Things you need to know before planning a RUSTIC wedding.


children playing on swings at a rustic wedding in the uk

I totally get it—there’s something incredibly magical about the natural, laid-back vibe of a rustic wedding. From the charm of a countryside barn to the enchanting beauty of a forest setting, rustic weddings offer a unique blend of romance and simplicity that’s hard to beat.

I’m Paul, a wedding photographer who’s had the privilege of capturing some of the most stunning rustic weddings across the UK. In this guide, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know to plan your perfect rustic wedding, from choosing the right venue to nailing the decor. 

sunset portrait in a field at a barn wedding in England

What is a Rustic Wedding?

Definition and Characteristics

A rustic wedding is all about embracing natural beauty and creating an atmosphere that’s both charming and relaxed. Think wooden decor, wildflowers, and a touch of vintage elegance. It’s the kind of wedding where you feel at home, surrounded by nature’s finest.

Popular Elements

Some of the most beloved elements of rustic weddings include:

  • Barn Venues: Cozy and intimate, barns provide a perfect backdrop for rustic celebrations.
  • Wildflower Bouquets: Simple yet stunning, wildflowers add a natural touch to your wedding florals.
  • Wooden Decor: From signs to table settings, wood adds a rustic charm.
  • Fairy Lights: Twinkling lights create a magical ambiance as the sun sets.

Why Choose a Rustic Wedding?

Rustic weddings offer a unique charm that’s both timeless and personal. They’re perfect for couples who love nature and want a wedding that reflects their relaxed and authentic style. Plus, the possibilities for DIY projects and personal touches are endless!

Choosing the Perfect Rustic Wedding Venue

Types of Venues

  1. Barns Barns are quintessentially rustic. They offer a cozy, intimate setting that’s perfect for a down-to-earth celebration. Picture exposed beams, wooden floors, and plenty of space for dancing.

  2. Farms Farms provide a picturesque setting with rolling fields and stunning landscapes. They’re ideal for couples who want a spacious, open-air venue with plenty of natural beauty.

  3. Forests For a truly enchanting wedding, consider a forest venue. Surrounded by trees and dappled sunlight, a forest wedding is nothing short of magical.

the tithe barn in Yorkshire laid out for a wedding

Rustic Venues in the UK

Here are a few standout rustic wedding venues across the UK:

I’ve had the joy of capturing beautiful moments at these venues, and I can personally vouch for their charm and character.

Rustic Wedding Decor Ideas

Natural and DIY Decor

Rustic decor is all about simplicity and nature. Consider incorporating:

  • Wooden Signs: Hand-painted signs add a personal touch and guide your guests.
  • Mason Jar Lights: Fill mason jars with fairy lights or candles for a warm glow.
  • Burlap Table Runners: Simple and stylish, burlap runners add a rustic touch to your tables.

Floral Arrangements

Wildflowers are perfect for a rustic wedding. They’re natural, colorful, and wonderfully imperfect. Mix and match different blooms for a relaxed, garden-like feel.

Lighting and Ambiance

Lighting sets the mood for your wedding. Use fairy lights, lanterns, and candles to create a cozy and romantic atmosphere. Hang lights in trees, drape them across beams, or place lanterns along walkways.

Planning Your Rustic Wedding Ceremony

Ceremony Location Ideas

  • Outdoor Gardens: A garden ceremony is intimate and surrounded by natural beauty.
  • Barn Interiors: For a cozy, indoor option, a barn ceremony can be incredibly romantic.
  • Open Fields: An open field offers a blank canvas to create your dream ceremony setting.

Personalizing Your Ceremony

Make your ceremony truly yours with personal touches:

  • Handwritten Vows: Share your love story and promises in your own words.
  • Unique Rituals: Incorporate rituals like handfasting or planting a tree to symbolize your union.

Seating Arrangements

Get creative with your seating:

  • Hay Bales: Covered with blankets, hay bales make a rustic and comfortable seating option.
  • Wooden Benches: Simple and sturdy, wooden benches fit perfectly with a rustic theme.
  • Mix-and-Match Chairs: Use a variety of chairs for a charming, eclectic look.

The Perfect Rustic Wedding Attire

For the Bride

Rustic weddings call for dresses that are elegant yet relaxed. Think lace, boho styles, and vintage-inspired designs. Soft, flowing fabrics and delicate details work beautifully in a rustic setting.

For the Groom

Grooms can embrace the rustic theme with tweed suits, suspenders, and a more casual, laid-back look. Think less formal, more charmingly rustic.

For the Wedding Party

Coordinate your bridesmaids and groomsmen with the rustic theme. Mix and match dresses in soft, earthy tones for the bridesmaids, and consider vests or suspenders for the groomsmen.

Rustic Wedding Photography Tips

Capturing the Rustic Charm

As a photographer, I love capturing the unique details that make rustic weddings so special. From the texture of wooden decor to the natural beauty of wildflowers, every detail tells a story.

Using Natural Light

Natural light is your best friend at a rustic wedding. Whether it’s the golden hour just before sunset or the soft, diffused light in a forest, make the most of the natural surroundings.

Essential Shots

Don’t miss these must-have shots:

  • Detail Shots: Capture the intricate details of your decor, flowers, and attire.
  • Candid Moments: The best photos are often the unplanned, candid moments.
  • Scenic Backgrounds: Use the beautiful scenery as a backdrop for your photos.

Rustic Wedding Catering and Cake

Menu Ideas

A rustic wedding menu should be hearty and delicious. Consider farm-to-table options, comfort foods, and seasonal dishes that reflect the local cuisine.

Rustic Wedding Cakes

Rustic wedding cakes are often simple yet beautiful. Naked cakes, adorned with fresh flowers or berries, are a popular choice. Display your cake on a wooden stand for an extra rustic touch.

Drink Stations

Set up creative drink stations for your guests:

  • Mason Jar Cocktails: Serve signature cocktails in mason jars for a fun, rustic twist.
  • Lemonade Stands: Perfect for a summer wedding, a lemonade stand adds a charming touch.
  • Craft Beer Stations: Offer a selection of local craft beers for your guests to enjoy.

Entertainment for a Rustic Wedding

Music and Bands

Live music adds to the rustic charm. Consider hiring a folk band or an acoustic set to keep the vibe relaxed and enjoyable.

Fun Activities

Keep your guests entertained with:

  • Lawn Games: Set up games like cornhole, giant Jenga, and croquet.
  • Bonfires: End the night with a cozy bonfire where guests can roast marshmallows and enjoy the night sky.
  • Photo Booths: Create a photo booth with rustic props for fun, memorable photos.

Unique Send-Off Ideas

Finish your night with a magical send-off:

  • Sparklers: Provide guests with sparklers for a dazzling exit.
  • Lantern Releases: Release floating lanterns into the sky for a breathtaking moment.
  • Vintage Car Exits: Drive away in a vintage car for a stylish and memorable departure.

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