30 Desert Wedding Ideas to Enhance Your Earthy Nuptials

Learn how to complement the desert landscape at your celebration.

Bride in off-the-shoulder gown with ponytail and groom in black suit embrace on a desert road

Photo by Kayla Mendez Photography

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.

01 of 30

Use Nature as Your Ceremony Arch

Desert wedding ceremony with Saguaro trees, dried foliage and pampas grass aisle arrangements, and a white runner down the aisle

Photo by Brooke Miller Photography

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.

02 of 30

Decorate Your Ceremony With Dried Foliage

Dried baby's breath and foliage arches and white wooden structure with hanging

Photo by The Foxes Photography

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.

03 of 30

Take Stunning Portraits

Bride and groom on cliff in the Moab desert

Photo by The Foxes Photography

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.

04 of 30

Walk Under Mossy Archways

Wedding arches of greenery and air plants above a bride and groom

Photo by Lauren Rosenau

Mossy arches of air plants and other rich desert flora put an elegant twist on wedding floral installations.

05 of 30

Decorate the Chairs

Tillandsia on wooden chair at a desert wedding ceremony

Photo by Marble Rye Photography

Don't forget about decorating seats along your ceremony aisle. At this desert wedding, Tillandsia serves as an accent to mark the back row.

06 of 30

Offer Guests Parasols

Bride and bridesmaids walk through desert holding white parasols

Photo by Michelle Scott Photography

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.

07 of 30

Add Blankets

Desert Wedding Venue

Photo by Birds of a Feather

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.

08 of 30

Line the Aisle With Potted Succulents

Succulents in terracotta pots lining a wedding ceremony aisle

Photo by Nick Radford Photography

Potted succulents make a sweet desert statement as aisle décor. Get creative and mix and match your pot sizes for a dynamic look.

09 of 30

Arrange a Desert-Infused Bouquet

Bride holding a bouquet with succulents, cacti, red yucca, pink florals, and greenery

Photo by Melissa Jill; Florals by Butterfly Petals

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.

10 of 30

Make a Grand Entrance

Bride in green dress and groom in desert with two camels

Photo by Lauren Rosenau

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.

11 of 30

Keep It Open

Wood structure with string lights above long wedding reception tables with neutral linens and ghost chairs

Photo by SoCal Standard

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.

12 of 30

Have a Getaway Car

Bride and groom drive off in red convertible getaway car in the desert

Photo by Carl S. Miller

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.

13 of 30

Designate a Lounge Area

Desert wedding lounge area with pink and white couches, wood tables, green chairs, and rattan accents

Photo by Hailley Howard

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.

14 of 30

Have Succulent Escort Card

Cacti and succulent escort cards and wedding favors in silver pots with signs

Photo by Jenny Kim Photo

How adorable are these miniature potted succulent escort cards? Best of all, they double as wedding favors for your guests.

15 of 30

Use Rainbow Rock Escort Tags

Rainbow geode rocks tied to leather escord card tags with guest names

Photo by Gaby J Photography

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.

16 of 30

Watercolor Escort Card

Pink and blue watercolor escort card wall on wood

Photo by Colleen Sherman

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

17 of 30

Uplight Cacti

Desert wedding reception dinner with long table, metal arch with hanging lanterns, and uplit cacti

Photo by Carl S. Miller

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.

18 of 30

Stick to Sunny Colors

Place setting with yellow menu, striped blue and white napkin, and blue bowl with ikebana florals

Photo by SoCal Standard

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.

19 of 30

Incorporate Rust-Colored Shades

Wedding reception place setting with rattan placemats and terracotta napkins, glassware, and plates

Photo by Sarah Anne Photography

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.

20 of 30

Have a Campfire

Bride and groom in white suit roast s'mores at campfire

Photo by SoCal Standard

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.

21 of 30

Use Pampas Grass

Pool covered in candles and floor floral arrangements with pampas grass, dried foliage, and white florals

Photo by Brooke Miller Photography

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.

22 of 30

Make Cacti the Centerpiece

Potted Cacti Wedding Centerpieces

Photo by Marcos Sanchez

This earth-toned tablescape has a desert garden feel thanks to a grouping of cacti that serves as a centerpiece.

23 of 30

Use Ghost Chairs

Moab wedding ceremony with ghost chairs and white aisle accented with dried foliage arches

Photo by The Foxes Photography

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.

24 of 30

Include Terracotta Details

A terracotta pot with a pink and dark berry floral arrangement on a wedding reception table


When choosing ceramics for your wedding tablescapes, use terracotta as a way to mirror the warmth of the desert in your aesthetic.

25 of 30

Create a Geode Menu

Wedding Menu Written on a Geode Rock

Photo by Tyler Rye Photographer

Want a unique menu? This polished yellow geode rock with a natural geometric pattern resembles a lively desert sunrise.

26 of 30

Integrate Woven Accents

wedding welcome party tent with neutral tablescape and jute rugs

Photo by Rebecca Yale Photography

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.

27 of 30

Go Bold With a Statement Runner

Wood wedding reception table with yellow table runner, gray plates, and pink, purple, and green floral arrangements

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.

28 of 30

Adorn Your Cake With Dried Foliage

Two-tier white wedding cake with gold leaf accents and brown and white dried foliage

Photo by Meagan Puett

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.

29 of 30

Host a Dinner in the Sand

Wedding rehearsal dinner table with neutral linens and chairs in the desert

Photo by KT Merry

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.

30 of 30

Have a Desert Disco Party

Disco ball installation on the ceiling with baby's breath and dried florals

Photo by Sydney Noelle Photography

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.

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