Rustic Weddings: Trendy or Timeless?

Wednesday July 27, 2016

Several years before I started working in the wedding business, I was a budding artist planning my own wedding. I always thought of myself as an independent soul, one that likes to live outside of the box and do anything that‘s not trendy. So naturally, planning a wedding that was just as different as me, seemed right up my alley. I couldn’t wait to start designing the perfect plan:

  • Gorgeous Rustic barn
  • Picturesque horses, lake and gardens
  • Vintage wooden swing hanging from a tree perfect for photos
  • Tables draped in white linens and covered in burlap
  • Adorable mason jar centerpieces tied with twine and filled with daisies and sunflowers
  • A dessert bar with cupcakes, pies, and cookies
  • Home cooked BBQ dinner
  • Wheel burrow filled with drinks
  • Galvanized metal buckets, chalkboards, and birdcages.

I had it all. It was so me. So very unique.

Or so I thought. Turns out that I’m not the only bride that wanted a rustic chic wedding in setting that provides a beautiful natural backdrop for photos. That was 8 years ago. The rustic look has ruled the wedding scene for over a decade now. 

So what makes rustic weddings so popular? In many ways, it’s what these weddings are not —that is, they are not the “big white wedding” in a hotel ballroom.  Couples who choose the rustic look run the gamut, but they all seem to have one thing in common: a desire for a wedding that feels warm and welcoming – not stuffy or formal.  The “feeling” that the rustic wedding provides is timeless. It was this feeling that I sought for my own wedding and it just so happened that the details in the design helped achieve this at the time. These are “trendy” details we will see change over time.

How to follow a trend and still be unique

Virtually all wedding planners agree—no matter how popular it is—there is no cookie-cutter template that can be used for all weddings. Although many of the design details from my own wedding (burlap, mason jars, chalkboards, etc.) are still very popular today, it is the way that they are used that is changing and the other more personal details that go into each wedding that make it uniquely yours. Personalization is the key to keeping the rustic look fresh. It’s not enough to be well designed; it must be one-of-a-kind.  To do so takes telling your story. It is this individual tale that makes the event unique.

The modern day rustic

As long as there are barns to get married in, there will be rustic weddings. However, in the last few years we have seen a more Bohemian look emerging with paper fringe/poms, geometric shapes and design elements that feel hand-crafted. Large wild bouquets, floral crowns, and lots of green garland fill these outdoor venues with more of a free flowing hippy vibe than country chic. Additionally, on the vintage side of rustic we are seeing a throwback to the midcentury modern and Bauhaus style with patterns and textures mixed with wood accents for an eclectic nature inspired look. There are also several incarnations of rustic that aren’t your standard burlap and lace affair. Some of my favorite spin-offs are:

Wine and Roses: This rustic theme takes your typical barn wedding up a notch. Tables in matte satin or silk linens layered in romantic rose taffeta or organza topped with large bursting bouquets. Wine Barrel cocktail tables next to the wine and cheese bar, inside a posh barn with a view. 

Woodland Themes: Forget the barn all together and create a gorgeous outdoor reception under the tree canopy. Drape café lights, silk lanterns, or string lit garland or moss overhead to create a romantic ceiling to dance the night away.

Seaside Rustic: you don’t need a beach to bring a little ocean to your rustic venue. Try using terrariums filled with succulents, blown glass vases filled with a sand and a tapered candle, and seashell name tags. Top it all off with an oyster bar and fresh fruit cocktails.

Whatever you choose to do, whatever version of rustic you bring, the key to pulling off the look and making it timeless, is to make sure it reflects you as a couple, and what makes you unique.