Bride and groom kissing in barn with horse

Rustic Wedding Ideas: 97 Ways to Go Chic

Nov 14, 2019
By Wedding Spot

In mountains, forests, barns, and farms across the United States, rustic weddings are going strong and showing no signs of diminishing in popularity. 

Rustic wedding elements evoke a simpler past to help you welcome in your bright future together. The style is never stiff and starched. Instead, rustic wedding venues embrace an informal and relaxed spirit. They invite your guests to smile, connect, let down their hair, and maybe even take off their shoes. 

Whether you love the comfortable and welcoming vibe of rustic weddings, their country-chic aesthetic, or the DIY possibilities, these rustic wedding ideas will give you everything you need for your big day.

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Explore 97 rustic wedding ideas to make your big day fit your vision:

Set the tone early

1. Take rustic engagement photos to announce your wedding. If you decide to take engagement photos and you know you are throwing a rustic wedding — why not incorporate the theme into the shots? Perhaps you’ve already chosen a rustic venue. Ask if you can use the property as a backdrop for your photos when there’s no wedding underway. Or, you can hold your engagement photoshoot at a favorite outdoor spot. A barn where you like to go horseback riding? A state forest or riverside trail? A local park?. 

2. Add rustic elements to your wedding website design. An engagement photo with a rustic vibe can take center stage on your website. Then go ahead and choose a website theme that coordinates and elevates — on The Wedding Spot, under ‘Website Theme,’ a great place to start is the ‘Nature & Botanical’ pull-down menu. Customize your colors to coordinate with your wedding color scheme. 

3. Put a hint of rustic elegance in your invites. Whether you opt for digital invites, paper stationery, or design the invites from scratch, you can incorporate the rustic theme here as well. Use the colors mentioned above and consider the materials as well: natural paper instead of high-gloss, string or twine instead of stickers, and unfinished edges. 

Wedding favor ideas

Wedding favors are a lovely way to send guests home with a keepsake. They also serve as a decor element, either at the reception entrance or at each place setting. Look to the natural world for inspiration, and think about the season. 

4. Small potted succulents. The look changes depending on whether the pots are white, wood, or terra cotta. But no matter the pot, succulents are beautiful on display at your wedding and make a long-lasting, low-maintenance memento. 

5. Fresh local fruit. It doesn’t get more natural, seasonal, or delicious. The experience of eating the fruit itself is over in a blink, almost as quickly as the wedding. But if you like, you can provide the fruit in a decorative bag, basket, or pot that will stand the test of time.

6. Seed packets. Give your guests gifts that will keep on giving. Herbs are a popular choice, as they can be grown indoors or outdoors, or choose cutting flowers that tolerate a variety of conditions. 

7. Hot cocoa. At a rustic winter wedding, warm your guests’ hearts and hands afterward with Mason-jar hot cocoa mix to take home. 

8. Mulled cider. Give guests measured mulling mix in a Mason jar, and attach instructions. 

Ideas for settings and venues

If you’re all-in with the rustic theme, the setting is the place to start. We’ve got some classics to consider, and some off-the-beaten-path rustic settings to throw in the mix as well. Check out venues and settings in your area on the Wedding Spot.  

But if an actual rustic backdrop isn’t likely — perhaps your wedding is in the big city, or you’re having your wedding in your parents’ suburban backyard — don’t forget you can still go rustic-chic with the decor!     

9. Barn wedding. A rustic favorite. You might find a wedding barn on an alpaca farm, at a vacation rental, or at a site where a barn has been purpose-built for weddings. Barn weddings have risen in popularity in recent years. 

10. Horse farm. Rolling green acres make a beautifully picturesque setting. Make sure there’s ample parking, and that the ceremony and reception locations are upwind of the barn.

11. Mountain log cabin. Beautiful backdrops, and a  location large enough to hold a wedding party indoors. Consider possibly challenging transportation logistics, for decor, vendors, and guests, particularly in winter. 

12. Forest retreat. Collections of cabins mean you and your guests don’t have to worry about post-reception transportation. Give everyone time to get unpacked and make themselves comfortable before the start of festivities.

13. Camping venues. Some couples love camping and want to make that part of their special day. Combination venues with a mix of tent campsites, cabins, and ‘glamping’ are best. Experienced campers can set up their own campsites, while guests who want (or need) things less rustic have that option.  

14. Vineyards. Like horse farms, vineyards are well known for their acres of incredible scenery. Stacks of wine barrels make lovely backdrops for wedding photos. Plus, there’s plenty of good wine on hand. 

15. Breweries. As microbreweries spring up and develop loyal followings, they are becoming popular alternatives for couples who prefer fermented hops over fermented grapes.

16. Distilleries. These hip and unusual rustic venues are becoming more popular for rehearsal dinners and wedding receptions.

17. Urban lofts. The exposed brick and wood beams of city lofts make the perfect backdrop for rustic wedding decorations. Strings of small fairy lights look especially lovely in these settings.

18. Ranches. Ranches in the Western US offer wide-open spaces, ample parking, and plenty of wide-open country chic.

19. Farms. Farms offer photo ops with cute barnyard animals and rows of lush crops. At working ranches and farms, get very clear on which areas are open to guests and which are not.


A post shared by Big Springs Homestead (@bigspringshomestead) on

20. Greenhouses. The lush environment within a greenhouse venue makes an exquisite pairing with rustic elements, such as unfinished wood pallet hung with lights and wood-plank tables. 

21. Historic homes. Lovingly restored landmark homes often also have beautifully tended grounds. Use the natural beauty of the outdoor setting for a simple ceremony, then add rustic elements inside the reception room, such as bunches of pussy willow on tables with denim table runners. 

22. Museums. Museums come in so many types and sizes — art museums, science, historical, natural history, and more. Many are set on acres and acres of land, with hiking trails and varied reception spaces. 

23. Parks. Public parks will require permits, but they can be low-cost and beautiful settings for rustic weddings. Consider the bathroom situation and your bad-weather backup plan early in the planning.

Decor ideas

From Pacific Northwestern lumberjane chic to Western wagon wheel decor, from forest to mountain to farm to glade, some rustic wedding themes suggest specific decor ideas. Here are some ideas for incorporating rustic decor throughout your wedding.

24. Wooden backdrop. A wooden backdrop of pallets or a purpose-built wooden wall can be dressed up with a gauzy curtain, white lights, and flowers. This is a rustic and so-easy option that makes an impact.  

25. Gauzy backdrop. String up tulle or another light fabric. Rustic flower arrangements or leafy vines look great hanging down in front of the fabric, as do strings of bare bulbs.

26. Flower backdrop. Depending on the look you want, pack the blooms close together to create a flower wall. Or use a wood lattice and arrange the blooms sparingly to cover a larger area.   

27. Wild florals and greenery. No need to tightly curate the florals at a rustic wedding. Cultivate a wild look with a hodge-podge mix of greenery, vines, wheat, pinecones, and succulents. 

28. Add florals to the wedding party’s look. Coordinate with the florals in the decor and put some flowers on yourself and the entire wedding party. Instead of carrying a bouquet, consider a floral cuff, necklace, crown, or boutonniere.


A post shared by Aswanley Wedding Venue (@aswanley) on

29. Burlap table runners. Incorporate lace: trim the burlap with lace, or use a wide lace ribbon down the center.

30. Natural centerpieces. Incorporate natural materials, perhaps local and seasonal ones, that coordinate with your wedding color and the theme. Wildflowers, pumpkins, holly, succulents — all can be arranged into stunning tableaus.

31. Chalkboards. Chalkboards are a versatile way to welcome your guests and give them direction. Dress them up or down: With beautiful calligraphy and ornate framing, they neatly incorporate a touch of elegance into the casual vibe. 

32. Signs. Commission an original sign with a wedding slogan from an artistic friend. Or purchase one from a supplier or Etsy. Have the slogan painted on wood planks, a chalkboard, or a recycled door or window — this may well become a treasured reminder that hangs in your home for years to come. Relaxed, rustic wedding slogan ideas include: 

  • Eat, drink, and be married.

  • Come as you are. Stay as long as you can. We’re all friends and family, so no seating plan.

  • Welcome to our wedding. Kick up your heels! 

33. Blanket holder. If you anticipate a chill in the air, provide blankets to help your guests stay comfortable. A vertical display of them will add coziness to your decor and also ensure guests notice them. You might use a series of ladders as a blanket display or build a blanket display out of pallets. Add a sign nearby that says, “Take One If You’re Chilly.”

34. Baskets or tubs. Lots can be stored in these rustic bins, making them useful and decorative. For example, put more baskets of blankets beneath your eye-catching vertical display or provide self-serve canned refreshments in galvanized tin tubs of ice.  

35. Wooden barrels and slabs. To set up furniture that coordinates with your rustic theme, consider making a table or two out of wooden water barrels and wooden slabs.

36. Rented vintage or rustic furniture. In some markets, it’s possible to rent vintage dining chairs, as well as more quirky and comfortable options for your guests. Red velvet vintage couch in the barn, anyone?

Budget-friendly ideas (aka rustic DIY!)

Rustic brides and grooms hoping to host an affordable affair are in luck. From venue to food to decor, the casual vibe and natural setting mean there are plenty of ways to host a budget-friendly wedding with a rustic theme. DIY opportunities abound. Decide how much you can handle ahead of time and how much you want to do on the day of your wedding (note: probably not much!). Enlist the help of amenable friends and family.  

37. Forget the florist. If you’re on a budget, handle the flowers on your own — or delegate the task. Decide on a flower budget and hit the grocery store or flower shop that morning. Your options will be limited to what they have on hand, but you will add freshness and color at a much lower cost than hiring a professional.

38. Faux flowers. Prefer not to handle flowers on the day of your wedding, but you’re on a budget that doesn’t have room for a florist? Silk or fake flowers can be beautiful and fit the theme with rustic embellishments. 

39. Display your low-cost flowers. Put your flowers (real or faux) in mismatched glassware — colorful or clear bottles look great. Gather vases and mason jars from friends (mark with stickers on the bottom so you know who they go back to!) or hit the dollar store to get plenty of options at little cost.

40. Use bare or painted pallets for ... almost everything. Wood pallets are the ultimate DIY material, and they integrate seamlessly into rustic decor. Use bare or painted wood pallets for backdrops, signs, seating charts, photo displays, and donut walls. 


A post shared by Lyntrail Estate (@lyntrailestate) on

41. Mason jar drinking glasses. Paint guest names on mason jars. They can keep track of their drinks through the reception and take them home as favors. 

42. Chalkboard paint. Another DIY staple; with chalkboard paint, anything becomes a chalkboard! 

43. Shop smart for rustic decor. Lead time is your friend here. Make a list of items you’re interested in, and keep an eye on the locally owned or big box art, craft, and hardware stores in your area. Jump on individual items when they go on sale, and ask about the store’s general schedule of coupons or storewide deals. Some stores will have them at particular times of the year, or have apps that make it easy to track sales at home.

44. Strawbale seating. If your wedding is on a farm or ranch, bales of hay or straw might be on hand. Line them up end-to-end and cover them with thick enough blankets that your guests will not be uncomfortable. Consider providing a bit of traditional seating for guests who don’t want to or can’t manage to use a seat so low and potentially prickly. 

45. Decorate chairs. Use standard chairs and decorate them with tulle and flowers or burlap bows. 

46. Mason jar vases. Another mason jar idea that can double as a favor for guests. Have an artistic friend paint large mason jars. Or, wrap them with burlap, a mix of burlap and lace, or well-wrapped twine with bright dried flowers.  

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Cake and food ideas 

Food is a feast for the eyes at a wedding. Here are creative ways to incorporate your rustic theme into your food displays and the food itself! Most importantly, however, remember the food should appeal to you and your guests, and taste delicious

47. Naked wedding cake. The exposed edges of naked cakes are a great fit for rustic weddings and they have plenty of frosting between the layers. 

48. Semi-naked wedding cake. Prefer your cake with more modesty? Try a semi-naked cake, with some buttercream or ganache, or maybe some textured striping or piping.

49. Rustic wedding cake stand: trellis or arbor. Repurpose a trellis or arbor into a beautiful and rustic background for your cake table. Or, create a mini arbor that fits on the cake table. 

50. Rustic wedding cake stand, take two: Wooden boxes/crates. A collection of sizes and orientations creates an open, artful, and rustic setting for your wedding cake

51. Log-based cupcake stand. A display of cupcakes looks beautiful on a tiered cupcake stand built of wooden rounds.

52. Cheese cake. That’s two words. Not a ‘cheesecake,’ but a ‘cheese cake.’ This is a wedding cake made of rounds of cheese, decorated with fruits that look gorgeous and coordinate well with the flavors. 

53. Cheese, fruit, and nuts. Let your guests nibble. Nothing says inviting, rustic, and delicious like a display of cheese, crackers, and seasonal fruits on a butcher block or other sizable wooden display board.

54. Family-style food service. For an option that’s a little more formal than a buffet, but still warm and casual, consider family-style dining. Large platters go in the center of the table, and everyone tucks in together. 

55. Mason jar desserts. Berry crumbles are beautiful and delicious desserts that coordinate well with a rustic theme when served in mason jars. Mason jar root beer floats are another down-home dessert option.  


A post shared by Desserts By Sarah Dweck (@sarahjoydweck) on

56. Assorted pies. You can, of course, eat pies all year round, but fall is a season that evokes thoughts of pies cooling on the counter or warm pies with melting vanilla ice cream. Pecan pie. Pumpkin pie. Apple pie. Arrange assorted pies on overturned apple crates. 

57. Wooden trays. For appetizers and cocktail hour, have servers pass them on wooden trays or serving boards. It sets the stage for a warm and homespun event. 

58. Local and seasonal. A rustic theme invokes a connection to nature and the changing seasons. Strengthen that connection with a menu based on local, seasonal fare.

59. S’mores station. The only thing better than gathering around a fire pit is when there are also marshmallows, long sticks, chocolate bars, and graham crackers on hand. S’mores are a fun wedding activity that will bring a smile to your guests’ faces and happiness to their bellies. 

Ideas for fall

The fall is a popular wedding season! It’s a time of harvest and bounty, and the weather can be fantastically agreeable. Enjoy the crisp air in rustic style with these ideas:

60. Table runners and displays designed with seasonal materials. Gourds, leaves, ferns, evergreens, and winter rosemary sprigs are all lovely choices.  

61. Decoupaged or painted pumpkins: These are beautiful and striking, and match a variety of rustic fall themes. Decoupage the pumpkins with fall florals or striking patterns. Or paint them gold or silver. Use a range of sizes and shapes for more visual interest.

62. Rich, deep colors. Use the colors of the season in your decor. Golden yellow, deep orange, and wine red all evoke the fall season. Intersperse these beautiful colors with elegant elements to give your rustic wedding a chic twist. Gold-painted maple leaf name cards at each place setting and bare bulbs bring brightness to the overall effect. 


A post shared by Virginia Wedding Photographer (@naturalblissphoto) on

63. Pretty perforated pumpkins. Some might call them jack-o-lanterns, but beautiful glowing pumpkins don’t have to have a Halloween theme. Perforate the pumpkins in floral or geometric patterns for an unusual display. 

64. Gourd table numbers. Gourds in a fantastic variety of shapes, sizes, and colors are available in the fall. Apply a bold painted table number to large painted gourds.

65. Buffalo-check table runners in fall hues. Rust and white. Black and red. Or orange and black, for a rustic wedding with a hint of Halloween spirit. These are bold decorative choices and call to mind crisp fall days when winter is just around the corner.  

Ideas for spring

Spring is the season of renewal. The natural palette provides both delicate pastels and bolder colors to mix with rustic elements.

66. Table runners and displays designed seasonal materials. Small ferns, early spring flowers, and bare or budding branches make lovely centerpieces.

67. Green and white. Consider wreaths and flower arrangements that incorporate spring greens and white, cream-colored, or pastel accents.

68. Bolder colors. Go wheatgrass and fresh lavender for a vigorous combination of green and purple, or forsythia and tulips for yellow and whatever-your-heart-desires. 

69. Watering cans. It’s planting and tending season. Use watering cans to hold floral arrangements.

70. Seed favors. Spring is a great time to offer seeds as a favor. Custom-design a seed packet, and display them in a natural wooden box or a wheelbarrow filled with soil. (Make sure the soil is dry. Moisture will start the germination process.) 

71. Minimalist decor. White tulle, white lights, white furniture — this provides stunning counterpoint to a rustic setting such as a barn surrounded by the fresh, bright green of springtime.

72. Rain boots. Live in a place where “mud season” is a thing? Use rain boots as decor at a rustic wedding.  From natural neutrals to bold pops of color, use rain boots to hold vases or signs, or put some pairs at the base of vertical decor. (Have some in the newlyweds’ sizes, just in case.)

Ideas for summer 

Summer is THE season for celebratory outdoor gatherings with friends and family. Think BBQs and block parties — and add your rustic wedding to the list of beautiful summer memories. 

73. Table runners and displays made from seasonal materials. Summer offers a bounty of botanicals to choose from, including vines, ferns, and flowers of all hues. 

75. Naked cake decorated with fresh berries. Summer is the season for strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. Adorn your naked cake with them to give your cake a colorful seasonal look.  

76. Cotton candy. Evoke memories of summertime carnivals and street fairs with cotton candy. Hire a cotton candy vendor for your wedding, or get pre-made cotton candy to set out in small baskets for guests.

77. Bare bulbs strings adorned with roses. Put clusters of roses near each bulb to bring light up the flowers and show off their lovely colors.

78. Mint ice cubes. This fresh herb is a natural in many summer cocktails, including mojitos and mint juleps. Freeze some mint in ice cubes for a welcome addition to most cocktails and mocktails. 

79. Ice cream sundae bar. Guests get served a big bowl of ice cream. In a mason jar, perhaps? Then they put their favorite toppings on themselves: sprinkles, hot fudge, strawberries, caramel, or whipped cream.

80. Break out the grill. A barbeque caterer is a fantastic option for a rustic outdoor wedding in the summer. The grill options are endless, from classic hamburgers to grilled watermelon slices with a balsamic drizzle. 

Ideas for winter

The warmth and light of a wood fire. A festive mood in the air. Crips air that makes everyone ready to dance and warm up. Elevate the rustic spirit with these ideas.

81. Table runners and displays made from seasonal materials. Think of winter botanicals without necessarily going full holiday-mode — that is, unless you want to. Create lines of pine cones gilded with silver or gold, clusters of evergreen branches, and dramatic centerpieces with holly and white flowers that make the berry color pop. 

82. Serve fun and warming drinks, with (and without) alcohol. Think hot cocoa, mulled cider, hot toddies, and warm apple cider.

83. Build a snow wedding couple. If Mother Nature cooperates, build a snow wedding couple with their arms around each other or sharing a kiss.  

84. Lantern centerpieces. Swap out the votives for tall glass lanterns with candles inside. 


A post shared by Courtney Inghram Floral Design (@courtneyinghram) on

85. Wear faux fur wraps. If you are getting married outside in the winter, have faux fur wraps to drape across your shoulders during the ceremony. 

86. Build a roaring fire. Whether you are getting married inside or outside, a real wood fire in a fireplace or fire pit creates a warm and welcoming rustic winter mood. 

Ideas for barn weddings

Barn weddings are the quintessential rustic wedding setting. So we’ll wrap this up (in a burlap bow!) with barn wedding ideas to fall in love with:  

87. Use an abundance of baby’s breath. In metal buckets. In planters. In wooden buckets. Baby’s breath is an affordable flower and it’s delicate white color makes a lovely counterpoint to the wooden backdrop of the barn.

88. Add chandeliers. The vaulted ceiling of a barn is the perfect space to hang chandeliers. They lend warm light and an elegant edge to the rustic space. 

89. Hang lace or gauze over the barn entrance. This is an easy way to dress the barn up and give it a romantic appearance.

90. Build a canopy swing outside the barn. Decorate the swing with tall branch bundles lit with fairy lights. Or cover with a gauze canopy to create a pretty spot for wedding pictures and for guests to relax.  

91. Dinner outside, dancing inside. Choose this option if the weather outlook is good. Set up wooden tables outside of the closed barn door. When dinner is over, the barn door opens to reveal warm lighting, blanket-covered hay bales, and a large dance floor. 

92. Ribbon ceilings. Hang clusters of ribbons from the ceiling in your wedding colors to create a festive and dramatic effect.

93. Decorate the hayloft. Add lighting, large branch bundles, and birch logs to the loft to carry the theme throughout the space. 


A post shared by Anna-Lena und Patrick Holz (@annalenaholz_) on

94. Create a botanical or floral arch over the barn door. You can take your vows under the arch, and later guests can enter underneath it for the reception. 

95. White paper lanterns. Similar to baby’s breath, these lanterns in various sizes are exquisite against the barn’s exposed wood. 

96. Wood folding chairs. These have the relaxed spirit of a family get together. Dress them up with lace ribbons and make them more comfortable with burlap-covered cushions.

97. Long tables and bench seating. This table layout creates a lively dining experience. Pass the roasted winter vegetables! 

Discover answers to FAQs about rustic weddings:

What is a rustic wedding theme? 

A rustic wedding theme includes a venue, setting, accents, and decor that bring to mind rural, homespun charms. Rather than refined sophistication, rustic weddings embrace an aesthetic that’s a bit rough around the edges — think unfinished wood planks holding votives and bouquets of flowers tied with burlap bows. 

Though rustic weddings often have a rural backdrop, that isn’t a prerequisite. You can hold a rustic-themed wedding anywhere.

How do you dress for a rustic wedding? 

Your guests may wonder how to dress for your rustic wedding, and there’s nothing wrong with giving them some tips. Often, rustic weddings lean towards the casual side. Garden party dresses win out over floor-length gowns. Casual jackets suit the day more than black tie. 

Your wedding website is a great place to provide this kind of helpful information. The wedding website builder, With Joy, includes “What should I wear?” in the FAQs section. Answer the question to make life easier for your guests — and you. 

As with any other event, attendees are likely to form a general idea of how to dress based on:

  • The time of day

  • The formality of the venue

  • The tone of the invitation

  • The season

  • Whether the wedding is indoors, outdoors, or a combination  

For more specific pointers, let guests know if they’ll need to contend with the weather. Most rustic weddings are more exposed to the elements than other types of weddings, but this will vary widely depending on the venue. Suggest they check the weather the day of the event so they’re prepared with extra layers and even changes of clothes. 

Get even more specific with the suggested dress code if you like: Casual blazers? Slacks and a nice shirt? Khakis? Provide a link to a gallery of wedding inspiration if you’d like pictures to do the talking.

What are the colors of a rustic wedding? 

There’s no single color scheme that works or doesn’t work for a rustic wedding. Ultimately, the colors and decor that make you happy are the ones to run with. As a general rule, rustic weddings tend to embrace soft, neutral, muted, and dusty shades. Almost all pastels will work beautifully. Think off-white, light moss, dusty rose, or a light, velvety yellow. As wood often shows up in rustic wedding decor, weatherworn shades of brown are a good fit.  

What if you’re picturing vibrant or dark colors for your wedding, such as jewel-tone green, fuschia, or navy blue? You can make those hues work for your rustic wedding too! You might go with a vibrant palette, or find that the bolder colors work well as accents against neutral backgrounds, like warm brown or off-white. In either case, look for natural (or natural-looking) materials with the colors you crave: ferns or holly for a rich green; fuschia-colored flowers like peonies, roses, azaleas or (um) fuschias; or navy blue dyed daisies, silk calla lilies, or silk hydrangeas.

How do you decorate for a rustic wedding? 

We mentioned the unfinished wood planks and burlap bows, but the possibilities are truly endless. (Just take a peek at Pinterest for proof!) Let’s get started with some rustic wedding ideas that you can gallop off with as-is, or hand-hew to your liking.  

Whatever rustic elements you choose, simply combine them with your love for each other and your guests — and your wedding will be just as warm and welcoming as you envision. Enjoy the planning and enjoy the day!

UP NEXT: For stress-free info about the entire process, check out the ultimate guide on how to plan a wedding. And for apps to help you through it all, take a look at our review of the 30 best free wedding planning apps.

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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.