We spoke with three brides and brides-to-be about the rustic wedding experience.
By Katie Bowles
Don’t sweat the small stuff: People associate the country with the idea of “getting back to nature” and simpler times. Rustic weddings are becoming more popular, as many brides and grooms feel that by surrounding themselves with natural beauty rather than ornate decorations, their weddings will in turn be simpler and more personal.
New bride Deborah Young chose to have her wedding reception at goat farm-turned-wedding venue Khimaira Farm in the Shenandoah Valley. She said that her rustic reception “describes the relationship that Joe [her husband] and I have—simple, nothing extravagant and laid back.”
As Deborah learned, having a rustic wedding also means less time spent on preparations: “We were able to use the flowers and plants there as backdrops in some of our photos…we didn’t have a seating chart, and I loved it. We wanted our guests to have room to move around and feel comfortable.” Less time spent stressing over small details allows brides and grooms to focus on what the wedding really represents: a time to celebrate the union of two people with friends and family.
Have your pie and eat it too: Having a less-formal wedding also gives brides and grooms more room to shirk tradition. At traditional weddings, a wedding cake is usually expected—the same is not so at rustic weddings. Lindsay Cummings, who is planning a May 2014 wedding at the Barn at Aspen Grove in Elkton, Va., chose to have a wedding pie. “When we started planning the wedding, we decided that we weren’t going to do things for the sake of tradition—if a wedding is a celebration of the joining of our lives, it needs to be authentic, not like someone else’s…we seriously would rather eat pie.”
More expensive isn’t always better: The advent of photo-sharing website Pinterest has had a great influence on wedding planning and prep. A large chunk of the site is dedicated to crafts and D.I.Y. ideas for weddings—these are often much cheaper and more meaningful than anything store-bought would be. For example, the centerpieces at Lindsay’s upcoming nuptials are jars that once belonged to her grandmother and great-grandmother. According to Lindsay, “They are beautiful, antique, vintage and also free.”
Have fun with it: More personal reflections of the bride and groom don’t have to be limited to the wedding or reception themselves. Less serious wedding photos are becoming popular, especially with rustic weddings. Couples who aren’t from the area can benefit from using country-based photographers (such as Natural Bliss Photography, whose photos we featured here) for their rustic weddings, as local photographers are often able to give ideas and help with unique poses and backgrounds. Not-so-formal, country-oriented wedding photos may include the couple wearing cowboy boots, pictures of the entire wedding party jumping or even comical takes on iconic images.
Hannah Mallalieu, who is planning an August 2014 wedding in Luray, Va. said that she and fiancé Andrew Rogers “took our photos over the course of two hours, so inevitably we started goofing off a bit…I’m glad we have an assortment of silly photos as well as traditional to remember our engagement.” Pictures like Mallalieu and Rogers’ take on “American Gothic” show off a couple’s unique personality and playful side.
If you’re looking for a less-expensive, more personal way to celebrate your big day, having a rustic wedding or incorporating some of these themes into your wedding may be the way to go. Country weddings aren’t for everyone, but the ideas prevailing in the world of rustic weddings are good thoughts to keep in mind for any marriage—the wedding is ultimately a celebration of the bride and groom’s love for one another. City or country, the event should be a reflection of the couple.
Products for your Rustic Wedding
Planning on having a sit-down dinner at your rustic wedding reception? The Rustic Wedding Burlap Table Topper Square from YourDivineAffair will both protect your tables and enhance the casual, woodsy feel. $24.95
Keep your rings safe on the way to the altar in this customizable shabby-chic Wedding Ring Pillow Box from Crystal Cove Design Studio. $32