Your Outdoor Wedding Reception – What’s Your Style?

Planning your wedding reception can be a daunting task. After all, most engaged couples have not had the experience of planning such a large and important party before.

To help with your planning process, I will cover some of the hallmarks of three popular types of outdoor receptions in this post.  At first glance all three may seem to be very similar to each other but there are definite differences in décor and style that really do help create a unique look and feel for each one.

The reception styles I’m including are Casual – Festive, Rustic and Garden.

CASUAL – FESTIVE WEDDING RECEPTION
Venue: Backyard, park, farm, and other outdoor venues.
Décor: Pom-poms, banners/bunting, paper décor and often decorations that hang from trees, fences, and the like. You can go with just “casual” or include more fun details for “casual-festive”.
Seating: Pillows, benches and simple chairs with or without pillows, sometimes decorated with ribbon streamers.
Tables:  Often long tables are used without tablecloths.  You can include place mats, table runners or tablecloths in simple fabrics such as burlap and cotton.
Centerpieces: Simple DIY incorporating candles and flowers in vases or in recycled jars and bottles.
Flowers: Simple in-season local cut flowers such as roses and daisies with baby’s breath and greenery added.

This informal style often includes colorful ribbons to decorate place settings, bottles, vases and chairs.

Hot Tip:  Even though  your reception may be casual, it is fun to add “designer” items such as vintage-style drinking straws, creative cupcake wrappers, cupcake toppers, styling tags, and other elements that tie together your color theme and help create a cohesive put-together look. The photos below help illustrate how this style can take shape.Casual - Festive Wedding Reception

Casual Wedding Reception

Casual Wedding Reception


RUSTIC WEDDING RECEPTION

Venue: Farm, park or backyard — sometimes in a large, rented tent or in a barn.
Décor: Burlap is often used, sometimes paired with lace. Mason jars are plentiful to hold flowers, candles, beverages and food.
Seating: Benches or simple chairs often decorated with burlap.
Tables: Picnic tables; round or rectangle tables without cloths or with burlap cloths.
Centerpieces: Simple DIY using Mason jars and recycled bottles and jars. Colorful marbles or stones are often used at the bottom of the vases.
Flowers: Lavender; sunflowers, daisies, dried flowers.  Dried wheat is often used in the decorations.

Bales of hay and hand-painted wedding signs can be incorporated in to the décor.

Hot Tip #1: If you love the rustic style but want your reception to be a little more formal, you can make the short jump from “rustic” to “country chic”. Country Chic combines rustic with more refined accessories, as shown below in the last two photos in the collage and the last single photo. In the last photo the burlap runners and yellow metal buckets are paired with white tablecloths and an elaborately decorated ceiling to create a unique and appealing country chic décor.

Hot Tip #2: If you want to make sure that your reception “screams” rustic, be sure to include Mason jars, lots of natural wood, burlap and informally arranged cut flowers.
Rustic Wedding Reception

Rustic Wedding Reception

Rustic – Country Chic:

Country Chic Wedding Reception


GARDEN WEDDING RECEPTION

Venue: Public or private garden or most any outdoor space that will accommodate the reception
Décor: Lots of flowers, of course! The décor can be simple or elaborate but this style is usually refined in the accessories and décor used.
Seating: Simple, stylish chairs
Tables: Tables almost always include a tablecloth or elaborate runner
Centerpieces: Centerpieces are usually lush and include lots of flowers
Flowers: Flowers often include roses and other in-season local flowers and can be in formal arrangements.

While this style incorporates nature in its décor, its decorations
usually lean toward simple elegance.

Hot Tip: If you have the reception in a public garden/park you will have some of your decorations already taken care of from the lush surroundings and plantings that are already there.Garden Wedding Reception

Garden Wedding Reception

Garden Wedding Reception

Below is an example of all of the styles together so you can more easily see how they differ. Click the photo for a large version.Outdoor Wedding Reception Styles

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For more ideas see our Pinterest Boards:
Burlap Wedding Ideas
Mason Jars for Wedding Decor
Mason Jars for Beverages
Mason Jars for Food
Country Chic/Rustic Weddings
DIY Centerpieces
DIY Reception Ideas from Exclusively Weddings

Resources on This Blog:

How to Use Mason Jars at Your Wedding
Taylor and Andrew’s Rustic Wedding
Rustic Wedding

Photo Sources:
Casual-Festive Collage:  Etsy, Piccsy, Ariella Chezar, Troy Grover Photographers Photo 1: Holland Photo Arts Photo 2: Style Me Pretty Rustic Collage:  Lovely Little Details, Jose Villa Wedding Photography, Jose Villa Wedding Photography, Ace Photography Photo 1: Southern Weddings Photo 2: Krista Fox Photography Garden Collage:  Moments of Magic, Vanilla and Cinnamon, Jose Villa Wedding Photography, Jesse Leake Photography Photo 2: Belle the Magazine

Easy DIY Wedding Reception Centerpieces

DIY Wedding CenterpiecesIf you are planning your wedding you are probably seeing the total cost add up … and up! One way to stretch your wedding dollars is to use DIY wedding reception centerpieces.

In this post we’ll focus on the ways you can incorporate glass bottles in to your DIY centerpiece. There are lots of other DIY possibilities as well, which we will cover in future blog posts. In the meantime, check out our DIY Centerpiece Pinterest board which has over 100 photos of ideas and inspiration.  DIY Centerpieces on Pinterest

The price of the bottles can range from a couple dollars each to free! You can use soft drink bottles, beer bottles, wine bottles and “dress” them up to look great. We suggest mixing free bottles with a few purchased ones.

And you can mix cuttings from bushes in with your cut flowers to stretch their effect.

One way to create centerpieces with a square shape is to use small jars or bottles and tie them together with ribbon, twine, yarn, etc. and fill them with cut flowers in your wedding colors. DIY Centerpieces - Yellow
Photo Source

DIY Centerpiece with 6 Bottles
Photo Source

Another idea for a DIY centerpiece is to use a variety of bottles and fill  each with a single flower. This works especially well for long, rectangular-shaped tables.

You can use a variety of bottle colors or shades of a single color for impact.
DIY Centerpieces for Rectangular Table
Photo Source

DIY Centerpieces for Long Table
Photo Source

Another option, besides adding flowers to a simple bottle, is to decorate the bottles. You can use colored glass “pebbles” to add a pop of color in the water and/or add decorative paper, ribbon or yarn.
DIY Centerpieces - Using Colored Glass
Photo Source

DIY Centerpieces - Decorate Mason Jars
Photo Source

DIY Centerpieces - Bottle Decorated with Yarn
Photo Source

The bottles can also be spray painted or dipped in paint to coordinate with weddings that are using either silver or gold as an accent.DIY Centerpieces - Bottles Dipped in Paint
Photo Source

DIY Centerpieces - Painted Bottles
Photo Source

And for winter weddings you can give the bottles a wintery look as shown below. See photo source below for instructions on how to accomplish this look. DIY Centerpieces - Winter
Photo Source

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Taylor and Andrew’s Rustic Wedding

Two team members at Exclusively Weddings had weddings in 2012. Andrea, who is head of the merchandising team, got married in December and her wedding is featured in a blog post here: Andrea and Chris’ Winter WeddingTaylor is on the merchandising team at Exclusively Weddings and her June wedding is featured below:

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On a sunny morning in June, Taylor married her true love, Andrew, lakeside at a historic farm in North Carolina. It was blue-sky day in a scenic and charming setting. Everything was perfect!

Taylor and Andrew met in college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill during her freshman year and his sophomore year. She admits that she had a crush on him for years, but they didn’t start dating until the summer he graduated. They both love their alma mater and Taylor showed her loyalty to UNC by wearing a Carolina Blue garter.

Before the wedding, Taylor and Andrew read notes that each had written to the other. Because they wanted to wait until the wedding ceremony for Andrew to see Taylor in her wedding dress, the best man walked Andrew to the meeting spot so Andrew could keep his eyes closed. Taylor and Andrew's Rustic Wedding - Reading Love Notes

Taylor’s beautiful bouquet included white peonies, white hydrangeas, and green hypericum berries and was tied with a burlap wrap.Taylor and Andrew's Rustic Wedding - Taylor's Bouquet

Walking to the alter with her father . . .Taylor and Andrew's Rustic Wedding - Taylor and Her Father

Aisle décor – made by Taylor . . .Taylor and Andrew's Rustic Wedding - Aisle Decor Made by Taylor

Taylor and Andrew's Rustic Wedding

The tranquil setting included lots of foliage and a large lake.
And if you are wondering how Taylor made the decision not to wear a veil, she says, “I’m not very traditional but while there are certain things that I really cherish about tradition, the veil was not one of them. I didn’t really like the look with the dress and since I was getting married on a farm, I didn’t feel like it would go with my theme. Good thing I decided not to because my husband told me later he doesn’t like the look anyway!” Read more wedding thoughts from Taylor at the end of the blog post.
Taylor and Andrew's Rustic Wedding - Happy Smiles

Bridesmaids wore a shade of blue that complemented the bridal gown’s
sash.
Taylor and Andrew's Rustic Wedding - Bridemaids

The groomsmen looked handsome in their attire, which was perfect for the hot, summer day.
Taylor and Andrew's Rustic Wedding - Groomsmen

Taylor and Andrew's Rustic Wedding - DIY Details

Taylor and Andrew's Rustic Wedding

They had a small wedding cake along with decorated cupcakes.Taylor and Andrew's Rustic Wedding - Cutting the Cake

They made their departure in a 1967 Austin Healy. She says, “My neighbor restores old cars and this is one he finished, so he offered to drive us away in it.”
Taylor and Andrew's Rustic Wedding -- Getting Away in Style

TaylorTaylor shares her wedding planning tips: “I’m a crafty person, so when it came time to plan my wedding, it didn’t seem right to buy my decorations when I could make them myself and could make it more personal that way, too.  I was also on a budget, so it was much more cost effective to make what I wanted. Like most girls, I had been thinking and dreaming about my wedding since I was little, so it was a very personal thing for me. I didn’t want a wedding planner; I wanted to do everything myself and  I wanted every detail to be special and unique to Andrew and me. DIY projects made this possible for me. While some of my guests may not have known, I spent time and effort making every detail the way that it was and overall I think that made a huge difference in the feel of our special day.

I picked things that could be used in multiple ways; for example, the burlap material for table overlay and bows, the twine for the jars, window frame and other odds and ends, ribbon that could be used all over my reception, etc. Then I also tried to make things that I could use after the wedding; for example, the wreaths that were used at the wedding are now at our home and the jars now have candles in them and are on our mantle. We use the plain mason jars at home and have the wood signs displayed at our home, too. So basically I just tried to be resourceful. I am very thankful that I have crafty family members and friends too because I had help with every DIY project that I did. My best advice: Make sure you allow enough time to get things done!

Photo Credits:
Taylor and Andrew’s wedding was photographed by:
Carl Butler of Keepsake Memories Photography and Natalie Schram of Agape Memories Photography

Wedding Signs

Here comes the brideA fun, new wedding trend is emerging …. wedding signs! It’s the perfect way to add a personal and creative touch to your wedding ceremony and reception. The style of the sign can range from rustic to shabby chic to elegant … from black and white to colorful. And is there anything cuter than a darling little boy or girl carrying a “Here Comes the Bride” sign. As shown in the collage below, signs can take a variety of styles and shapes to fit perfectly with your wedding vision. You can go with your level of formality or totally opposite. As shown in the first photo below, the bride and groom and their little attendants are dressed to the nines but their sign is rustic, which is a contrast that works.

There is no limit to the shapes and styles you can use as shown by the wide variety in the photos below.

Here Comes the Bride

In addition to the “Here Comes the Bride” sign, there are a lot of additional ways to incorporate signs in to your wedding as shown below. Wedding Signs

For more inspiration and ideas on wedding signs follow our two Pinterest Boards:
Wedding Signs and Bride/Groom Chair Signs

Photo Credits: The Etsy links will take you to the pages where the items are sold.
1st Collage: (2) Etsy, (3) Southern Weddings, (5) A Paper Proposal (7) Etsy – 2nd Collage: (1) Etsy, (2) Southern Weddings, (3)Etsy, (4) Etsy, (5) Etsy,
(6) Etsy, (7) Etsy, (8) Etsy

How to Use Mason Jars at Your Wedding

Mason Jar CandleAccording to the Ball Corporation, Jason L. Mason invented and patented Mason jars in 1858. Through all these years they have been used primarily for canning and preserving food, though other uses have evolved, as well. Made of soda-lime glass their variety of sizes ranging from cup to half-gallon makes them especially versatile for DIY projects.

They have become popular in our homes as vases, planters, pencil holders, and the like. But an unexpected use of the Mason jar has become a huge trend … Mason jars in wedding decorations. The popularity of rustic and country chic weddings has likely contributed to the Mason jar’s wedding appeal.

They make the perfect holder for wedding reception beverages. Choosing a colorful beverage and adding a coordinating straw makes for a tempting drink. They are especially useful for holding flowers for general décor, centerpieces and pew markers. For an evening wedding, you can create amazing ambience by using Mason jars to hold candles. Stringing and hanging them creates a magical scene. And your dinner and buffet tables will glow when filled with candles in Mason jars.

If you like the idea of using Mason jars in your wedding décor but need step-by-step instructions, here are three links that may be helpful. There is a tutorial on how to paint Mason jars and wire them to hang, as well as other creative projects for your wedding and for your home: Tatertots and Jello, HomeDIT, and Oh Lovely Day. Instructions for making the doily candles shown in the last collage can be found at Crafts by Amanda.

We have three Pinterest boards for Mason jars, too: Mason Jars for Wedding Decor, Mason Jars – Beverages, Mason Jars – Food.

I hope the photo collages below will inspire you to consider Mason jars for your own wedding décor.

Beverages in Mason Jars

Flowers in Mason Jars

Candles in Mason Jars

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Photo Credits: Etsy, Etsy-Treasure Again, blowoutparty.com, Crafts by Amanda, chickabug.com, iloveswmag.com, charlottegeary.com, and projectwedding.com

Rustic Wedding – Is This Style For You?

Rustic Wedding 6For the bride and groom who just cannot picture themselves having a formal wedding or even a semi-formal affair, the Rustic Wedding, also called Country Chic, is an option that might fit perfectly.

There are several ways to give a wedding the natural, rustic feel but the choice of venue is most important and will set the tone for the entire event. It would be somewhat futile to try to pull off a rustic wedding/reception inside a grand ballroom,  even if the decorations were considered rustic. But lots of other venues will work just fine. Once you have the location chosen, the fun part is choosing  the decorations and accessories.

Elements of design that help make the wedding rustic include the, bride’s and attendants’ bouquets, aisle markers, ceremony chairs, wedding cake, buffet tables, centerpieces, menu, glassware, tableware, dining tables and chairs, flowers, and table decorations. Each of these elements plays a role in making the wedding rustic.

Rustic weddings often include pom poms, lanterns, twinkling lights, and wildflowers. In addition, the Mason jar is an item that is perfect for rustic weddings. This handy little jar has a myriad of uses including holding such varied items as beverages, flowers and votive candles.

Even though the rustic wedding may be somewhat more casual than other wedding styles, it still offers many opportunities for it to be beautifully created. I have chosen some photos from our Pinterest Rustic Wedding Board, to give you some ideas of how to make your own rustic wedding spectacular! Check out our Pinterest Boards for lots of photos to inspire you!

Rustic Wedding 1

Rustic Wedding 2

Aisle FlowersRustic Wedding 3

Rustic Wedding 4

Rustic Wedding 5

Country Chic Wedding

Photos: theweddingtribune.com, jennycookies.com, bristolweddingnews.co.uk,
rubyju.typepad.com, theperfectpalette.com, iloveswmag.com, projectwedding.com, lovelylittledetails.com, brides.com, lisaleonardonline.com
Country Chic Collage:  Jamie Delaine, iStockphoto, Pinterest, Creative Reveries, Spotlight, Elizabeth Lloyd Photographer, Petite Reve Chocolates, MyKreations