If you and your partner are looking for a venue to host a wedding celebration, consider the unique and beautiful backdrop of a desert. With sunset-colored mountains, an endless night sky peppered with constellations, and cactus scenery, a desert wedding is an absolutely breathtaking option for modern, bohemian couples.
Color palettes for a desert-inspired wedding often go one of two ways: bold and colorful or warm and neutral. With the neutral tones from the sandy landscape, you can choose to have your wedding blend in with the background or fully stand out. Many desert locations in the Southwest also have gorgeous mid-century modern structures that can serve as cool venues for your reception.
The real heart of a desert-inspired wedding is in its flora. Cacti can be more than just a backdrop. Weave them into your floral arrangements or bouquet, pot them as bookends to the altar or ceremony aisle, or arrange them across reception tables to fashion a centerpiece. For a more subtle touch, pampas grass and desert cattails have a naturally bohemian vibe, while protea brings a romantic twist.
Want to see more ways to make the most of a desert wedding venue? We rounded up 30 ideas to inspire your own desert celebration.
Use Nature as Your Ceremony Arch
No need to construct a wedding arch when you can use the natural elements of the desert as your décor. At this Joshua Tree wedding, a couple used the area’s native Saguaro trees as their ceremony backdrop.
Decorate Your Ceremony With Dried Foliage
If you want to create an arch for your ceremony, consider making one with dried foliage like baby's breath. The textural elements can add unique dimension to the design and blend in beautifully with the shades of the desert.
Take Stunning Portraits
The natural landscape of the desert is one of the highlights of choosing to say “I do” there. Make the most of your location and take incredible wedding photos with your new spouse with the natural backdrop. Pro tip: Bring an extra pair of shoes along if you need to hike to the best views.
Walk Under Mossy Archways
Mossy arches of air plants and other rich desert flora put an elegant twist on wedding floral installations.
Decorate the Chairs
Don't forget about decorating seats along your ceremony aisle. At this desert wedding, Tillandsia serves as an accent to mark the back row.
Offer Guests Parasols
With the strong desert sun, parasols can be a useful tool to stay cool. Provide guests with chic designs that will beat the heat during outdoor events and look great in your wedding photos.
While the desert can be hot during the day, it can easily cool down once the sun goes down. Place blankets on the backs of chairs at your evening ceremony or reception to keep guests warm as temperatures dip.
Line the Aisle With Potted Succulents
Potted succulents make a sweet desert statement as aisle décor. Get creative and mix and match your pot sizes for a dynamic look.
Arrange a Desert-Infused Bouquet
Infuse the tones and elements of the desert into your wedding bouquet. This beautiful arrangement features burnt red yucca, pale pink florals, green succulents, and cacti.
Make a Grand Entrance
Want to make a grand entrance that's perfect for a desert wedding? Riding in on pair of camels is sure to make a dramatic statement.
Keep It Open
What's dreamier than dining al fresco in an open landscape? An open tent or wooden structure with string lighting lets guests soak in gorgeous views during the day and stargaze at night.
Have a Getaway Car
Drive off into the desert with your new spouse in a fun getaway car. Not only is it a great moment to spend some time alone together, but your photographer can follow behind and catch some shots with a beautiful desert backdrop.
Designate a Lounge Area
Give your guests a place to relax at your reception with a curated lounge area. Bring together comfortable seating, tables, and floral arrangements in neutral tones to complement the desert landscape.
Have Succulent Escort Card
How adorable are these miniature potted succulent escort cards? Best of all, they double as wedding favors for your guests.
Use Rainbow Rock Escort Tags
Want another great double-duty escort card for the desert? Glittering rainbow stones in azure tones with cognac leather escort tags are a fun, celestial-inspired item for guests to take home.
Watercolor Escort Card
These dip-dyed escort cards create a stunning watercolor display, mimicking the rosy and dusty tones of a desert sunset.
The beautiful cacti and saguaros of the desert absolutely add to the ambiance of your event. Consider installing uplighting beneath a few of these plants so you can still see them once the sun goes down.
Stick to Sunny Colors
Bright yellows, oranges, and blues will be beautiful bold accents in contrast with the neutral landscape of the desert. Add these sunny shades throughout your wedding paper goods and centerpieces for a fun pop.
Incorporate Rust-Colored Shades
Rust-colored shades bring a desert sunset to life in this intimate reception setup. Incorporate the hues into your place settings and linens for a warm touch.
Have a Campfire
As the temperatures cool down in the evening, set up a campfire lounge area. You can even have a s’mores station so guests can enjoy a nostalgic dessert.
Use Pampas Grass
When curating your décor, consider highlighting pampas grass throughout the design. The fluffy dried grass is perfect for a neutral palette and can add lots of texture to your arrangements.
Make Cacti the Centerpiece
This earth-toned tablescape has a desert garden feel thanks to a grouping of cacti that serves as a centerpiece.
Use Ghost Chairs
Modern ghost chairs are a great option for your wedding ceremony seating in the desert. The clear material seamlessly allows the earth-toned landscape to shine through.
Include Terracotta Details
When choosing ceramics for your wedding tablescapes, use terracotta as a way to mirror the warmth of the desert in your aesthetic.
Create a Geode Menu
Want a unique menu? This polished yellow geode rock with a natural geometric pattern resembles a lively desert sunrise.
Integrate Woven Accents
Woven accents like jute rugs and chargers can easily enhance a desert affair. We love how they are integrated at this tented welcome party in the Moroccan desert.
Go Bold With a Statement Runner
A cheerful yellow statement runner and a textured centerpiece of roses, dahlias, blushing-bride proteas, king proteas, and banksia cones mimic the kaleidoscope of the desert sky.
Adorn Your Cake With Dried Foliage
Accent your wedding cake with the neutral tones of the desert with dried foliage. We love how these grasses can add unique texture and bohemian feel to your confection.
Host a Dinner in the Sand
Host a rehearsal dinner or reception in a remote location surrounded by desert rocks to create a intimate and memory-making experience for your guests.
Have a Desert Disco Party
Shimmering disco balls absolutely pop against the neutral tones of the desert. Decorate your dance floor with these accents for a groovy end to your celebration.