How to Plan a Sophisticated Rustic Barnyard Wedding

Barnyard weddings have the best of both worlds: they feel like they’re outdoors, but really there’s plenty of cover in the event of an unexpected thunderstorm. Plus, even a rustic wedding can be chic and sophisticated - all it takes are the right decor elements. If you’re a little more country than rock ‘n’ roll, consider these tips for planning a stylish, lovely barnyard wedding.

Attire & Bouquets

The bride should bring along a pair of cowboy boots for countrified photos ops. The same goes for the bridesmaids, too. 

Even chic barnyard weddings have an overall casual feel, so you can get away with combining a few colors in your bouquet instead of sticking with a specific color scheme. Incorporate a few wildflowers, too, so long as you’re not allergic to them.  

Whether you want a totally unique bouquet or you just don’t feel like dealing with the hassle of live flowers, consider carrying a brooch bouquet. These types of bouquets are becoming extremely trendy and they’re very versatile, which means you can really create one to suit your style and wedding theme.

Photo courtesy of Rustic Wedding Chic

Venue & Decor 

You don’t have to go totally original and book a barn that’s actually never been used as a wedding venue. Instead, find a barn that’s sometimes - or only - used for weddings. This way, you won't go crazy trying to glam up a barn that’s just not going to clean up well. A simple Google search for “wedding barn” plus your zip code should turn up plenty of results. The best part of booking a bonafide event space is that they’ll likely provide tables, chairs and even some of the decor. (sometimes, a wedding barn will even have crystal chandeliers overhead). 

The beauty of a barn wedding is that you can have the ceremony outside and then move guests indoors for the rest of the day and evening. Even if you want to have your wedding entirely inside, you can still provide some seating outdoors for guests who’d like to get some fresh air. You can create a low key seating area with bales of hay, throw blankets and oversized pillows.

Tie back a set of soft draperies to create an elegant entryway to the barn.

Photo courtesy of Emmaline Bride  

Hang white paper lanterns overhead and set up small white strings of lights to brighten up the area. You can also create mason jar lanterns that either hang from the ceiling or sit on tables.

Find a specialist who can create your initials or monogram from moss. 

Photo courtesy of Emmaline Bride

Stick with the natural theme by having a bale of hay on hand for a photo prop. Bring the outside indoors by decorating with birch bark, leaves and greenery.

Set up a vintage birdcage to act as a card box.

Have several small wooden signs attached to a tree trunk or pole to direct guests to the ceremony, cocktail bar, dinner area and dance floors.

Photo courtesy of Emmaline Bride

Don’t be afraid to use burlap. Practically anything you can think of can be made out of burlap, including save-the-dates, invitations, tablecloths, boutonnieres, bouquet wraps and the groom’s bow tie.

Use chalkboards to display information like your menu and signature cocktail. You can also use them as photo props and for a “Just Married” sign.

If you're planning a wedding for the fall or winter, you have a few more decor ideas to consider. Decorate with stark white ghost pumpkins - you can use them on tabletops as centerpieces and to create an aisle if you’re having the ceremony in the barn. For a wintertime wedding, additional natural elements like pinecones and evergreens can be used to spruce up tall white candles.

Photo courtesy of Rustic Wedding Chic

Food & Drinks

Offer guests grownup versions of their favorite drinks, like spiked iced tea and lemonade.

Have the caterers set up a mashed potato with both white potatoes and sweet potatoes, plus all the fixings.

For dessert, have a buffet of assorted pies (all properly labeled!) with homemade whipped cream on the side. You can also offer guests pies-in-a-jar, whether they eat it during the reception or take it home as a favor. Other favors for foodies include honey, jam, gourmet granola or hot chocolate mix.

Photo courtesy of 365 Brides

If your wedding is during the fall, have a candy table set up with various autumn-appropriate candies, like candy corn, chocolates and caramels. (You couldn’t have candy that would melt during a warm weather wedding)

Photo courtesy of Wedding Chicks

A Few More Ideas

Just because the barn itself will be twinkling late into the night, guests may have a hard time finding their cars when it’s finally time to leave. Either try to tell everyone ahead of time to come prepared or ask a few volunteers to walk guests out with flashlights.

DJs may be versatile, but they don’t exactly coincide with a rustic wedding. Instead, hire a live band, preferably one that plays a bit of country (unless you hate that genre). You can ask them to have a few songs on an iPod mix that they can play for your first dance and other notable moments, if you’d like.

Some couples choose to perform a commitment-type ceremony at a wedding, like lighting candles or combining colored sand. For a barnyard wedding, plant a tree together and then give guests tree saplings at favors.