Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Rise of the Rustic Wedding

Attend nearly any wedding these days and you're bound to see some rustic, country touches. A full 44-percent of brides plan at least some rustic elements in their weddings, according to The Wedding Report. And some go full-bore.

Here are several ways to incorporate the rustic look into your wedding while making it personal and within budget.

1. Barns

Rustic barns are the quintessential location for a rustic wedding. Dress it up with sweeping curtains (sew together fabric drop clothes from a home improvement store) and hanging lights (borrowed white Christmas lights work, too). A farm, open field, country church or plantation home can also provide the perfect backdrop to your themed wedding.

2. Painted Wood Signs

Add some personality to the big day with whimsical or romantic painted signs that signal to your guests what's happening where. Look locally for free reclaimed or salvaged wood to add rustic charm and eco-friendliness. For inspiration, check out this Etsy artisan's sign work.

3. Burlap

Nothing says rustic like burlap and this versatile fabric can be used in a number of ways. Use it as table coverings, then top with smaller borrowed vintage tablecloths. Use it as a background to frame table numbers for your reception. Use it as an aisle runner or atop haystacks for extra casual seating.

4. Mason Jars

Mason jars are perhaps the most-seen wedding accessory these days -- and for good cause. They ooze charm, they're economical, they come in a variety of sizes and they go with just about anything. Throw a handful of wildflowers into a mason jar and you've got an instant centerpiece. You can also use them to hold utensils or candy at the reception. Fill them with something sweet and top with burlap and ribbon for wedding favors.

5. Chalkboards

Like painted signs, chalkboards add a fun element to wedding day signage. They make perfect menus, Mr. & Mrs. signs on the back of the couple's chairs, seating charts and directional signs. Paint a vintage frame the color of your wedding, then paint over the glass with chalkboard paint for an instant showpiece.

6. Homemade

A rustic wedding is not complete without something homemade. And there's no better place to feature homemade than the reception. Pies are a big trend in weddings this year, and local vendors are making it easier to find baked goods and more with that down-home taste. Decorate the dessert table with bowls of eggs, flour and honey for that extra home-made feeling. Handwrite favorite family recipes on index cards to use as wedding favors.

7. Registry

Guests can contribute to the rustic theme through gift-giving. Register for gift cards at for retailers who specialize in rustic products, like J.Crew, Timberland, Restoration Hardware and Bass Pro Shops.

8. Music

More than decorations, music tells the story of the rustic wedding and instantly sets the mood. Whether it's country, bluegrass, folk or a combination, your choice or musicians, deejay or soundtrack will complete your theme and leave your guests tapping their feet for days to come.

~Weddings expert Cara Davis is the author of Cheap Ways to Tie the Knot and blogs from her home in Orlando, FL, about cheap ways to spend and save at