Courtship In The Country

40 Ways To Create A Romantic And Rustic Celebration

In lieu of extravagant, over-the-top affairs, couples today are opting for the simplistic romance of a rustic chic wedding. There are various ways to incorporate this trend into your special day, and many brides and grooms fi nd that having a natural celebration allows them to make the wedding more personalized and focused on them as a couple. With the right adornments, special details, and a bit of bark and burlap, you can turn your blissful bash into a rural retreat.


The first choice is obvious: a farm that has rolling pastures dotted with buttercups, horses galloping about and a big, red barn. There are plenty of horse farms in Hampton Roads many in the Pungo area of Virginia Beach. Some but not all are available for wedding rentals, so do some research to fi nd the one that best suits your needs.

A backyard. If you’re planning an intimate gathering with a limited guest list, perhaps you have a relative or friend who’s willing to open their land to you. Just remember to consider important details such as restrooms (most plumbing systems aren’t equipped for crowds) and parking.

A winery. Having your wedding at a nearby winery such as Chatham Vineyards on the Eastern Shore or Williamsburg Winery is a popular idea for many brides because of the gorgeous atmosphere (not to mention the neverending supply of wine that is often available to brides and grooms at wholesale prices).

Gardens. Whether you choose the Norfolk Botanical Garden, the Chesapeake Arboretum or the Hermitage Museum & Gardens, there’s something truly romantic about getting married outdoors among towering trees and fragrant blossoms. Forget the decorations and let Mother Nature serve as your one and only backdrop.

A bed and breakfast. One of the key points of achieving a charming country feel to your wedding is making the day intimate and special, which is the main intent of most B&B owners. Having your wedding at a delightful bed and breakfast or inn will assure that the day will be focused on your wedding alone.


Skip the enormously poufy gown, and go simpler with either a shorter-length gown or a dress that’s more fitted. Pick a simple but feminine fabric such as lace, cotton organza or linen.

If you’re planning an outdoor affair, heels could get stuck in the ground. Opt for a pair of cowgirl boots, or choose some elegant flats or wedges.

Even if your bouquet wasn’t just picked from a field of wildfl owers, you can have your florist create this appearance simply by choosing blossoms that are more natural looking (such as lilacs, hydrangeas, sunfl owers and camellias) and adding plenty of greenery. Don’t forget to fasten your arrangement with burlap and adorn with a cluster of buttons or a vintage brooch.

Keep the veil simple by choosing a style such as a birdcage, or make your own headpiece using fresh or silk flowers.



Skip the uptight tuxedo and go for a more casual suit. You can have a little fun mixing colors and patterns to achieve a laid-back but dapper look.

Choose a bowtie or necktie to complement the wedding colors, keeping in mind that everything doesn’t have to be too matchy-matchy.

Suspenders are dreamy—especially in fun colors.

Get a little whimsical with the shoes by choosing a style such as wingtips or oxfords. 

The boutonniere can be made up of a simple wildflower posy, or it can be an adornment created from materials such as vintage buttons or bark.


When choosing chairs for the ceremony and reception, opt for natural wood instead of metal or plastic.

Put Mason jars to use. If you’re having a late ceremony, you can place a candle in each jar to create a lit pathway, or you could hang the lighted jars from trees using a bit of twine. Jars also make adorable vases for fl ower arrangements, especially if covered in burlap or simply adorned with a twine ribbon. A final option is to serve drinks in them.

Create some homemade signs using old boards and white paint. Using the signs, you can direct guests to notice areas such as “Parking,” “Wedding,” “Cocktail Hour,” “Bonfire” and more. You can also paint a sign with your names and the date and then later hang the sign in your home.

You can create a beautifully rustic seating chart by using an old window pane and writing guests’ names on the glass, or you can remove the glass, string some twine inside the panes and hang individual escort cards from clothespins.

Cut burlap pieces into triangles, fold over and sew (or hot glue) the edge and string twine through to make some nifty flags. You can mix and match fabrics or spell out words with these decorations.



Instead of a guestbook with one of those little feather pens, line a vintage suitcase with a country cute fabric, and have guests write their well wishes and drop them in the suitcase. You could also use this idea as a place for guests to drop their cards.

Get someone to help you cut a log slice from a fallen tree or stump, and have your guests sign it. Then you can display this special sentiment in your home together.

Have guests type out a message of love on an old typewriter. Just make sure the typewriter still functions, and you may want to have someone attending the station to show younger guests how it works.

Guests can sign their messages on squares of precut fabric, making sure to leave enough space around the edges. After the wedding, you can sew the squares together to make a quilt that you’ll treasure forever.

If you’ve got an artsy friend, have them sketch a picture of a bare tree either on a piece of wood or on paper. Next to the tree, place an inkpad with either green ink or multiple fall colors (red, orange, yellow). Each guest will leave a thumbprint “leaf” on the tree with each person’s print being unique. You can hang or frame this memento as a reminder of your romantically rustic day.


Hors d’oeuvres that are presented on log slices make delightful serving trays.

Go for a sophisticated potluck feel by offering a buffet of foods served in country-minded dishes. 

Comfort foods such as barbecue, fried chicken and ham biscuits will leave guests with a satisfied, down-home feeling.

Have your caterer use local fruits and veggies to create delicious side dishes (bonus if the produce is harvested from the farm in which you’re having your wedding).

Instead of one cake, go for an entire dessert bar complete with fruit pies, pie pops and miniature cakes.



Mix and match different patterns of vintage tablecloths for a fun, carefree effect. You can even do the same with plates!

For a more natural effect, use white tablecloths with burlap table runners. Tie the ends with twine ribbon to dress it up, or sew lace edges around the runner for a shabby chic feel.

For centerpieces, consider simple arrangements of wildflowers (daisies, black-eyed Susans and other selections from the yard) placed in mismatched vases or jars.

If your wedding is during late fall or winter where not as many fl owers are in bloom, use branches in taller vases combined with arrangements of candles for a cozy and romantic atmosphere.

Create memorable place card holders by cutting slits in small pieces of birchwood and then sliding name cards in place.


Jars of locally canned jelly or jam will be a sweet reminder of your special day. 

If your wedding is on a farm, plant seeds of vegetables, herbs or fl owers in small jars or cans, wrap them in decorative fabric and give your guests a gift that will keep on growing.

Wrap an assortment of vintage candies in fabric, and tie with a ribbon. Your guests will appreciate this nostalgic touch. 

Give each guest a fragrant bar of homemade goat’s milk soap created from a local producer such as Tasha’s Own in Virginia Beach.

Wooden coasters are easy to make using some thick tree branches, a handsaw (be careful!) and some clear varnish. Tie four coasters together with
twine, and you’ve got a darling set.

Categories: Weddings