisle markers to create a more venue-like set up at an outdoor forest wedding.

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13. Tree stump seating. Arrange sanded tree stumps in a circular pattern for camp-inspired wedding seating in the forest. Add a mix of benches or chairs for guests with accessibility needs and keep the ceremony on the short side for everyone’s comfort.

14. Elaborate archway. Decorate an archway with elaborate floral arrangements, and drapery, or choose a unique design to help prevent the couple from blending into the background in photos and videos.

15. Organic exit toss. Instead of showering the couple with rice, confetti, or other materials that could harm the forest, use herbs or flowers for the exit toss. Shower the newlyweds with lavender, rosemary, or flower petals for the wedding exit instead.

Forest wedding ideas for the reception

Without many of the restrictions and limitations that traditional wedding venues impose, couples have a lot of freedom to play around with forest wedding entertainment ideas.

16. Outdoor lounge. Invite guests to attend a lavish wedding reception hosted in a covered lounge area under the trees. Keep guests dry, cool, and shielded from the bugs while they enjoy fantastic food, friends, and dance the night away.

17. Bonfire. After the ceremony, light a bonfire to signal that it’s time to get the party started. Play outdoor games, tell stories, and create memories that will last a lifetime as you celebrate with guests around the glow of a massive and maintained crackling fire.

18. Glamping. Keep the party going all night with a wedding-style campout. Reserve yurts, tiny houses, or luxury tents to accommodate guests who RSVP for wedding glamping.

19. BBQ. Encourage guests to stay and celebrate after the ceremony by joining you for an outdoor barbeque. Couples may choose more classic fare, such as hamburgers and hotdogs, or choose to serve high-quality steaks, smoked salmon, or other elevated entrees fresh from the grill.

20. Unplugged entertainment. If you’re getting married in the forest, you may not have access to much electrical equipment. Hire an acoustic or classical band to play during the reception or plan to bring portable batteries and powerful Bluetooth speakers.

21. Thematic wedding favors. Give friends and family forest-themed wedding favors as they depart the reception. Living plants, miniature terrariums, and personalized garden markers are all fantastic favors for forest wedding guests.

Forest wedding ideas for decor

Couples on a budget can save a lot of money by hosting a forest wedding. With a built-in background and ample decoration all around, you can transform the natural surroundings into a dreamy wedding wonderland with the following forest wedding ideas for decor.

22. Crisp linen. Drape reception tables in crisp white or off-white linens or use a white table runner to create a clean, crisp table setting for your wedding in the wild.

23. Gold accents. Perfectly complement the surrounding greenery with gold napkins, decorative accents, or towering golden candlesticks. Not only do the colors pair beautifully, but gold adds a touch of drama to a calm and peaceful forest wedding setting.

24. Moss. Incorporate natural forest elements like moss into your table decorations. A moss table runner will add an enchanting element to your forest feast.

25. Bright blooms. Add pops of color that will stand out against the green background with large and contrasting floral arrangements of blush-colored blooms, hanging daisy chains, or other contrasting flowers.

26. Lanterns. Whether you’re going for a rustic and casual-themed wedding or an over-the-top affair, safe, no-flame lanterns can be used for both lighting and decoration at your forest wedding. 

27. Fairy houses. Wow your wedding guests with creative, elaborate fairy house centerpieces. Use moss, twigs, grass, pinecones, or wooden slabs to craft mesmerizing works of natural art.

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28. Seasonal decorations. Whether you’re having a forest wedding in the spring, summer, fall, or winter, embrace the season. Incorporate seasonal elements into your wedding decor, such as fresh blooms or butterfly decorations in the spring, wildflowers in the summer, an autumnal leaf-covered aisle in the fall, or giant pinecone centerpieces in the winter.

29. Eco-friendly decorations. Use natural and sustainable eco-friendly wedding decorations that complement the forest setting without harming the environment.

Attire ideas for a forest wedding

A forest wedding gives couples a lot of room to experiment with their wedding attire. They may choose to go more casual, embracing the laid-back setting of their environment, or choose to dress in elegant formalwear in striking juxtaposition to the forest around them. 

30. Trailing train. Stun wedding guests as you walk down the aisle escorted by a long trailing train. Have the bridal party fan out the train once you arrive at the altar to fully display the dramatic dress.  

31. Floral accents. Wear a dainty crown of daisies or don a dress with delicate floral accents for a lovely look that matches the sublime beauty of your wedding location.

32. Go gold. Once again, we’re recommending gold as a forest wedding idea! Instead of sporting a traditional white gown, opt instead for a chic gown of golden lace with long billowing sleeves and celestial appliques.

33. Earth-toned suits. Surrounded by the bright and bold greens of the forest, opt for neutral suit tones that won’t clash with the background. Tan, brown, taupe, and even navy will play well against the rich foliage.

Forest wedding cake ideas to fawn over

Even in the forest, surrounded by noises, distractions, and wildlife, you can have a wedding cake that captures the attention of every guest entering the reception area. Choose a wedding cake that complements both your reception style and sub-theme.

34. Enchanted forest cake. Serve guests a fantasy cake at a fantasy-inspired forest wedding. Decorate the cake with edible birds, butterflies, or other wildlife sculpted with fondant. Give your wedding cake a dash of whimsy by adding bright sugar flowers, gnomes, and fairies.

35. Woodland-themed wedding cake. Using pinecones, edible flowers, or other forest forages, create a natural, rustic wedding cake.

36. Clean and natural. Showcase a stunning white wedding cake that stands out against the backdrop of deep green, immediately catching the eyes of your guests. Add fresh herbs, berries, and other seasonal forest finds to create an elegant design on the cake.

37. Textured icing. Cake decorators can create jaw-dropping textures with icing, including many found in the forest, such as moss or tree bark.

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38. Bird’s nest topper. Top the cake with a spun sugar bird’s nest holding a pair of birds or chocolate eggs to represent the newlyweds.

39. Tree stump cake stand. Set up a dramatic dessert display using tree stumps of different sizes and heights. Drape lace runners, floral garland, or other decorations across the tree stump tiers to cover any rough edges and amplify the simple design.

Helpful tips for couples planning a forest wedding

There are unique factors couples should consider and account for when planning a forest wedding. Follow these tips to help things go smoothly.

1. Check for permit requirements. Unless taking place on private land, most outdoor weddings require a permit of some kind. National forests, state parks, and even most public parks require engaged couples to file the proper paperwork and acquire the appropriate permits prior to hosting a wedding or other events. Check with local and state government offices in your wedding location to confirm permit policies and procedures.

2. Set the tone. Use wedding invitations to set the tone for your forest wedding and give guests an idea of what to expect. Choose invitations with decorative vine designs, floral accents, or foil foliage to match the theme. Instruct guests to access your wedding website for more information, such as attire suggestions and travel tips.

3. Check cell service. Visit the area ahead of time to check cellular connectivity. Inform guests of spotty service so that they can prepare in advance.

4. Provide directions. Provide clear driving directions and parking instructions for guests who may drive to the wedding, especially if cell service is weak. Ensure that guests park in clearly designated areas to disturb the natural habitat.

5. Be thoughtful of accessibility needs. Avoid asking guests to take a long difficult walk to the ceremony location unless they have been informed ahead of time. Choose a venue on a road that’s easy to access as well, preferably paved. Should commuting to your wedding venue require any potentially dangerous or strenuous travel, provide transportation for guests.

6. Leave no trace. In addition to removing all garbage and materials required for the wedding, the “leave no trace” ideology also refers to the effects on the natural landscape. Do not cut or remove plants if possible, and work hard not to disturb wildlife.

Bookmark these forest wedding ideas and start planning your big day!

With some fresh new forest wedding ideas in your pocket, start planning your woodland wedding today. Prepare to celebrate with friends, family, and your partner at the forest wedding of your fantasies!

Up next: Want to make your celebration a weekend-long affair? Check out 17 of our favorite multi-day wedding ideas.

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Wedding Spot

The Wedding Spot blog is designed to help couples navigate every step of the wedding planning journey. From before the engagement to after you say “I do,” our goal is to give you the tips, ideas, and inspiration to prepare for your big day — and all that comes with it.