Whenever you scroll through social media, you’re probably inundated with images of quaint cottages in the tranquil countryside and lace-embroidered peasant dresses. With the growing desire to escape modern life and retreat to a slower, simpler, more sustainable existence, cottagecore has taken off on TikTok, Instagram, and Tumblr over the past few years. “The cottagecore aesthetic draws inspiration from a variety of sources, including rural landscapes, vintage fashion, fairy tales, and historical traditions,” says Tracy Taylor Ward, the owner and creative director of Tracy Taylor Ward Design, an award-winning event planning and design firm located in New York and South Florida. “It is often associated with pastoral images of grazing sheep, quaint flower gardens, apple orchards, and rustic cottages. Think Little Women meets Secret Garden vibes.”
Like many other internet crazes, this trend has also made its way into the wedding world. “A cottagecore wedding romanticizes rural life, nature, and simplicity,” Ward explains. If you’re drawn to cozy and whimsical atmospheres filled with organic, vintage, and eco-friendly elements, Ward says a cottagecore aesthetic may be the perfect fit for your nuptials. For those hosting their celebration in the great outdoors, especially at a farm, barn, garden, or meadow, your venue presents an ideal backdrop for this theme to take shape.
Want to plan your own cottagecore celebration? Here, the experts explain how.
How to Plan a Cottagecore Wedding
Wondering how to make cottagecore the main aesthetic for your big day? Ward recommends painting your soirée in a warm color palette with soft and earthy tones, such as blush, sage, and lavender. “Using these colors in the décor or attire can help evoke a romantic and nostalgic atmosphere without being too overt,” the planner notes.
Once you've nailed down your color scheme, embrace natural textures and elements to produce an environment reminiscent of the comforting countryside. Ward suggests filling your bouquet, aisle arrangements, ceremony arch, and centerpieces with roses, peonies, daisies, and additional wildflowers in pastels. “Floral arrangements should be simple and unstructured with a focus on natural beauty,” she notes. For another organic touch, Ward advises incorporating wood and stone into your design. Arrange your tabletop florals in stone pots and vases or wood planter boxes to capture simple outdoor living. You can also use exposed wood to form the basis of your seating, whether it’s a wooden bench at the ceremony or farm tables for your reception.
Cottagecore Wedding Fashion
Since the cottagecore movement started as a fashion trend, there are endless ways to make the aesthetic part of your wedding look. Putting on an effortless empire waist wedding dress with puff sleeves or a long-sleeve tulle gown with a ruffled skirt will feel like frolicking through a meadow. You can even feature a pop of color with pastel florals embroidered across your getup. For glam, embrace natural makeup with rosy cheeks and tie your locks back in a fishtail braid affixed with a flower crown or a sprig of fresh buds. Ward suggests that your wedding party also get in on the fun by sporting ensembles in cotton, lace, or chiffon fabrics or floral prints.
Cottagecore Wedding Details
Rustic items can help drive home your overarching design concept. Consider serving your signature cocktails in mason jars, create an entryway to your reception site with copper lanterns, and line your tablescape with taper candles and fresh fruit. Since the cottagecore aesthetic channels a past era, antique items, whether it’s a stack of old books or vintage vases, will make your day feel more personal and intimate. “These elements can add a sense of history and nostalgia to the wedding without overpowering the overall theme,” Ward says.
Cottagecore Wedding Food
With its roots in sustainability and simplicity, cottagecore gives way to a delicious array of cuisine. Your best option is a farm-to-table menu with locally-sourced ingredients, according to Ward. Since a traditional sit-down dinner generates a formal atmosphere, opt for a family-style meal or picnic reception, which feels more laid-back and homey. You can also display your food in a way that reinforces the pared-back, earthy look. For instance, garnish your specialty drinks and a wedding cake with plenty of real flowers.