30 Desert-Inspired Wedding Details That Are Almost Too Hot to Handle

Even if you're without an epic desert venue, there are still plenty of ways to infuse inspiration from the stark landscape

Updated 06/10/17

Photo by Lauren Rosenau

These days, the desert is proving hot in more ways than one; besides its high temperatures, it's also stealing the spotlight in wedding style. It may not initially sound like the most romantic place to tie the knot, but there is something undeniably beautiful about the arid charm of a barren land and saying "I do" in the middle of nowhere. Seriously—what's not to like about sunset-colored mountains, an endless night sky peppered with all the constellations, and prickly, decadent cactus scenery? Even if you're without an epic desert wedding venue, there are still plenty of ways to infuse inspiration from the stark landscape.

Color palettes for a desert-inspired wedding often go one of two ways: bold and colorful or warm and dusky, sometimes even converging the two. Many come with a boho or tribal touch, such as Navajo patterns, Moroccan cushion seating, or eclectic textiles. Others show a southwestern flair, incorporating elements such as longhorn skulls or leather accents. And there are always geodes, agates, and gemstones for earthy touches.

But the real heart of a desert-inspired wedding is in its flora. Yes, 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 runner centerpiece. Even cacti paddles have proven themselves to be spectacular decor as table numbers or plateware accents. For a sweeter touch, there's no denying the allure of succulents, whether you use them as centerpieces, boutonnieres, or escort cards and wedding favors (ones that your guests will actually keep!). For a more subtle touch, pampas grass and desert cattails have a more rugged nature with a rustic vibe, while protea, the desert's most beautiful flower, brings a romantic twist.

Our minds reel just thinking about the endless options. Below, our favorite desert-inspired details that are more than hot.

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Floral Wrapped Cactus

<p>Cactus Wedding Portrait</p>

Photo by Kelsea Holder

A floral garland romanticizes a saguaro cactus, making for one dreamy desert-ceremony backdrop.

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Add Some Navajo Blankets

<p>Desert Wedding Venue</p>

Photo by Birds of a Feather

With a wide expanse of sunburst canyon and a wispy desert, not much is needed for a stunning ceremony. Minimalist Navajo blankets add a final touch to the seating.

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Rustic Branch Arch

<p>Desert-Inspired Wedding Ceremony Arch</p>

Photo by Lucy Spartalis

A Persian rug, a rustic arch of branches, and cactus accents bring bohemian flavor to this desert ceremony.

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Sheer and Cacti

Cacti and Succulent Wedding Backdrop

Photo by Birds of a Feather

Potted cacti and succulents add a pop of zesty green to a romantic backdrop of gauzy linens billowing in the breeze.

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Decorate the Chairs

Tillandsia Wedding Ceremony Chair Decor

Photo by Marble Rye Photography

Tillandsia adorns back-row ceremony chairs for a dash of desert whimsy.

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Potted Succulents

<p>Potted Succulent Wedding Aisle Decor</p>

Photo by Nick Radford Photography

Potted succulents make a desertly sweet statement as aisle decor.

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Desert-Infused Bouquet

<p>Bouquet with Succulents and Cacti</p>

Photo by Melissa Jill; Planning by Bianca Weddings & Events; Florals by Butterfly Petals

A wild bouquet of burnt-red yucca, pale-pink florals, green succulents, and cacti infuses the tones and elements of the desert.

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Keep It Open

<p>Outdoor Wedding Reception in a Desert</p>

Photo by Ben Christensen Photography

What's dreamier than dining alfresco in an open landscape? An open tent with string lighting soaks in gorgeous views, including endless stargazing when day turns to night.

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Stick To Sunny Colors

<p>Copper Wedding Reception Chairs and Cacti Centerpieces</p>

Photo by Megan Welker Photography

This sunny tablescape takes on Palm Springs flair with blush and copper tones and a centerpiece of pampas grass and cacti.

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Adorn With Air Plants

<p>Folding Screen Escort Card Display</p>

Photo by Nick Radford Photography

This handsome escort-card display features a mahogany folding screen of intricate carvings, adorned with air plants for a desert touch.

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Geode Menu

<p>Wedding Menu Written on a Geode Rock</p>

Photo by Tyler Rye Photographer

How unique is this menu? A polished geode rock in zesty yellow with a natural geometric pattern resembles a lively desert sunrise.

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Think Terra-Cotta Details

<p>Summer Wedding Reception Tablescape</p>

Photo by Jen Rodriguez

A whitewashed place setting paired with terra-cotta details puts a chic spin on cactus decor.

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Cacti Centerpiece

<p>Potted Cacti Wedding Centerpieces</p>

Photo by Marcos Sanchez

This earth-toned tablescape takes on an indie feel with organic elements, from candles and wood accents to a bare table and pop of periwinkle linens. A grouping of cacti as a centerpiece steals the show.

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Southwestern Feel

<p>Longhorn Wedding Centerpiece</p>

Photo by Lucky Malone Photography

Desert meets edgy autumn with a runner in a moody, husky palette and a longhorn centerpiece with a southwestern feel.

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Cactus Paddle Place Setting

<p>Cactus Wedding Place Setting</p>

Photo by Ben Q Photography

Cactus paddles bring a subtle hint of the desert to this pastel place setting, looking especially at home against a macramé runner.

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Rainbow Rock Escort Tags

<p>Geode Rock Escort Cards</p>

Photo by Gaby J Photography

Glittering rainbow rocks in azure tones with cognac leather escort tags sing the notes of a southwestern tune.

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Cactus Cake

<p>Cactus Decorated Wedding Cake</p>

Photo by Ashley Rae Photography

A plump cactus makes a simple statement atop a naked cake.

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King Proteas Garland

<p>King Protea Garland</p>

Photo by Amy & Jordan Photography

A lush garland of king proteas infuses the desert's sweetness for a romantic take.

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Desert-at-Dusk Vibe

<p>Shadowbox Wedding Reception Table with Geodes</p>

Photo by Tyler Rye Photographer

This reception table is like no other: A shadowbox style houses stones and geodes with a quartz-like feel, tying in dreamily with a matching agate name holder. Combined with slate-blue plates and a dash of copper, the palette has a desert-at-dusk vibe.

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Statement Runner

<p>Wedding Reception Table with Yellow Table Runner</p>

Photo by Karlee K Photography

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.

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Rust-Colored Shades

<p>Moroccan and Desert-Inspired Wedding Reception Lounge</p>

Photo by Levi Tijerna

Warm, rust-colored shades and hues of teal and purple bring a desert sunset to life in this intimate reception setup. We love how Moroccan pouf seating and southwestern-style tribal-printed rugs marry desert influences from around the world.

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Mossy Archways

<p>Wedding Arches of Air Plants</p>

Photo by Lauren Rosenau

Mossy archways of air plants and other rich flora from the barren land put an elegant twist on desert life.

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Watercolor Escort Cards

<p>DIY Dip-Dyed Escort Cards</p>

Photo by Colleen Sherman

DIY dip-dyed escort cards create a stunning watercolor display, mimicking the rosy and dusty tones of a desert landscape.

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Stick with Tribal Patterns

<p>Desert-Inspired Wedding Reception Table Decor</p>

Photo by Jonnie and Garrett

Simple tribal patterns, animal skulls, and a centerpiece of air plants and desert cattails bring the hues of the desert alive.

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Cactus Paddle Table Numbers

<p>Cactus Paddle Table Numbers</p>

Photo by Tec Petaja Photography

Cactus paddles doubling as table numbers, next to a gorgeous bouquet of flowers mimicking desert canyon tones, bring a fun twist to the table.

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Southwestern-Style Lounge Area

<p>Desert Wedding Reception Venue</p>

Photo by Marble Rye Photography

Is there a more perfect desert reception venue than an open adobe house? A southwestern-style lounge area with an eclectic mix of bohemian pillows, wicker swivel chairs, wood, and fire-red metal seating fits right in.

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Desert Meets The Sea

<p>Destination Wedding Reception</p>

Photo by Marion Heurteboust Photography

The desert meets the sea in this dreamy setup with an ocean backdrop, shades of blue, and pots of mini cacti scattered across the table.

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Ombré Cake

<p>Blue Ombre Wedding Cake with Air Plant Topper</p>

Photo by Tyler Rye Photographer

Nature shows its beauty in this ombré cake with dusty-blue and sage tones, thanks to an air-plant topper and mossy accents.

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Succulent Escort Cards

<p>Cacti and Succulent Escort Cards and Wedding Favors</p>

Photo by Jenny Kim Photo

How adorable are these miniature cacti and succulents that double as both escort cards and favors? Resourceful and ecofriendly.

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A Grand Entrance

<p>Bride and Groom with Camels</p>

Photo by Lauren Rosenau

Whether replacing a getaway car or serving as a grand entrance, a pair of camels makes for a dramatic statement.

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