Photographer: James Stokes Photography | Florist: Wedding Gallery | Ceremony Venue: Munson Bridge Winery | Reception Venue: Munson Bridge Winery | DJ/Entertainment Services: Todd Norrel | Cake: Kim Wojnik – Creative Crumbs | Catering: B&S Bar
Photography: James Stokes Photography | Floral Design: Flower & Bee | Wedding Dress: La Sposa by Pronovias, purchased at Bella Bride Boutique | Cake: Ice cream bar from Bubb’s BBQ | Invitations:Violet Press & Paper | Ceremony Venue: The Farm at Dover | Reception Venue: The Farm at Dover | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Amsale, purchased from Nordstrom | Catering: Bubb’s BBQ & Bar Services from Drink Inc. | Groom and Groomsmen Attire: Hart Schaffner & Marx, purchased from Nordstrom | Wedding Coordinator: Something Blue Lake Geneva | DJ/ Entertainment Services: Mike Early’s Pro Sound
While a traditional wedding at a fancy retreat or resort with a quaint little chapel is very appealing, why not stay true to your country roots and plan a beautiful country wedding with a backyard style. Although not all backyard weddings happen in someone’s actual backyard, we have some beautiful tips and inspiration for planning the rustic backyard wedding of your dreams in nature’s backyard. Part 1
The wedding cake is one of those much-anticipated features of the wedding. After a night of dancing, your guests need something to finish off their evening on a high note. A lot of couples also choose to cut their cake right after their ceremony so that guests can enjoy a cheeky treat before dinner. Your cake needs to be kept in a cool room or in the refrigerator if possible, to avoid any melting wedding cake disasters.
Your wedding cake is so much more than just an after-dinner treat, it also shows off your style as a couple. If an extravagant wedding cake is out of your budget, try go for cute little cupcakes that offer the sweet note that your guests crave. If you want to be totally original why not choose your favorite dessert as a couple to serve, even if it is a humble pie. You can also choose to have a smaller cake suited to your exact number of guests, instead of a lavish 4 tier piece of art. The backyard theme lends itself to a simple rustic elegance, giving you many beautiful cake designs to choose from. A bare cake is a very trendy option this year, instead of layers of fondant covering the cake, the cake’s layers show through the buttercream frosting. The top and sides of the cake can be draped with natural flowers and elements that complement the backyard surroundings. A classic frosted white cake with fresh flowers never goes out of fashion and is the way to go if you are undecided about the style you want for your cake.
Wedding Day Decor
The decor plays a huge role in creating the wedding of your dreams. It can be the most stressful and also the most enjoyable part of planning your wedding. Backyard weddings usually involve a lot of DIY projects and upcycling. Learn to use the space and the surroundings to your advantage, if there is something that doesn’t look appealing to you in the garden, make it work to your advantage and use it as a decor piece.
Be inspired by nature. A backyard wedding is all about embracing the beautiful backdrop that the country outdoors provide, use that theme in your centerpieces. Beautiful rustic jars and simple glasses can be used as vases, filled with a wild variety of flowers. Lanterns are another beautiful rustic addition to your tables and can be used as thank you gifts for mother’s or can be used around your new home. What could be more country and rustic than Mason jars? Use Mason jars as vases on your tables or candle holders. These jars also make lovely wedding favors for your guests, filled with candy or a fancy dessert. Using elements from nature can look stunning as you draw the outdoors in with gorgeous tree bark candle holders and bases for flowers, and using natural greenery from trees and vines to drape in the center of your tables as a runner. The soft glow of fairy lights and candles never grow old, combine pretty twigs and branches with them to add that extra romance to the evening.
A popular decor choice for rustic weddings are sign posts with arrows pointing in the direction of the ceremony, reception and any other places of importance. These can be a fun DIY project and can be personalized according to your vision. Add an extra special touch by handwriting the sign information yourself. Keeping things simple with white and small pops of neutral colors and flowers are also great options for keeping things rustic. Use burlap and lace to create a chic rustic look, buntings are a cute and popular way to incorporate these fabrics.
A simple trick to dress up cocktail tables is to tie the bottom of the cloth with a ribbon or piece of yarn, this adds a chic look to your reception venue and also looks great outdoors for those who like to escape the reception for some fresh country air. Chandeliers, if you are lucky enough to be able to incorporate one or two, bring in gorgeous lighting and glamour to your reception. Using a chandelier under your ceremony altar space is also a beautiful option and will create amazing photographs. Have a display of your life together as a couple in photographs. Make use of items that you and your family have laying around the house such as old wooden ladders, crates or even wine barrels. A rustic wedding looks beautiful with many mixed elements and mismatched pieces, use what you have instead of buying shiny new things, if you don’t have it, then try finding it in nature or from family and friends, this adds to the rustic charm. Create interesting little decor pieces that show off your style as a couple and also creates unique room dividers and space fillers. Use heirlooms that you have, stack old suitcases or books and add some pretty flowers to add a memorable rustic show piece to your reception. Provide a table where your gifts and cards can be delivered, use this table as a decor piece and get creative.
Wedding Day Attire
The wedding dress is undoubtedly the most important aspect for the bride. Choosing the right style and design is a huge decision, one that you will remember for many years to come and cherish through photo’s and video. A backyard wedding usually lends itself to a more simple wedding dress choice. Backyard bridal gowns are very seldom big ballgowns and are mostly figure fitted and lacey. Gorgeous low backs and lace detail add elegance to simple dress designs. If you plan on dancing the night away out in the country, dresses without long trains are a good choice. You can add your sparkle by adding a beaded belt or sash to your dress. Soft flowy dresses are a great option for you to enjoy your relaxed backyard reception. With that being said, there really are no set rules when it comes to choosing your dream dress and you should ultimately choose the dress that will make you feel your absolute best, even if it is an over the top dress not suited for a backyard style wedding.
Bridesmaids dresses are usually soft chiffon fabrics and short in the summer time, the focus is on the bride and bridesmaids are often understated but pretty. Dresses of the same color and fabric but different individual styles are a very popular choice and add to the mismatched charm of a rustic backyard wedding theme. Bridal jewelry often matches your wedding dress. If you have a simple dress you can add a bit of extra glam with pretty jeweled accessories. If your dress has a lot of sparkle, then choose minimalistic pieces. Family heirloom accessories are always a special choice for your big day.
Upswept hairdos are an excellent choice for hot summer weddings, if you prefer your hair down, choose an unfussed style with soft curls. Add fresh flowers or a pretty flower garland to your hair to create a beautiful rustic look. Makeup trends are currently less is more, which fits perfectly with a country style wedding. Choose pretty pinks and neutrals for your eyes and a bold lip color, or go for a subtle smokey eye with hints of shimmer and a neutral lip color. Gone are the days of layering on makeup and false lashes. Don’t forget to add a layer of sunscreen to your makeup regime, a sunburnt bride is not a happy bride. You will also see a lot of boots, ballet flats and pretty sandals instead of glamourous heels at country backyard weddings.
The groom can choose to ditch the tie and opt for a more relaxed wedding day look with a simple shirt to match his suit. Perhaps you prefer the formality of a tie but don’t want the formality of a full suit, choose a waistcoat instead of a suit jacket for a relaxed but classic look. Neutral colored suits is another popular trend for rustic styled weddings. Grooms and groomsmen sport earthy tones of sand and khaki, which also look great with a bow tie.
The flower bouquets and boutonnieres will usually match the flowers used as centerpieces. While roses are a wedding day classic, choose rustic wild flowers such as baby’s breath, sunflowers, and daisies to add to the country charm appeal. These flowers will save you money and match perfectly with the rustic chic decor, and mismatched vases.
Photographs have to be one of the vital elements of a wedding. Yes, it could possibly be annoying having a camera in your space the entire day, but these are the memories you will fill your home with for years to come. These are the memories you will share with your children and hopefully grandchildren one day, as you relive that special day through the photo’s captured. A little bit of planning needs to go into taking your photo’s.
Look for special spots that you may want to include in your photo’s. Photographers should be accommodating in bringing your vision to life, as well as giving you advice on how to create beautiful photographic memories. Use the lighting to your advantage, different times of day bring different lighting; the lighting has to be even for the best images. We personally really like shade and overcast!
Sunset weddings can also create lovely dramatic photographs leading into the night. Use the gorgeous backdrop God has provided you with in the country outdoors you have chosen, use trees and water as features in your pictures. A lot of couples are choosing to have their portrait photo’s taken before the ceremony, this can be lovely as the photographer can catch that candid moment your husband to see you for the first time in your wedding gown. Try not to focus on the camera once your portrait and “posed” shots have been taken. It is lovely to have photo’s of you really enjoying your wedding day, looking back at them transports you back to the natural moments caught on camera. Have fun and enjoy every special moment. Golden Hour or Sweet Light is often when we will try and schedule your couple photos!
The idea of a backyard wedding is to keep things elegantly simple. Don’t overthink or over do things, stay true to who you are as a couple and the finer details will fall into place. Don’t focus on pleasing everybody because that is impossible. Focus on bringing your vision to life and creating memories that will last a lifetime. The most important thing to remember with any wedding is to take everything in and enjoy every moment, this is only one day in the many days that create the rest of your lifelong journey together as husband and wife.
FROM THE BRIDE:
Geoff and I met on a tropical island in Belize. Since I was heading back to Wisconsin in a few days I had little interest in getting to know this handsome foreigner from South Africa. Geoff, however, wouldn’t be ignored. After spending just 5 days with him, I found myself sitting at the airport watching my plane take off. That’s right – I skipped my international flight to spend another week with him! Craziest thing I have ever done but somehow I knew that I was going to marry that man someday. I was right. Geoff and I began our cross-continental relationship soon after and one year later I found myself back at an airport holding back tears as Geoff asked me to be his wife. 6 months later I became Mrs. Coetzee.
Planning a wedding with a fiancé 8,000+ miles away proved to be quite the challenge but on December 5th 2015, as we stood before family and friends and said ‘I do’, I would not have changed a thing. Our rustic winter wedding at the Rothschild Pavilion was perfect! Many thanks go out to James Stokes Photography for so beautifully capturing all the special moments of that day for us! We will treasure the memories for a lifetime.