Country Weddings are Always a Hit
As a wedding consultant and coordinator for several years, I have ‘done’ many weddings in a variety of styles and configurations. Every wedding is a wonderful event, however, the most special, the most well-received and enjoyed weddings in which I have had a hand, have been the ones with the most personal touches. Country weddings, in the south, are always well-received.
You may think that every wedding has its own personal touches, but I think you would be surprised in knowing that most weddings simply follow whatever tradition happens to be, rarely straying from it, as though it ‘has to be that way’. Please accept my ‘expert wedding planning opinion’ when I tell you that it doesn’t have to be any way, but your own. I will explain what I’m talking about by using my country wedding as an example.
The Planning Process
Weddings are for Bride AND Groom
1. The very first suggestion I offer is that the bride AND groom should be completely involved in the planning. I realize that it is not always convenient for both parties to be 100% involved, however, I have seen ‘Bride-zillas’ and ‘Mother of the Bride-zillas’ get so carried away in building the perfect wedding that two things happen:
- A. The groom has no personal touches in the wedding and
- B. Everyone is so stressed out that no one enjoys the event.
Your Wedding Décor Should be a Reflection of You
2. When choosing the elements of your wedding, base it on your lives. Even down to our wedding colors, every element of our wedding reflected the life that my husband and I share. We are both very country, very natural, very outdoorsy and very southern.
Therefore, we interjected pieces of those elements into our entire wedding. We were married, outdoors, in the corral at our family farm. All of our décor included natural elements; our colors were naturals, whites, ivories, as well as RealTree camo (which is our favorite) and a splash of red.
Plan for You, Not Your Guests
3. Many people plan their weddings based on the people who will be attending and this is WRONG! Your friends and family will enjoy the event–for you. They will show up and be a part of whatever you have planned. The wedding is for the bride and groom, not the guests.
Do not make wedding planning decisions based on your guests. Period. Rather, plan YOUR event and allow them to be a part of it. Once the wedding is over, your guests will leave and you will have photographs and memories of the event forever…it needs to be your own.
Don’t Go Into Debt For It
4. Don’t break the bank and begin your marriage in debt! There are many ways to throw a great party without spending everything. If you are a ‘do-it-yourselfer’, there are ways to get out cheap, but beautiful! And especially when you consider planning country weddings. There are just so many low cost options that look like a million bucks!
Make It Personal
5. During the planning process, from the start, make sure that the most important and personal elements are addressed. For instance, I always suggest writing your own vows.
This is so much more personal than the very traditional vows that everyone repeats. It also gives your guests an opportunity to view this personal part of your lives as a couple. You are here to celebrate and share the love that you have found…so do it. (Speaking of which, you have GOT to check out the vows at my country wedding and the story behind it!)
Include Your Children (if you have them)
6. If there are already children involved, do not leave them out. This is a crucial point. If one or both partners already have children, then this is not simply a marriage, but a joining of families. It effects the children in a very significant way and they should be an active part of the wedding. You can choose how active their part should be.
My husband and I both have children. They WERE our wedding party in a very big way, but we also made the decision to make vows to them as well as to each other and give them a token of our love for them. This made a huge impact on them. It wasn’t just mom or dad getting married. It was a celebration of the family of which they are a major part.
Include Your Own Meaningful Touches
7. Other special touches that make your event more meaningful should be added. I had recently lost my father but we came up with ways to add him to our wedding.
A very close friend had a photograph of me and my daddy printed on fabric which was then sewn into the underside of my wedding dress so that he would be with me and his photograph would be in my wedding photos. I also set up a photograph of him with a floral arrangement and placed it in the front row beside my mother so that his place was known. It was very special and meaningful.
Building Great Country Weddings
8. Once you have determined your theme; style, colors, etc., the next step is using that theme in building each element of your wedding. At every turn, for every decision, return to that theme and make certain that it fits.
9. Certainly, your budget must be factored into your plans, but if you are careful, you can get a great deal of bang for your buck. Country weddings are inherently ‘rustic’ in nature, therefore lending themselves well to easy budget cutters. The following are a few examples:
A. Invitations –
They can be very expensive, however, country/rustic invitations can be handmade for a lot less and they still look the part. I used craft paper postcards and papers and printed my own. Everyone has a printer these days. Use it. Make it say what you want it to say. You can even print it in black with an appropriate font and add a touch of color afterwards with a stamper to fit your theme. And to be honest, this is actually a perfect way to go for country weddings.
B. Wedding apparel –
I ordered my bridesmaids dresses on eBay…they were perfect and reusable. I had a specific design in mind for my wedding gown. I ordered something on eBay that was very similar and made some changes to fit what I wanted. The guys were very comfortable in boots and jeans with a button up and I ordered them Real Tree Camo vests on Etsy. I saved a great deal of money on these items and they all fit perfectly with our wedding style. …Boots, jeans and Camo… Great for Country Weddings!
C. Décor for Country Weddings –
We used nature to decorate our wedding-in a big way! We had several downed trees that we cut into logs for décor. Our wedding arch, we constructed from tree limbs. Our flowers were mostly dried flowers that my husband and I picked as well as silks that I purchased on clearance.
Candles from Walmart; a bolt of tulle, burlap and ribbons from eBay; a roll of sisal rope from the farm store and twinkle lights…all have excellent decorative capability! We also cut up old fabrics and made garlands of the strips tied onto the sisal rope as a large element of our wedding décor. (This takes a little time, but not a lot of money!)
D. Other Décor Elements
My husband and I are very crafty and we love to build. We built signs from salvaged wood and I painted and stenciled them. We hung them all over the wedding and reception and they now have a double use in decorating our home as well.
10. In a country wedding, you have some leeway in deciding the type of reception that you want. We chose to have a barn dance and pasture party, complete with BBQ and bonfire. We wanted it to be a real party for all of our friends and family to enjoy with us–and we did most everything ourselves.
We butchered a pig and Kris smoked it. I made the wedding and grooms cakes myself. We did order our side dishes – potato salad and baked beans. We had a drinks station set up, a s’mores station and buffet tables for everything else.
Additional Country Wedding Décor
Other touches flowed throughout. Seating for the wedding was hay bales. Seating for the reception was hay bales and tailgates. Nothing seemed out of place, everything completely went together and that was the key element that made it all feel right.
Everyone felt comfortable and at home. The music was loud and so was the laughter. This is the kind of event that makes for the best memories for everyone involved; the wedding party as well as the guests. This is what I wish for everyone when planning their own wedding.
I would love to hear from any of you on this subject. Do you have questions on wedding design and planning elements? Did you also create a country wedding? I’d love to hear about it! Please share!
Don’t forget the first post about this Country Wedding!